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The Count of Monte Cristo
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Archives > Chapters 39 - 76 (May 2018)

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message 1: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Mar 28, 2018 06:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR MAY:

1. In Chapter 39 Albert promises to introduce the Count into Parisien society. By Chapter 42 he is introduced to Ferdnand and Mercedes? Do they know him as Dantes? What are their reactions to him.

2. One of the first people the Count meets at Albert's house is Maximilien Morrel. Why is this encounter important? What emotions does it invoke in Dantes?

3. The Count purchases a summer home where he meets its steward Bertuccio, who delivers a long and complex monologue, telling the story of Abbe Busoni/Caderousse/Villefort. Dantes would know most of this story (as he is both the count and the abbe') so why does he force Bertuccio to tell the story? Does Dumas have a reason for telling the story through dialogue rather than narration?

4. In Chapters 47 - 53, the Count hatches a plan to ingratiate himself to the Danglars and Villefort families. How is Villefort described in these chapters? What does he symbolize?

5. These chapters also show us how Dantes has changed. How does he react to emotions -- positive and negative?

6. In Chapters 54 - 62 Dantes takes his revenge upon Danglars. What is his punishment and why?

7. During the dinner at the Count's home, Bertuccio is surprised to see two different people? Who are they and why is he surprised?

8. After attending the Count's dinner party, who does Danglars wish his daughter to marry?

9. In the Chapters 68 - 76 we see the Count begin to take his revenge on Villefort. How? As Mdme. Villefort begins to commit murders, what is this a reflection of?


message 2: by Diane (last edited Apr 15, 2018 08:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane | 2022 comments ****SPOILERS. Proceed with caution!****

1. In Chapter 39 Albert promises to introduce the Count into Parisien society. By Chapter 42 he is introduced to Ferdnand and Mercedes? Do they know him as Dantes? What are their reactions to him.

Fernand does not seem to recognize him and takes an instant liking to him in response to his flattery. Mercedes appears to recognize Dantes and acts as if she has seen a ghost. She is suspicious of him and asks Albert a lot of questions about his identity and character and warns him to be wary.

2. One of the first people the Count meets at Albert's house is Maximilien Morrel. Why is this encounter important? What emotions does it invoke in Dantes?

He observes how the young Morrel is repaying the good deeds bestowed upon his father by doing good unto others, and notes his virtue and goodness of character. He probably sees his old self in him or what he would have become had he not been imprisoned and bent on vengeance.

3. The Count purchases a summer home where he meets its steward Bertuccio, who delivers a long and complex monologue, telling the story of Abbe Busoni/Caderousse/Villefort. Dantes would know most of this story (as he is both the count and the abbe') so why does he force Bertuccio to tell the story? Does Dumas have a reason for telling the story through dialogue rather than narration?

I think he has Bertuccio retell the story to confirm that he is an honest man that can be trusted. He then becomes the Count's "right hand man". I think by telling the story through dialogue rather than narration makes it more personal and shows the character of Bertuccio.

4. In Chapters 47 - 53, the Count hatches a plan to ingratiate himself to the Danglars and Villefort families. How is Villefort described in these chapters? What does he symbolize?

He is described as a living statue of the law. In the first conversation between him and the count, they seem to challenge each other. Villefort does not instantly like him as quickly as Fernand did. In the beginning of the book, their lives were somewhat parallel. Both were young, ready to marry, hardworking, and had good job prospects. Villefort’s selfish decision changed all of that. I think he symbolizes injustice, or injustice in the disguise of justice.

5. These chapters also show us how Dantes has changed. How does he react to emotions -- positive and negative?

He shows little outward emotion until (view spoiler)

6. In Chapters 54 - 62 Dantes takes his revenge upon Danglars. What is his punishment and why?

Financial ruin to punish him for his greed. He misleads him into taking some wrong investments, causing him to lose his fortune. He also misleads Danglars into wanting Cavalcanti as his son-in-law only because he had the appearance of being rich. (view spoiler).

7. During the dinner at the Count's home, Bertuccio is surprised to see two different people? Who are they and why is he surprised?

Madame Danglars and Villefort. They were both the lovers he saw in the home many years ago and the parents of the infant he rescued. He was further surprised because he thought he had killed Villefort all those years ago. He is also surprised to see Benedetto in disguise as the young Cavalcanti.

8. After attending the Count's dinner party, who does Danglars wish his daughter to marry?

Cavalcanti (Benedetto in disguise).

9. In the Chapters 68 - 76 we see the Count begin to take his revenge on Villefort. How? As Mdme. Villefort begins to commit murders, what is this a reflection of?

