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Free Study Guide-The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas-Summary
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

CHAPTER 8: The Chateau díIf

Summary

Edmond is taken to a cell in the Palais de Justice and waits patiently to be released. When he is let out that evening, he is placed inside a carriage and driven to the port where he is ordered into a boat. His police escorts will not tell him where he is going and Danteís faith in Villefortís promise is gradually eroded as the boat sets further out to sea. Dantès is shocked to learn that their destination is the Chateau díIf prison, declaring desperately that there must be a mistake as the Chateau díIf is for political prisoners. Dantès attempts to jump out of the boat but is stopped by his escorts. The boat arrives at the fortress and Dantès is placed in a cell and left for the night. Dantès begins to weep, wondering what he could possibly have done to deserve this punishment. The jailer returns the following day and again Dantès asks to see the governor. The jailer replies that he may have an opportunity to meet the governor in six months to a year. Dantès is inconsolable and his jailer tells him not to brood over what is impossible or he will go mad, much like an Abbé in the prison who is now crazy, evidenced by his constant offers to the governor of a million francs for his liberty. When the jailer refuses to take a message to Mercédès for him, Dantès threatens to kill him with his stool. Dantès is transferred to a dungeon room underground.

Notes

This chapter showcases Dantèsí naiveté and innocence, which will be completely reversed when he next sees the outside of the Chateau díIfís walls. Despite his obviously betrayal by Villefort, Dantès still gives him the benefit of the doubt. Dantèsí innocence begins to be crushed in this chapter as he is treated more and more horribly without understanding why. This method of slowly watching his life unravel for an unknown reason will be used later for his revenge on his enemies as he will destroy them without them understanding either why it is happening or that Dantès is behind it.


CHAPTER 9 - The Evening of the Betrothal

Summary

Villefort returns to his marriage feast after his interview with Dantès and announces that he must immediately leave for Paris on urgent business, asking to speak to the Marquis de Saint- Méran privately. Villefort tells the Marquis to sell any and all funded property he may have or risk losing it all. In addition, he asks the Marquis for a letter from his friend M. de Salvieux to secure an audience with the King without delay. The Marquis agrees, and as Villefort leaves to say his good-byes to the Marquise and Renée, he is confronted at the door by Mercédès, who has come to inquire about Dantès. Villefort coldly tells her that Dantès is a criminal and that he can do nothing for him. Fernand comforts Mercédès, who is crushed. Morrel, after having futilely asked all influential people in Marseilles for help, has given up. Caderousse is shut up inside his apartment drinking, Dantèsí father is extremely anxious to learn of his sonís fate, and only Danglars is happy.

Notes

The method of Villefortís betrayal of Dantès is detailed in this chapter, and it is clear by Villefortís treatment of Morrel and Mercédès that, although he feels minor pangs of guilt, he will be ruthless in his pursuit of his own ambition.

CHAPTER 10 - The Kingís Closet at the Tuileries

Summary

The chapter opens at the Tuileries in Paris, where King Louis XVIII is listening to the Duke de Blacas, who is telling the King that he fears a storm is brewing against the King in the south of France. M. Dandre, a Baron and the Minister of Police, enters the room and the King asks him to give his report on Napoleonís activities. The Baron reports that Napoleon is mortally weary, spends all day scratching his skin and appears to be going insane. The Minister also describes reports in which Napoleon dismissed three of his friends to go "serve the good king", and suggests that Napoleon has undergone a conversion. Blacas, still concerned by the few details given to him by Villefort, begs the King to see the messenger.

When the King learns the messenger is Villefort, he sees him immediately. Villefort has arrived in Paris after three days of continuous travel, and has intentionally given Blacas few details on the matter, for fear of having him reap the benefits. Villefort informs the King that he has uncovered an intricate plot against the King and that Napoleon is currently arming three ships and will have, by now, left Elba. Villefort states he came by this information as the result of an examination of a Marseilles man that he had been watching for some time. He describes the man (Dantès) as a sailor of turbulent character, suspected of being a Bonapartiste, who had recently been to the Island of Elba. Villefort tells the King that the man had been given an oral message to take to a Bonapartiste in Paris and that he had been unable the extract the name of the intended recipient. The message, says Villefort, was intended to prepare menís minds for Napoleonís return and he assures the King that the sailor is now safely in prison. The King expresses his gratitude to Villefort, and Dandre again enters, pale and trembling.

Notes

Dumasí setting of this chapter at the Kingís residence serves to emphasize the importance of the historical background to the severity of the actions taken by Villefort, the murder carried about by Noirtier, and the seriousness of the charges against Dantès. Many of Dumasí novels concerned French royalty (e.g. The Three Musketeers) and it is clear that the author finds royalist intrigues to be good background settings for conflict and action. As regards this chapter, it is likely that a conversation similar to the one which takes place here between the King, his advisors and Villefort may actually have taken place immediately prior to Napoleonís return from Elba and his subsequent, though short-lived, triumph during the 100 days. Dumas makes reference to rumours of Napoleonís skin condition to add to the reality of the reports about Napoleon and the story as a whole. Ironically in this chapter, Villefort has rushed to tell the King about a conspiracy against the French royalty, which must be stopped although in doing so, he is a direct contributor to the conspiracy against Dantès.

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Free Study Guide-The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas-Summary
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