The Count and His Friends
Edmond Dantès (alias the Count of Monte Cristo; his other aliases are Sinbad the Sailor, Abbé Busoni, and Lord Wilmore) Dantès is the dashing and romantic hero of the novel; at the age of nineteen, he is falsely imprisoned for a crime which he did not commit and is kept in the horrible dungeon of the Chateau d'If, where he undergoes unbelievable hardships and sufferings that would destroy an ordinary man. While imprisoned, Dantès hears a fellow prisoner digging a tunnel, and so he too begins digging. When the two men finally meet, the other prisoner turns out to be a learned Abbé, who teaches Dantès many languages, sciences, history, and other subjects. They become as father and son, and when the Abbé is about to die, he reveals to Dantès the hiding place of a long-secret buried treasure, consisting of untold wealth in gold coins, diamonds, and other precious jewels.
After fourteen years of bitter imprisonment and hardships, and after a very daring and miraculous escape, Dantès is able to discover the buried treasure on the island of Monte Cristo, and so he buys the island. He becomes the Count of Monte Cristo and dedicates himself to becoming God's avenging angel. The rest of his life is spent, at first, performing acts of goodness and charity for the good people whom he has known. Then he devotes his life to bringing about God's retribution against the evil people who were responsible for his imprisonment. The largest portion of the novel deals with his unique methods of effecting this revenge against his enemies, who became, during Dantès' fourteen years of imprisonment, very powerful and very wealthy people.
Monsieur Dantès, Pere Edmond Dantès' old father, for whom he has a deep devotion — so deep, in fact, that part of the revenge which he takes against his enemies is due to the fact that their treatment of his father caused him to die of starvation. Likewise, those people, like Monsieur Morrel, who treated Dantès' father kindly when he was in despair, come into the good graces of Monte Cristo and are rewarded by him.
Monsieur Morrel, a shipbuilder and shipowner This is a kindly man interested only in doing good for others and for his family. At the beginning of the novel, when the captain of one of his ships dies en route home, Monsieur Morrel is so impressed with the way that the young, nineteen-year-old Edmond Dantès takes over the captainship of the Pharaon that he makes him captain of the ship. This act causes the antagonism of others. Likewise, when Dantès is imprisoned, Monsieur Morrel risks his reputation by continually applying for Dantès' release, even though politically it is an extremely dangerous thing to do. When he learns of the death of Edmond Dantès' father, Morrel arranges the proper ceremonies. Later, upon learning about these facts, the Count of Monte Cristo is able to return the favors triple-fold, for not only does he save Monsieur Morrel's life, but he is able to recover Monsieur Morrel's fortune.
Julie Morrel Herbault Monsieur Morrel's daughter, who first meets the Count of Monte Cristo as "Sinbad the Sailor"; he sends her on an errand to obtain monies which will save her father's business.
Maximilien Morrel The son of Monsieur Morrel who will later become not merely a close young friend of the Count of Monte Cristo, but because of his nobility of soul and his devotion and loyalty, he will become the Count of Monte Cristo's spiritual "son" and the recipient of a great deal of the Count's fortune. Thus, virtue is highly rewarded.
Cloclès A long-time employee in the Morrel firm who remains loyal to the firm, despite its financial difficulties.
Abbé Faria The wise, learned, and lovable political prisoner in the Chateau d'If; he is a remarkable and ingenious person, capable of creating some digging tools out of virtually nothing. He writes the life history of a noble Italian family, the Spada family (who possessed such great wealth that, after the family suffered poisoning, their fabulous treasure remained hidden for centuries until the Abbé Faria was able to decipher the secret message giving the location of this treasure, which Faria, in turn, reveals to Dantès). Faria becomes Dantès' spiritual "father" and teaches Dantès not only worldly matters of languages, science, and mathematics, but also spiritual matters. His death in the Chateau d'If provides Dantès with his daring means of escape.
