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The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Analysis of Major Characters

Character List

Themes, Motifs & Symbols

Edmond Dantès

Before his imprisonment, Edmond Dantès is a kind, innocent, honest, and loving man. Though naturally intelligent, he is a man of few opinions, living his life instinctively by a traditional code of ethics that impels him to honor his superiors, care dutifully for his aging father, and treat his fellow man generously. Dantès is filled with positive feeling, admiring his boss, Monsieur Morrel; loving his father; adoring his fiancée, Mercédès; and even attempting to think kindly of men who clearly dislike him.

While in prison, however, Dantès undergoes a great change. He becomes bitter and vengeful as he obsesses over the wrongs committed against him. When his companion, Abbé Faria, dies, so too does Dantès’s only remaining deep connection to another human being. Dantès loses the capacity to feel any emotion other than hatred for those who have harmed him and gratitude toward those who have tried to help him. He moves through the world like an outsider, disconnected from any human community and interested only in carrying out his mission as the agent of Providence. It is not until Dantès finds love again, in a relationship with Haydée, that he is able to reconnect to his own humanity and begin to live humanly again.


A greedy and ruthless man, Danglars cares only for his personal fortune. He has no qualms about sacrificing others for the sake of his own welfare, and he goes through life shrewdly calculating ways to turn other people’s misfortunes to his own advantage. Danglars’s betrayal of Dantès starts him on the path to utter disregard for other people’s lives, but this betrayal is not the cruelest of his acts. Danglars abandons his wife and attempts to sell his own daughter, Eugénie, into a loveless and miserable marriage for three million francs.

Though he manages to claw his way into a position of great wealth and power, Danglars’s greed grows as he grows richer, and his lust for money continues to drive all his actions in the two decades that the novel spans. Even when faced with the prospect of starvation, Danglars prefers to keep his fortune rather than pay an exorbitant price for food. Finally, Danglars relents in his pathological avarice, allowing that he would give all his remaining money just to remain alive. Only after Danglars repents for the evil he has done does Dantès consider Danglars redeemed and pardon him.


Resigned to the blows that fate deals her, Mercédès acts as a foil to her onetime fiancé, Dantès. Though she is a good and kind woman, her timidness and passivity lead her to betray her beloved and marry another man, Mondego. Mercédès remains miserable for the rest of her life, despising herself for her weakness and longing for Dantès, whom she has never stopped loving. Yet, for all her avowed weakness and fear, Mercédès proves herself capable of great courage on three occasions: first, when she approaches Dantès to beg for her the life of her son, Albert; second, when she reveals her husband’s wickedness in order to save Dantès’s life; and third, when she abandons her wealth, unwilling to live off a fortune that has been tainted by misdeeds. At the end of the novel, Mercédès is left with nothing to live for, aside from the hope that Albert might somehow improve his own life. She is the character whose suffering is the most complete, despite the fact that there are others who bear far more guilt.


Caderousse exemplifies human dissatisfaction, helping to illustrate that happiness depends more on attitude than on external circumstances. Though fate—or, more precisely, Dantès—treats Caderousse fairly well, he is never truly satisfied with his life. No matter how much he has, Caderousse always feels that he deserves more. With each improvement in his position, Caderousse’s desires only increase. He is pained by the good fortune of his friends, and his envy festers into hatred and ultimately into crime. Not only covetous but also lazy and dishonest, Caderousse consistently resorts to dishonorable means in order to acquire what he wants, thieving and even murdering in order to better his own position. Ultimately, Caderousse’s unending greed catches up with him, and he dies while trying to rob Monte Cristo.

More Help

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Sultan of Monte Cristo-The Sequel

by keitht7, July 15, 2012

The Sultan of Monte Cristo is a return to the great classic writing of

the late 19th century.Written as a sequel to the long time loved and

treasured adventure novel The Count of Monte Cristo,Sultan of

Monte Cristo pays great tribute to the original by remaining full of

intrigue and adding more seductive romance with the harem of the

The many exploites of the Sultan leaves you wondering how could

this astonishing work of literary art be so captivating while keeping

to the ... Read more


25 out of 82 people found this helpful


by KingSize4, May 02, 2013

This for the full version if your not reading the full version this will get you even more confused than the book does. The Count of Monte Christo is a good book but not when your confused about the Plot i'm in the middle of reading it and think the spark notes really help.


6 out of 11 people found this helpful

Not done yet- Many Characters

by thereader77, October 16, 2013

Keep track of the many characters in this novel - the notes so far are far off from the chapter notes. Chapters listed here are incorrect. wait for further notes.


5 out of 8 people found this helpful