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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES
CHAPTER 4: Conspiracy
When Dantès and Mercédès have left, Danglars asks Fernand what he is willing to do to gain Mercédèsí love. Fernand explains that he cannot kill Dantès for fear of Mercédès killing herself. Danglars persists in persuading Fernand that there are other ways to get rid of Dantès, such has having him put in prison. During this conversation, Caderousse is growing increasingly drunk and appears not to be following where the conversation is leading. Fernand tells Danglars that if he finds the means of ridding Dantès from their lives, he will gladly execute it.
Danglars writes a letter to the Kingís attorney in disguised writing, which denounces Dantès as an accomplice of Napoleon Bonaparte who has a letter for the Bonapartiste committee in Paris. Danglars writes that, as he is a friend of the throne and religion, this treachery must be discovered and proof of the crime may be found upon his arrest in the form of a letter hidden either at his fatherís home or in his cabin on board the Pharaon. When Caderousse realizes the implications of the letter, Danglars crumples the paper and throws it into a nearby tree in an attempt to convince Caderousse - who is still loyal to Dantès - that the letter is only a joke. As Caderousse and Danglars return to Marseilles, Danglars observes Fernand retrieve the letter from the tree.
Here Dumas accentuates the "evil" nature of the characters involved in the conspiracy against Edmond, which is almost too extreme. For example, when Fernand mentions that he would stab Edmond except that Mercédès had said she would kill herself if Edmond died, Danglars mutters to himself, "Idiot!..Whether she kill herself or not, what matter, provided Dantès is not captain?" Dumas uses the historical setting of France (Napoleon has been exiled to the island of Elba and the royalists have regained power) to construct the means by which Dantès will be betrayed by Danglars and Fernand, namely, by accusing him of being a Bonapartist agent, a horrendous crime at this juncture in French history. Caderousse, while present during the writing of the letter which denounces Dantès as a criminal, manages to come across as somewhat less guilty because of his drunkenness and naive belief that the others like Dantès as much as he does. Evidently, he does not have the same ambition that Fernand and Danglars have.
CHAPTER 5: The Marriage Feast
Guests are gathered at a small restaurant outside of Marseilles for a feast in honor of Dantès and Mercédèsí wedding. M. Morrelís presence at the feast signals to all present that Dantès will surely be the next captain of the Pharaon. Danglars notes that Fernand appears nervous, glancing continuously in the direction of Marseilles in anticipation. Dantès remarks to his friends that his great happiness makes him almost nervous, he is unworthy of such honor and happiness. Dantès surprises the guests by announcing that, thanks to M. Morrel and the fact that Mercédès has no fortune to require settlement, they have received permission from the Mayor of Marseilles to waive the usual delays and the two will be married within an hour and a half. Dantès continues to say that the following he day he will go to Paris and should return in 8 days. Caderousse remarks to Danglars that it would have been a shame if, given Dantèsí happiness, they had played the trick discussed yesterday on him. Danglars replies that certainly no harm was meant, all the while speaking of Dantès in generous terms and even referring to him as "my future captain".
As Dantès and Mercédès make their way to the city hall, the entire party is stopped by soldiers and the magistrate of Marseilles, who is there to arrest Dantès, for what reason he cannot say. Caderousse realizes what has happened and tells Danglars that he and Fernand will receive double evil in return for their actions, while Danglars protests his innocence, reminding Caderousse that he had thrown the letter away. Morrel follows the magistrate and Dantès, hoping to learn more, returning to report that Dantès has been arrested for being an agent of the Bonapartiste faction. Caderousse tells Danglars that he is now sure of his treachery, and that he will tell everyone. Danglars pointedly tells Caderousse that Dantès may indeed be guilty of the crime, considering that their vessel did touch down at Elba on the return voyage, and that Dantès did have a letter to take to Paris. Caderousse agrees, temporarily, to be cautious and await word on Dantèsí guilt. Morrel asks Danglars whether he thinks Dantès could be guilty of such a crime, and Danglars tells him he did find Dantèsí behavior at Elba very suspicious. Morrel then asks Danglars to assume the post of captain for the Pharaon until Dantès is cleared of guilt, Danglars readily accepts. Morrel leaves, saying he will continue to make appeals on Dantèsí behalf to M. de Villefort, the kingís attorney.
The chapter begins with high hopes and cheer for Dantèsí and Mercédèsí wedding day, and Dumas does an excellent job of describing the beauty of the wedding location, the wedding costumes, the wedding party, food, etc. His description is particularly jarring as it contrasts starkly with Dantèsí arrest and embarrassment just before the feast is about to begin, representing an extreme fall from the happiness and beauty which had surrounded his life until this point. Caderousse, though shocked, understands what has happened, and becomes a reluctant accomplice. Dumas particularly contrasts Danglarsí nature to that of Dantès when Morrel explains to Danglars that Dantès had a good opinion of him. While a "kind" person would have felt guilty when learning this, Danglars only says "The hypocrite!". Notably, Caderousse tells Danglars in this chapter that if Danglars is responsible for Dantèsí misfortune, "Ďtil an ill turn, and well deserves to bring double evil on those who have projected it", providing foreshadowing for the novelís main plot.