Cesare Spada A member of the Spada family living in Italy in the fourteenth century; he amassed such a huge fortune that the expression "rich as Spada" became a common saying, thus evoking much envy for such great wealth. Spada was poisoned — but not before he secretly buried his great wealth on the island of Monte Cristo. Centuries later, the Abbé Faria worked as secretary to the last surviving member of the family, Cardinal Spada, who still possessed a breviary with some papers dating back to the fourteenth century. When Abbé Faria was writing a history of the family, he discovered the clues which led him to the whereabouts of the secret treasure that later becomes the source of great wealth for Dantès, the Count of Monte Cristo.
Haydée This is the daughter of the Ali Pasha, whom Fernand, alias Baron de Morcerf, betrayed and sold into slavery. She became the "property" of the Count of Monte Cristo. At Morcerf's trial, she is able to testify as to Morcerf's villainy and thus convict him. Eventually, Monte Cristo begins to fall in love with her and at the end of the novel, they sail off into the horizon: "On the dark blue line separating the sky from the Mediterranean," the white sail carries the Count and Haydée away.
Bertuccio Early in his life, Bertuccio had been betrayed by Villefort, when he requested punishment for the murderer of his brother, and Villefort, having no respect for Bertuccio's Corsican heritage, ignored Bertuccio's request. This refusal prompted Bertuccio to swear a vendetta against Villefort. Some years later, Bertuccio traced Villefort to the Chateau of the Saint-Mérans, where Villefort was burying alive his and a lady's child (the lady will later be revealed to be the Baroness Danglars). After stabbing Villefort and thinking that he killed him, Bertuccio took the box, assuming that it contained money or gold or something else valuable. To his dismay, a live infant was inside, whom Bertuccio took home to his sister-in-law. The woman raised the child and called him Benedetto; later, his alias is Andrea Cavalcanti.
Bertuccio was involved in a smuggling ring which used Caderousse's inn as a hiding place. One time, Bertuccio was hiding in Caderousse's inn when he overheard the story about Abbé Busoni (alias Monte Cristo) giving Caderousse a diamond; Caderousse sold the diamond, then killed the diamond merchant and his own wife. Bertuccio was falsely arrested for the murders, and he pleaded with the judge to find Abbé Busoni, who could verify his story.
A search was made and eventually, Abbé Busoni came to the prison, listened to Bertuccio's confession, including the details about his alleged murder of Villefort. Abbé Busoni managed to free Bertuccio and recommended that he enter the employment of the Count of Monte Cristo. Thus, when the Count takes Bertuccio to the Chateau of the Saint-Mérans, he knows from Bertuccio's confession to Abbé Busoni that this is the place where Bertuccio attempted to murder Villefort, and therefore, he extracts yet another confession, which is identical to the first. For Monte Cristo, this is proof that he has Bertuccio's total allegiance.
Luigi Vampa Chief of a large gang of bandits, whose headquarters are in the ancient catacombs outside of Rome. Some years earlier, Monte Cristo met Vampa when the bandit was still a young shepherd, and they exchanged gifts which should have made them lifelong friends, but apparently Vampa forgot because he later tried to capture the Count only to be captured by the Count. The Count could have turned Vampa over to "Roman justice," which would have quickly snuffed out his life, but instead, the two men parted friends, with the condition that Vampa and his band would always respect the Count and all of the Count's friends — this is how the Count was able to so easily rescue Albert de Morcerf. Of course, there is always the suspicion (or knowledge) that the Count "arranged" the kidnapping in the first place, so as to make Albert indebted to him, because it is through Albert's obligations that the Count will be introduced to all of his enemies in Paris, including Albert's father, who betrayed Edmond Dantès many years ago. Vampa also serves the Count by kidnapping Monsieur Danglars at the end of the novel and holding him prisoner until the Baron is forced to spend all of the five million francs that he embezzled from charity hospitals. Again, every indication points to the Count of Monte Cristo's arranging the kidnapping, thus effecting his final revenge against Danglars.
Signor Pastrini The owner of the Hotel de Londres in Rome who arranges for the meeting between the Count of Monte Cristo and Albert de Morcerf, a meeting which the Count anticipates so that his introduction to his enemies can be effected.