The count plans to ruin Villefort’s pride in his reputation. He does this by giving a vial of poison to Madame Villefort, who proceeds to use it to murder members of her family in order for her son to gain the family inheritance. (view spoiler) Also, the news about how he had an illegitimate son during an affair and attempted to murder him leaks out. The murders committed by his wife are most likely a reflection of the people unjustly sentenced to death by Villefort.


Gail (gailifer) | 1266 comments Spoilers!! If you are not up to chapter 76 Beware

1. In Chapter 39 Albert promises to introduce the Count into Parisien society. By Chapter 42 he is introduced to Ferdnand and Mercedes? Do they know him as Dantes? What are their reactions to him.

I agree with Diane that Ferdnand doesn't recognize him at all. No suspicion. Mercedes on the other hand seems to know that the Count is not who he claims to be. She is also drawn to him, perhaps because she guesses who he might be, but more likely because of the mysterious qualities he exhibits and also because he must still have some small pieces in him of the man he used to be.

2. One of the first people the Count meets at Albert's house is Maximilien Morrel. Why is this encounter important? What emotions does it invoke in Dantes?

Dante would like Morrel to have a life that is the positive result of the Count's own good deeds. He felt that Morrel senior was one of the few to stay the course in attempting to help Dante and Dante in turn wants to help Morrel junior. Plus he feels, as Diane mentioned, that the young man is worthy on his own of his support. The odd thing is that in these chapters, Dante does not appear to know about or understand the relationship with Valentine so that he can not help Morrel with his love life which is a huge part of the plot in these chapters.

3. The Count purchases a summer home where he meets its steward Bertuccio, who delivers a long and complex monologue, telling the story of Abbe Busoni/Caderousse/Villefort. Dantes would know most of this story (as he is both the count and the abbe') so why does he force Bertuccio to tell the story? Does Dumas have a reason for telling the story through dialogue rather than narration?

We, the reader, get to learn both the story but also the misunderstandings and confusions that the events prompted when told by Bertuccio. Plus we learn, as does the Count himself, the nature of the man Bertuccio. Dante in these chapters is rather a neutral listener and comes across as a bit heartless.

4. In Chapters 47 - 53, the Count hatches a plan to ingratiate himself to the Danglars and Villefort families. How is Villefort described in these chapters? What does he symbolize?

I think Villefort symbolizes the idea of royalist, bureaucratic injustice. Plus personally he is terribly egocentric, rigid, stuffy, ambitious in a negative way and greedy.

5. These chapters also show us how Dantes has changed. How does he react to emotions -- positive and negative?

Yes, as Diane said - little emotion and in the guise of the rich count, he is rather impersonal and heartless until....

6. In Chapters 54 - 62 Dantes takes his revenge upon Danglars. What is his punishment and why?

He lures Madame Danglar into recommending a bad investment and he disturbs the smooth working of the telegraph service to do this. Danglar's greed brings him down just as his greed originally brought Dantes down. He also then dangles a supposedly rich count in front of him to upset the marriage plans of his daughter to Albert. However, the supposedly rich count is actually Danglar's half sister (I think) via the affair Madame D had had with Villefont.

What is interesting for a book of this time period is the fact that Eugenie, the daughter, appears to prefer women. Not just the company of women, which may have been true of a large segment of the population of the time, but to my mind Dumas is sketching Eugenie as a lesbian.

7. During the dinner at the Count's home, Bertuccio is surprised to see two different people? Who are they and why is he surprised?

Madame Danglars and Villefort who had had an affair before Danglar's marriage. Bertuccio believed that he had killed Villefort previously and is therefore shocked to see him.

8. After attending the Count's dinner party, who does Danglars wish his daughter to marry?

Cavalcanti because of his good nature (supposedly) and his riches (supposedly)

9. In the Chapters 68 - 76 we see the Count begin to take his revenge on Villefort. How? As Mdme. Villefort begins to commit murders, what is this a reflection of?

We are really beginning to see Dantes become truly consumed with revenge even though Dumas does not portray him as being consumed. He is usually portrayed as being indifferent. However, the Count is setting up conditions not just for bankruptcy or loss of honor but for murder. I agree with Diane that it is all a way of destroying the thing that Villefort most cares about: his reputation.

Also, this part of the book was very different that the more classic action/adventure story of the first third of the book. This part was much more talky and dark. I am really enjoying it.

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Kristel (kristelh) | 3950 comments Mod
I've finished the whole book. I found that taking the break that I did From April to May was too long so thought I would just keep going.

