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The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Chapters 1–5

Themes, Motifs & Symbols

Chapters 1–5, page 2

page 1 of 2

Chapter 1: The Arrival at Marseilles

In the port of Marseilles, France, an eager crowd watches as a ship called the Pharaon pulls into dock. The ship’s owner, Monsieur Morrel, is greeted with sad news: the ship’s captain has died at sea. The nineteen-year-old first mate, Edmond Dantès, reassures Morrel that despite the loss of the captain, the trip went smoothly and all the cargo arrived safely. Morrel is impressed with the young man’s performance as temporary captain.

Danglars, the ship’s supercargo, who is responsible for all financial matters, attempts to undermine Morrel’s good opinion of Dantès. Morrel boards the ship and Danglars tells him that Dantès forced the ship to stop at the Isle of Elba, which cost them precious time. When Morrel confronts Dantès with this accusation, Dantès explains that he stopped the ship at Elba in order to carry out his captain’s dying request: to deliver a package to an exiled grand-marshal, Maréchal Bertrand. He says that while he was on the island he spoke with Napoleon, the deposed emperor of France.

With this matter cleared up, Morrel asks Dantès for his opinion of Danglars. Dantès answers honestly, explaining that he has a personal dislike for Danglars but that Danglars does his work very well. Morrel approves of Dantès’s behavior at Elba, of his honest assessment of an enemy, and of his character in general. Morrel declares that after he consults with his partner, Dantès will be named the new captain of the Pharaon, despite his young age. Dantès is ecstatic, while Danglars is beside himself with envy.

Chapter 2: Father and Son

Leaving the docks, Dantès goes straight to see his father. He is shocked by the old man’s physical deterioration and soon discovers its cause: his father has been starving for the past few months. Though Dantès left his father with 200 francs, the tailor Caderousse demanded that the elder Dantès pay him a debt that his son owed, which left the old man with only sixty francs on which to live. Dantès tells his father the good news of his promotion and hands him a modest pile of gold, telling him to buy himself all the provisions he needs.

Caderousse then enters the small room to welcome Dantès home. Dantès receives Caderousse politely, telling himself “he is a neighbour who has done us a service . . . so he’s welcome.” Caderousse has already heard the news of Dantès’s promotion and congratulates him. Caderousse then leaves the father and son and goes downstairs, where Danglars is waiting for him. The two men discuss their dislike for Dantès and accuse him of being arrogant. Caderousse reveals that Dantès’s good luck might be about to change: the woman he loves, Mercédès, has been seen in the company of another man. Danglars and Caderousse, hoping for the worst, decide to wait by the road near Mercédès’s house, in order to determine whether Dantès has really been jilted.

Chapter 3: The Catalans

As expected, Dantès next goes to visit Mercédès, a beautiful girl who belongs to the Spanish community of Catalans. He finds Mercédès in the company of Fernand Mondego, her lovestruck cousin, who has been trying for years to make her his wife. Mercédès welcomes Dantès with a passionate embrace, and Fernand stalks off, enraged. Fernand passes Danglars and Caderousse drinking wine by the side of the road, and they call him over. As the three men drink together, Danglars and Caderousse try to whip Fernand up into a frenzy of envy and anger much like their own. Dantès and Mercédès appear, blissfully oblivious to the malice directed toward them. The couple tells Fernand, Caderousse, and Danglars that they plan to be married the next day because Dantès must travel to Paris to fulfill the last commission of his dead captain. Though Dantès does not state explicitly why he is going to Paris, Danglars suspects Dantès is delivering a letter that has been entrusted to him by Napoleon to Bonapartist plotters—supporters of Napoleon who are helping him plan to overthrow the French government. The allusion to the letter sparks an evil idea in Danglars’s mind.

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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 81 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 10 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.


2 out of 2 people found this helpful

See all 4 readers' notes   →