Peppino An agent of Luigi Vampa, he is deeply indebted to the Count of Monte Cristo for saving his life. Peppino was sentenced to death, and the Count used his wealth (he gave one of the three enormous emeralds from his treasures to the Pope, who installed it in his tiara) and his influence to buy a pardon for Peppino, just minutes before Peppino was to be executed.
ALI, the Count's mute Nubian valet He serves virtually no function in the novel except to lasso Madame de Villefort's runaway horses, thus obligating the Villeforts to the Count.
Jacopo Dantès first meets Jacopo when he escapes from the Chateau d'If. Swimming toward a ship which he hopes will rescue him, he is approaching the vessel when his strength gives out. He is pulled out of the water by Jacopo, who then lends him a pair of pants and a shirt. Thus, Monte Cristo is indebted to Jacopo for saving his life and is symbolically aligned with him by sharing Jacopo's clothes.
Later, when Monte Cristo pretends to be wounded on the island of Monte Cristo, Jacopo proves his devotion and loyalty to the Count by volunteering to give up his share of the smuggling bounty in order to look after his friend. Thus, Monte Cristo now knows that he has found a loyal and devoted friend whom he can fully trust to help him once he has recovered the treasure of the Spada family. Later, Jacopo is fully rewarded for his loyalty to the Count by being made, among other things, the captain of Monte Cristo's private yacht.
Enemies of the Count (and Their Families and Friends)
Gaspard Caderousse He is one of the original conspirators who falsified facts in a letter and thereby framed Edmond Dantès. He never came to Dantès' aid when he was imprisoned, and later, the Count of Monte Cristo comes to him disguised as the Abbé Busoni and learns about the entire nature of Caderousse's conspiracy against Dantès, as well as Caderousse's rampant duplicity. Busoni rewards Caderousse for his narration, hoping that Caderousse will become an honest man. However, Caderousse's greed is too strong, and he continues to rob and murder until one evening, while attempting to rob the Count's house, he is killed by an accomplice, just as the Count reveals that he is Edmond Dantès.
Monsieur De Villefort Villefort is described early in the novel as the type of person who "would sacrifice anything to his ambition, even his own father." And throughout the novel, whenever political expediency demands it, he denies his own father, who was a Bonapartist and therefore opposed to the ruling royalty. When it is discovered that Edmond Dantès has a letter from the island of Elba, where Napoleon is confined, to be delivered to Villefort's father (Monsieur Noirtier), Villefort, in order to protect his own interest, has Dantès imprisoned in the impregnable fortress of the Chateau d'If, from which there is no escape. (Villefort is the prosecuting attorney, with great powers of life and death.) In addition, Villefort closes his ears to the entreaties of the elder Dantès, as well as to Monsieur Morrel, who tries on several occasions to plead for Dantès' release.
Because of his political ambitions, Villefort is willing to have an innocent man imprisoned for life. Thus, he becomes the central enemy against whom the Count of Monte Cristo effects revenge. During Dantès' fourteen years of imprisonment, Villefort uses all sorts of conniving means to achieve the powerful post of Deputy Minister of France; he becomes the most powerful law enforcement man in the nation. He has also made a politically advantageous marriage to the daughter of the Marquis and Marquise de Saint-Méran and has one daughter, Valentine, by that marriage. He later takes a second wife and has one son, Edouard, by her. He also has had an affair with a woman who becomes the Baroness Danglars, and Villefort uses his wife's family mansion (Monte Cristo later purchases this mansion) to conceal his mistress (the woman who will become Madame Danglars) while she is pregnant. When the child is born, Villefort announces that the child is stillborn and takes the child in a box to the garden, where he plans to bury him alive. However, an assassin who has a vendetta for Villefort stabs him and, thinking that the box contains treasure, he takes it, only to find that it contains an infant who is ultimately raised by him and his sister-in-law. The boy is named Benedetto, and he will later be brought back to Paris by Monte Cristo as Prince Cavalcanti and will accuse his own father, Villefort, of all of his dastardly deeds. This is part of Monte Cristo's revenge: A son whom the father tried to kill as an infant becomes the instrument of Divine Justice and accuses and destroys the evil father.