1. I felt that Mercedes might have recognized the Count but not Ferdnand.

2. Morrel is a good person and the son of a good man. DAnte respected his father who had been good to him.

3. We know that protagonists can be unreliable and having another give witness to character is helpful. It maybe that the author struggled with how to fill in all this information and used this device.

4. I agree with Gail, this man represents misuse of justice. At this time Dante's (the Count) respects no law/government because he had been so mistreated by the system.

5. in this section, Dantes is first of all experienced as cold and vengeful. He has cut off his emotions.

6. Danglars punishment is money. It was greed that was the heart of Danglars motivations. The count hits them all where their motivations are.

I agree with Gail here too, Eugenia has no interest in men and has a great regard for attendant.

7. Madame Danglar and Villefort

8. Danglars wants his daughter to marry Cavalcanti because he is misled by his greed.

9. Villefort's punishment is death to his family. And the past affair where he father'd an illegitimate son becomes known.

I had a hard time liking Dante's in this section. I struggled with the whole revenge theme. I also keep feeling that this story was unnecessarily long.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Kristel wrote: "I've finished the whole book. I found that taking the break that I did From April to May was too long so thought I would just keep going.

1. I felt that Mercedes might have recognized the Count b..."


I hope you will like the final third better.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Gail wrote: "Spoilers!! If you are not up to chapter 76 Beware

1. In Chapter 39 Albert promises to introduce the Count into Parisien society. By Chapter 42 he is introduced to Ferdnand and Mercedes? Do they kn..."


So glad that you are enjoying it!


Diane Zwang | 1214 comments Mod
1. They do not recognize him which I find unbelievable.

2. Dantes became visibly upset but I don't remember why. Morrel was the ship owner of the boat Dantes started on.

3. The Count has to act like he is hearing this for the first time. We as the reader get to hear the whole story from Bertuccio's point of view.

7. He thought they were dead.

May was a particularly bad month for me with work so I was not able to answer all the questions. I am on chapter 76 so I am on target with reading. Hopefully June will be better for me.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Diane wrote: "1. They do not recognize him which I find unbelievable.

2. Dantes became visibly upset but I don't remember why. Morrel was the ship owner of the boat Dantes started on.

3. The Count has to act..."


I found it unbelievable the first time. But then I thought about 14 years and how often I don't recognize people and found it more in the realm of possibility. :)


Kristel (kristelh) | 3950 comments Mod
Dante would have changed quite a bit from when he left a young, healthy man and having endured years in prison conditions. Also those that disposed of him were not thinking they would see him. Only Mercedes recognized him and she probably had always had that hope of seeing him again. Plus he was a master of disguises. And in the end, it’s a story of adventure meant to entertain, not realistic fiction.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Kristel wrote: "Dante would have changed quite a bit from when he left a young, healthy man and having endured years in prison conditions. Also those that disposed of him were not thinking they would see him. Only..."

That is how my opinion of it eventually settled.


Hilde (hilded) | 334 comments ***Spoilers***

I started a bit late with the book, but am now up to speed and quite confident that I will be able to finish the book by the end of June. I am still enjoying the book very much, but I found the first part to be better flowing than the middle part which dragged a bit more. So let's see if the third part picks up again!

1. In Chapter 39 Albert promises to introduce the Count into Parisien society. By Chapter 42 he is introduced to Fernand and Mercedes? Do they know him as Dantes? What are their reactions to him?

Fernand has no idea that the Count of Monte Cristo is Dantes, and takes an instant liking to him due to his flattery and wealth. Judging from Mercede’s reaction when meeting The Count, it seems as she recognizes him or at least has her suspicions that he might not be who he betrays to be. Later on, she asks lots of questions about him to Albert, making it clear to the reader that she knows who he is, and she is trying to make her son be more conscious.

2. One of the first people the Count meets at Albert's house is Maximilien Morrel. Why is this encounter important? What emotions does it invoke in Dantes?

Maximilien Morrel is the son of the old shipsowner where Dantes used to work as a young lad, and basically the only one who fought for him. Hence, Dantes is very fond of Morrel, and wants to replicate the good deeds his father did to his son. I agree with Gail that it was a bit odd that Dante didn’t know about Morrel’s relationship with Valentine, hence putting the relationship at risk when planning his revenge.

3. The Count purchases a summer home where he meets its steward Bertuccio, who delivers a long and complex monologue, telling the story of Abbe Busoni/Caderousse/Villefort. Dantes would know most of this story (as he is both the count and the abbe') so why does he force Bertuccio to tell the story? Does Dumas have a reason for telling the story through dialogue rather than narration?

