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The Count of Monte Cristo

by: Alexandre Dumas

Mercédès

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.