Renée, the first Madame de Villefort, née Mademoiselle Saint-Méran The mother of Valentine. Her marriage to Villefort was "politically" arranged, and she does not appear in the novel.
Valentine De Villefort Valentine is the daughter of the first Madame de Villefort and is, therefore, the granddaughter of the Marquis and Marquise de Saint-Méran, whose fortune she is due to inherit. This fortune causes extreme envy in her stepmother. Valentine, like her brother, Edouard, and Albert de Morcerf and Eugénie Danglars represent the innocent persons who are trapped by the evil machinations of one or both parents.
Valentine's mother, as far as we know, was an innocent person, and Valentine herself represents the absolute purity of young womanhood who will attract the pure love of the noble Maximilien Morrel. She unknowingly also attracts the enmity of her wicked stepmother, who tries to poison her. Since it is the Count of Monte Cristo who recognizes the stepmother's envy and greed and because he instructs her in the use of poison, the Count undergoes his greatest change as a result of his exposure to some of the children of his enemies. Prior to the realization that his beloved friend, Maximilien, loves Valentine, The Count had begun his revenge with the biblical philosophy that the sins of the father will be visited upon the later generations, even unto the fourth generation. Therefore, he is not concerned that Valentine's stepmother might poison her; this would be proper punishment for the wicked father. It is only when Maximilien Morrel reveals that Valentine is his true love that the Count undergoes a significant change of heart, and because of the Count's love for Maximilien, he sets a plot in motion that will save the life of the daughter of his most hated enemy. To do so, however, he must ask her to undergo such tremendous terrors as being entombed alive, until she is reborn into happiness with Maximilien at the end of the novel.
Héloise, the second Madame de Villefort Early in the novel, in Paris, the Count of Monte Cristo became acquainted with Madame de Villefort, and in an intimate conversation, he discussed with her his extensive knowledge of poisons, particularly a poison known as "brucine" which, taken in small doses, can cure a person but which, taken in larger doses, will kill one. Since Madame de Villefort has a child named Edouard, she becomes insanely jealous of the large fortune which her stepdaughter, Valentine, will inherit from the Marquis and Marquise de Saint-Méran. Likewise, Valentine is to inherit most of Monsieur Noirtier's fortune, making her one of the wealthiest heiresses in France. In Madame de Villefort's desire to possess the wealth that Valentine is to inherit, she poisons both the Marquis and the Marquise (and during the process, one of the servants, Barrois), and then she believes that she has also successfully poisoned Valentine. Later, when her husband accuses her of the poisonings and demands that she commit suicide or else face public execution, she poisons both herself and their nine-year-old son, leaving Villefort totally distraught. Thus, the Count's revenge is complete against the cruel and inhuman Monsieur de Villefort.
Edouard De Villefort The young nine-year-old son of the second Madame de Villefort and her husband. He is merely an innocent pawn caught in a vicious power struggle. The death of this innocent young boy causes the Count of Monte Cristo to re-evaluate his belief in the rightness of the "sins of the father being visited upon the son." The Count feels deep remorse over the death of the young boy, and he tries to save his life, but on failing to do so, he places the innocent, dead boy beside the body of his dead mother.
Monsieur Noirtier Villefort's very strong-willed father, who is the source of great embarrassment to Villefort and a threat to his ambitions. Monsieur Noirtier was one of France's leading Bonapartists (supporters of Napoleon), and his political views, his power in the Bonapartist party, and his influence make him a thorn in the side of his son, an opportunist who is willing to support whichever political party is in power. It is because of a letter carried by Edmond Dantès and addressed to Monsieur Noirtier and sent from someone on the Isle of Elba (probably Napoleon himself), that Villefort is persuaded to imprison Edmond Dantès so that no royalists (supporters of the king) will ever know that Villefort's father is so intimately associated with Napoleon. Later in the novel, when Monsieur Noirtier is paralyzed, he is able to communicate only with his servant, Barrois, and with his beloved granddaughter, Valentine, whom he tries to warn about the intricate plots surrounding her because of her pending inheritance.