I agree with what you all have already said.

4. In Chapters 47 - 53, the Count hatches a plan to ingratiate himself to the Danglars and Villefort families. How is Villefort described in these chapters? What does he symbolize?

He is portrayed as a pretty rigid, cold and self-centered man, and the symbol of the law and injustice. Villefort is not a very social man, and did not instantly fell for the mystical attraction surrounding Dantes as all the rest did.

5. These chapters also show us how Dantes has changed. How does he react to emotions -- positive and negative?

Dantes himself comes off as neutral and quite cold as well in his disguise as the powerful Count, he is rather obsessed with planning and executing his revenge. That is until he sees how his actions hurt the ones he never intended to hurt.

6. In Chapters 54 - 62 Dantes takes his revenge upon Danglars. What is his punishment and why?

Fooling Danglars into financial bankruptcy to punish him for his greed, as well as discretely changing Danglars mind about whom he should choose as his future-son-in-law. Interesting to read your thoughts about Eugenie btw. I didn’t catch the hint about her being lesbian, I just saw her as a free artistic spirit with no desire to get married. But now that you mentioned it, I agree that she might prefer women.

7. During the dinner at the Count's home, Bertuccio is surprised to see two different people? Who are they and why is he surprised?

Bertuccio was surprised to see Villefort and Madame Danglars whom had an affair which he witnessed many years ago. He was especially surprised to see Villefort, since he thought he killed him back then when rescuing the infant (Benedetto). He was also surprised to see Benedetto again, this time disguised as the young Cavalcanti [staged by Dantes].

8. After attending the Count's dinner party, who does Danglars wish his daughter to marry?

As touched upon in question 6 and 7 he now wishes Eugenie married to Cavalcanti instead of Albert, because of the supposed wealth of Mr Cavalcanti (Benedetto).

9. In the Chapters 68 - 76 we see the Count begin to take his revenge on Villefort. How? As Mdme. Villefort begins to commit murders, what is this a reflection of?

Basically by ruining his reputation which is very important to the proud Villefort. His pride prevents him to start an investigation after Doctor d’Avrigny reveals that the multiple deaths in the family were in fact murders, and not natural deaths.


message 12: by Pip (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pip | 1352 comments 1.There were hints that Mercedes recognised Dantes, but she was not sure and pumped her son for more information about the Count. Fernand did not suspect that the Count was actually Dantes.
2. Maximilian is the son of Morell, the shipowner. Dantes wants to be his mentor because of his father's felicity. He had saved the father from bankruptcy years before. Max never recognises him as the family's benefactor, but he is most willing to have the Count as a mentor.
3. The Count bought the Saint-Merans' house without Bertuccio knowing which house it was. The Count, of course, knew that Bertuccio had committed a murder there. Villefort was using the house to meet his lover, Mme Danglars there. The story of the baby being buried alive is, I think, new information. The story is more immediate because it is dialogue.
4. He ingratiates himself with the Danglars by his conspicuous consumption, which intrigues the banker. Villefort is not so easily seduced but the Count ingratiates himself with his wife, Heloise, who is fascinated by his knowledge of poison. Villefort is a symbol of justice. He is a zealous prosecutor and a very hard worker.
5. Dantes as the Count, rarely displays any emotion, despite the provocation. He is steely in his pursuit of revenge.
6. Danglars was avaricious and judged everything in terms of money and so the Count plotted for his financial ruin by tricking him into backing bad investments. He even tried to have Eugenie, Danglar's lesbian daughter, marry a bogus Italian prince who was actually the son of Villefort and Mme Danglars and a proper little crook and double murderer.
7. Bertuccio cannot believe his eyes when he sees Villefort, whom he thought he had murdered, alive and well. He also recognised Benedetto, the baby he had rescued and given to his sister to bring up, who was pretending to be Prince Andrea Cavalcanti.
8. Prince Andrea Cavalcanti - because he thinks he is richer than Franz E'Pinay.
9. When the Count is told by Benedetto that Caderousse plans to burgle his house, he sets it up so that Caderousse is murdered by Cavalcanti, who wants to conceal his alias. Villefort is the prosecutor, and the Count organises evidence so that it is revealed that Cavalcanti/Benedetto is actually the son he murdered. Villefort, whose reputation is his most prized possession, loses it. He has been concealing the murders in his own family to protect this precious reputation. His daughter is apparently murdered as collateral damage.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments All of your comments enrich my experience!


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