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

CHAPTER 86 - The Trial

Summary

Albert learns from Beauchamp that several papers have printed the story and that an unknown man had arrived at another friendís newspaper with several documents of proof regarding Fernandís role in the Ali Tepelini affair. Unaware the story is being circulated, Fernand goes to the House where he is a peer of France, where a political enemy reads the story aloud and calls for an investigation. That same evening, the trial takes place and Fernand provides documents in his own defense which show he was a favorite of the Ali Pasha, evidenced further by Ali Tepelini having "entrusted his favorite mistress and her daughter to (his) care". The star witness against him, however, is Haidee, who tells the story of her fatherís betrayal by Fernand, providing proof of her identity and proof of her sale into slavery by Fernand. Haideeís proof against Fernand leaves him speechless, and he is pronounced guilty by the committee.

Notes

Haidee is able to revenge her father, and without the direction of the Count, at least overt direction. She has, of course, been purchased by the Count for this express purpose. Fernand is irreparably revealed as a traitor, and the religious them employed by Dumas throughout the novel is again evoked: "Then he raised his eyes towards the ceiling, but withdrew them immediately, as if he feared the roof would open and reveal to his distressed view that second tribunal called heaven, and that other judge named God."

CHAPTER 87 - The Challenge

Summary

After hearing the story of his fatherís public denouncement, Albert is determined to kill the man who is pursuing his family with the story. Beauchamp admits that during his investigation in Yanina he learned that Danglars was also investigating Fernand, and the two men set out for Danglarsí house. Danglars admits to having written to Yanina on the Count of Monte Cristoís advice while considering the marriage between Albert and his daughter, and Albert is shocked to learn that the Count was aware of the results that Danglars received from Yanina. Danglars denies having informed the papers of his discovery. Albert and Beauchamp leave to find the Count and learn the truth.


Notes

Albert finally realizes that the Count is behind his fatherís downfall, thus making him the only character to understand that the Countís presence in Paris is one of cool calculation.

CHAPTER 88 - The Insult

Summary

Albert learns that the Count is going to the opera that night, and asks Beauchamp and Château-Renaud to accompany him to the opera. Albert also asks Morrel and Debray to attend the opera, and goes to see his mother Mercédès, who, though stunned to hear that the Count may be an enemy, also seems to understand. Accompanied by Beauchamp and Château-Renaud, Albert confronts the Count at the opera. The Count accepts Albertís challenge to a duel and promises to kill him. After Albert and his friends leave, Beauchamp returns to ask the Count for an explanation, which the Count refuses to provide. They set the duel for 8:00 the following morning with pistols in the Bois de Vincennes. Morrel tells the Count that he and his brother-in-law Emmanuel will serve as the Countís second.

Notes

Albert explains to his mother that the Count is an enemy, mentioning the fact that, "M. De Monte Cristo is almost an Oriental, and it is customary with the Orientals to secure full liberty for revenge by not eating or drinking in the houses of their enemies." Despite his fondness for Albert, the Count is resolute in his plans of revenge, and although sorry that Albert should want to duel him, the Count is non-apologetic and hardens his heart: "I consider your glove thrown, and will return it to you wrapped around a bullet....Monte Cristo took up his glass again as if nothing had happened; his face was like marble, and his heart was like bronze." The Countís firm conviction that he will win the duel with Albert testifies to his extreme faith in the fact that his revenge is just and guided by the hand of God, and thus he cannot and will not lose.

CHAPTER 89 - A Nocturnal Interview

Summary

As the Count is inspecting his pistols later that night, Madame Mercédès de Morcerf arrives and begs him not to kill her son, calling him "Edmond". The Count is shocked to hear her call him Edmond and an argument begins with Mercédès demanding to know why the Count/Edmond is punishing her family. The Count tells her that he has sworn to revenge himself on Fernand, and explains Fernandís role in his arrest years ago. Mercédès is shocked to learn of Fernandís betrayal and begs the Count to forgive him, but he refuses. Mercédès begs for her sonís life, and the Count finally promises her that Albert will live, despite his conviction that "the sins of the father are said to fall upon their children to the third and fourth generation." The Count tells her that in making this sacrifice for her, he will die instead since one of them must die. Horrified but thankful, Mercédès leaves.

Notes

The Count explains his forgiveness of Mercédès and his "divine" right to punish his enemies, "...what is the letter you have just read? - a loverís deception, which the woman who has married that man ought certainly to forgive; but not so the lover who was to have married her. Well, the French did not avenge themselves on the traitor, the Spaniards did not shoot the traitor, Ali in his tomb left the traitor unpunished; but I, betrayed, sacrificed, buried, have risen from my tomb, by the grace of God, to punish that man. He sends me for that purpose, and here I am" When speaking of his planned (and unfortunate) duel with Albert the following day, the Count says, "It is written in the good Book...that the sins of the fathers shall fall upon their children to the third and fourth generation. Since God himself dictated those words to his prophet, why should I seek to make myself better than God?"

Thus, despite his fondness for Albert, he feels that he has no choice but to carry out the will of God. Surprisingly, upon Mercédèsí earnest request, the Count agrees to forfeit his plans of revenge - all for her - an amazing feat considering how long and hard he has worked at developing his plans. As we will see later with Haidee, the Count is redeemed and softened by his relationships with women.

CHAPTER 90 - The Meeting

Summary

The Count is frustrated with his promise to Mercédès, and determined that his enemies should know that they were only saved because he voluntarily committed suicide, he writes a letter to which he adds a will, leaving all his property and fortune to Morrel and Haidee, along with the wish that Morrel and Haidee will marry. Haidee discovers the will he is writing and is horrified. In the morning, the Count shows Morrel and Emmanuel his perfect aim and shot, and as he will have the first shot in the duel, asks them to remember what they have just seen, admitting that he will be the one to die in the duel.

As they leave, the Count asks Morrel if he loves anyone, and Morrel tells him that he is already in love. At the appointed time and place for the duel, Albert arrives with Franz, Debray, Château-Renaud and Beauchamp. Without explaining the details to the others, Albert tells the Count in front of everyone that he has learned of his fatherís betrayal of the Count and says he believes that the Count was justified in seeking revenge. The Count is moved and the duel is canceled.

Notes

In keeping with the theme from the previous chapter, the Count considers his promise to Mercédès: "No, it is not existence, then, that I regret, but the ruin of projects so slowly carried out, so laboriously framed. Providence is now opposed to them, when I most thought I would be propitious. It is not Godís will that they should be accomplished..Oh, shall I then, again become a fatalist, whom fourteen years of despair and ten of hope had rendered a believer in Providence? And all this - all this, because my heart, which I thought dead, was only sleeping; because it has awakened and has begun to beat again; because I have yielded to the pain of the emotion excited in my breast by a womanís voice."

As a result of his own disgust with himself and pain at having to give up his plans, the Count resolves that he will die: "I do this, O my God, as much for thy honour as for mine. I have during ten years considered myself the agent of thy vengeance, and other wretches, like Morcerf, Danglars, Villefort, even Morcerf himself, must not imagine that chance has freed them from their enemy. Let them know, on the contrary , that their punishment, which had been decreed by Providence, is only delayed by my present determination, and although they escape it in this world, it awaits them in another, and that they are only exchanging time for eternity."

While touched by Mercédès, he is equally touched by Haidee in this chapter, who is yet unspoiled by his own betrayal, and who evidently loves him as more than a father. When Mercédès reveals the history of Dantèsí betrayal to Albert, the Count is impressed once more by Mercédèsí honesty and integrity (a rare commodity among the people he knows) and states, "Providence still, now only am I fully convinced of being the emissary of God!"

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