Monsieur Danglars, later Baron Danglars When we first meet this envious and devious man, we are immediately aware that he has a jealous hatred for Edmond Dantès simply because Dantès is younger, more capable, more assured, and self-confident and because he is a thoroughly good-natured young man of nineteen, with complete openness, honesty, and frankness. Danglars is the one who conceives of the conspiracy against Dantès, and he is the one responsible for writing the treacherous, anonymous note which sends Dantès to prison for fourteen years.
The note and the handwriting are permanently engraved in Dantès' eyes, and years later he is able to confirm Danglars' evil duplicity by another sample of his handwriting, in addition to the somewhat reliable testimony which Caderousse tells to the Abbé Busoni, an alias for the Count of Monte Cristo. By various illegal means, Danglars first ingratiates himself into the family of a prominent banker, later marries the banker's widow, and by using illegal banking methods, he quickly becomes an extremely wealthy man. The Count of Monte Cristo, however, is even more clever, and he gradually involves himself in Danglars' finances to the point that Danglars eventually goes bankrupt. But he does manage to confiscate five million francs in bank notes, and he flees to Italy, hoping to have them cashed. He is captured by the bandit chief Luigi Vampa, an old friend of the Count of Monte Cristo, and then he is gradually stripped of all his five million francs. He is finally freed by the bandits, but he is now an old and broken man, and, worst of all, he is penniless. The Count's vengeance has at last been effected.
Baroness Danglars She is the wife of Danglars, but they have lived separate lives for over seven years, and both have their own separate lovers. At present, her lover is Lucien Debray, an officer in Baron Danglars' banking establishment, who is collaborating with her to manipulate stocks and bonds so that they can accumulate large sums of money. When their scheme is over, because Danglars is on the verge of bankruptcy, young Lucien divides the money and then drops Madame Danglars as his mistress. Madame Danglars also figures prominently in another aspect of the plot. Earlier, she had an affair with Monsieur Villefort, the Count's archenemy, and she retired to Villefort's wife's family estate to have their child in secrecy. The estate is later purchased by the Count of Monte Cristo, and her son, whom she thought to be dead, is paid by the Count of Monte Cristo to pretend to be the wealthy Prince Cavalcanti. As such, her illegitimate son becomes engaged to her own legitimate daughter, Eugénie.
Eugénie Danglars The daughter who is first engaged to Albert de Morcerf and then, in another arranged marriage, to the bogus Prince Cavalcanti, alias the criminal Benedetto, who is actually her mother's illegitimate son. She abhors the idea of marriage and bondage and wants to live as a liberated woman in charge of her own destiny. When her fiancé is exposed as a fraud and a murderer, she and a girl friend escape; they hope to reach Rome by a circuitous route. Her disappearance is one of the final blows to the pride of her villainous father.
Fernand Mondego, alias the Count de Morcerf In his youth, Fernand was a simple fisherman and a sometime smuggler who was in love with the woman whom Edmond Dantès was engaged to, Mercédès Herrera. Because Mercédès loved Fernand as a brother, Edmond Dantds trusted him. However, it is Fernand who actually mailed the letter condemning Dantès, hoping all the while that if Dantès was arrested, he would then be able to marry Mercédès. By evil means, he was able to use his smuggling skills and his treachery in warfare to eventually be made a Count and awarded an immense sum of money. Sometime during his rise to power, he married Mercédès, who had waited a long time for Dantès, but finally abandoned hope. Fernand gained most of his wealth by betraying a high authority named Ali Pasha, whose daughter he sold into slavery, and who is now the paramour of the Count of Monte Cristo. When all of his treachery is exposed and he discovers that his wife and son have deserted him, Fernand shoots himself.
