- Year Published: 1844.
- Pages: 1276.
The Count of Monte Cristo Summary
The Count of Monte Cristo recounts the story of Edmond Dantès, the novel’s protagonist. Over 117 chapters, Alexandre Dumas’ masterpiece tracks Dantès through Italy, France, and several Mediterranean islands. The story also tracks most of the major events taking place between 1815 and 1839.
In the novel, Dantès takes on the roles of Abbé Faria, Lord Wilmore, Sinbad the Sailor, and (not surprisingly) the Count of Monte Cristo. Returning from sea aboard the Pharaon, Dantès docks a ship at Marseilles, France. The ship’s owner, Monsieur Morrel, thanks him for his service and promotes him to the position of ship’s captain. At this point, everything seems to be going well, particularly because Dantès is excited about his upcoming marriage to his fiancée Mercédès.
His successes are much to the chagrin of Danglars and Fernand Mondego. The latter comes up with a plot to frame Dantès for treason, going so far as to lie to the authorities that his enemy possesses a letter proving his support of Napoleon.
These false accusations lead to Dantès’ arrest during his wedding. While in confinement, he meets with Monsieur Villefort, an attorney at law. The lawyer reviews the alleged incriminating letter.
Later, Dantès is locked up in the Chateau d’If on a Mediterranean island. The plot reveals that the letter was penned by a close confidant of Napoleon’s and addressed to Villefort’s father. To protect his family, Villefort destroys the communiqué and gets the messenger (Dantès) locked up.
Over the next 14 years, The Count of Monte Cristo’s protagonist wastes away in prison – almost going crazy and giving up in the process. However, by chance, he meets Abbé Faria, a wealthy Italian. This illustrious prisoner teaches Dantès in the ways of the world.
The two then hatch a plan to escape from prison by digging their way out. These plans are halted when the Abbé falls ill and fails to recuperate, but only after leaving Dantès directions to a treasure buried in Monte Cristo.
Dantès takes up his friend’s persona and escapes from the Chateau d’If. He is rescued by a ship and finds his way to Monte Cristo, where he unearths the treasure promised by his deceased compatriot.
With the new wealth, the protagonist reinvents himself and becomes the Count of Monte Cristo. He transverses the world collecting and accumulating new treasures and items of beauty to quench the pangs and emptiness of his former imprisoned ego.
At this point, he crafts an elaborate plan to have his revenge on Villefort, Fernand, and Danglars. He tracks them down to Paris where he discovered that they have all come up in the world in terms of success, wealth, and familial relationships. Fernand is married to Mercédès, Dantès’ old flame.
He instantly ingratiates himself with his adversaries’ social-climbing families on account of his elegance, wisdom, wit, and sophistication. In the process, he is able to drift further into their lives.
One by one, he eliminates all of his former enemies, finally getting the revenge he has tirelessly worked towards.
At the close of the novel, Dantès gives his French lands and his Monte Cristo home to Morrel’s son Maximillian and Villefort’s daughter and Max’s love, Valentine. He vacates the island and leaves his ravenous revenge behind, instead choosing a new existence with Haydée, his new catch. The final scene has Dantès riding off into the beautiful sunset.
The Count of Monte Cristo Themes
3. Fate vs Free Will