Mercédès Herrera, later the Countess de Morcerf She is the innocent victim of many of the above machinations. She loved only Edmond Dantès, and when he seemingly disappeared forever, she attempted to care for his father. When the elderly Dantès died, she had no place to go, and so she succumbed to pressure and married Fernand. As the Countess de Morcerf, she became an educated and distinguished but unhappy woman. She is the only person who knows that the Count of Monte Cristo is really Edmond Dantès. When she discovers the full extent of her husband's treachery, she leaves his house without any of his wealth (giving all her money to charity hospitals), and she returns to the small house which once belonged to Edmond Dantès' father, there to live out her life in deep prayer.
Albert De Morcerf When the young Viscount Albert was visiting Rome, he happened to be staying in the same hotel where the Count of Monte Cristo was staying. They became close acquaintances, and when Albert was kidnapped by a gang of bandits, whose chief was Luigi Vampa, a man deeply indebted to the Count of Monte Cristo, the Count was able to rescue Albert before the bandits put him to death. Thus, young Albert was indebted to Monte Cristo forever for saving his life. Because of Albert's obligation to him, the Count was later able to be introduced to all of his enemies in Paris, including Albert's father, Count de Morcerf (alias Fernand), who betrayed Dantès many years ago. Albert, however, apparently inherited all of his mother's goodness and none of his father's treachery. Eventually, Albert wins the love and respect of the Count of Monte Cristo, and even though the Count is on the verge of killing Albert in a duel after he is challenged and insulted by Albert, the Count's willingness to recognize Albert's goodness is another example of "an exception" to his belief in the "sons of the father rightly inheriting their father's guilt."
Benedetto, alias Andrea Cavalcanti Being the illegitimate son of the immoral Madame Danglars and the corrupt, ambitious, and despicable Villefort, Benedetto represents almost pure evil. It is only by luck that he was not buried alive as an infant, but as his father, Villefort, was about to bury him, Bertuccio saw the box that Benedetto was in and mistakenly believed it to be filled with treasure. Bertuccio hoped to revenge himself on Villefort, and so he stabbed him and took the baby to his sister-in-law. Benedetto lived with her and made her life miserable. Then one day, he tied her up, beat her, and stole all of her money. Later, he was caught and found himself in prison, with Caderousse as a cellmate. By the time of the story, Monte Cristo has tracked him down and has paid him to disguise himself as a wealthy Italian nobleman so that he can use Benedetto in his larger, ultimate plan for total revenge against the traitorous Baron Danglars (by having him become engaged to Eugénie Danglars) and by exposing Villefort as the would-be murderer of his own infant son.
The Marquis And The Marquise De Saint-Mèran The first in-laws of Villefort, whose granddaughter, Valentine, will be the sole inheritor of their fortune, thus arousing the envy of the second Madame de Villefort, who poisons both the Marquis and the Marquise so that Valentine can inherit their fortune immediately and she can then poison Valentine, insuring that Edouard, Valentine's half-brother, will come into an immense fortune.
Monsieur De Boville He is the Director of Prisons, from whom Dantès buys financial notes which are invested in Monsieur Morrel's shipping firm. Dantès is also able to secretly extract Villefort's note condemning him to what Villefort believed would be a life of isolated imprisonment. Boville is also involved in devastating financial transactions with Danglars.
Doctor D'avrigny The attending physician to the Villeforts, who is convinced that the Marquis and the Marquise de Saint-Méran were poisoned. After the death of Barrois, whom the doctor is certain was the victim of the same poison, he threatens Villefort with a police investigation, but is persuaded to keep the matter quiet. With Valentine's "seeming" death, d'Avrigny joins Maximilien in demanding punishment for the "supposed" murderer.
Lucien Debray A young man in Monsieur Danglars' office who is having an affair with Madame Danglars; Debray and Madame Danglars are using certain information to destroy Danglars' fortune while increasing their own fortune tremendously.
Franz D'epinay One of the many men about town; he is a friend of Albert de Morcerf. Franz accompanies Albert to Rome, where he acts as an emissary between the bandits and Monte Cristo after Albert is captured by the bandits.