Note: This SparkNote refers to Dantès by his given name through Chapter 30, after which it generally refers to him as Monte Cristo.
The protagonist of the novel. Dantès is an intelligent, honest, and loving man who turns bitter and vengeful after he is framed for a crime he does not commit. When Dantès finds himself free and enormously wealthy, he takes it upon himself to act as the agent of Providence, rewarding those who have helped him in his plight and punishing those responsible for his years of agony.
The identity Dantès assumes when he emerges from prison and inherits his vast fortune. As a result, the Count of Monte Cristo is usually associated with a coldness and bitterness that comes from an existence based solely on vengeance.
The identity of an eccentric English nobleman that Dantès assumes when committing acts of random generosity. Lord Wilmore contrasts sharply with Monte Cristo, who is associated with Dantès’s acts of bitterness and cruelty. Appropriately, Monte Cristo cites Lord Wilmore as one of his enemies.
Another of Dantès’s false personas. The disguise of Abbé Busoni, an Italian priest, helps Dantès gain the trust of the people whom the count wants to manipulate because the name connotes religious authority.
The name Dantès uses as the signature for his anonymous gift to Morrel. Sinbad the Sailor is also the persona Dantès adopts during his time in Italy.
Dantès’s beautiful and good fiancée. Though Mercédès marries another man, Fernand Mondego, while Dantès is in prison, she never stops loving Dantès. Mercédès is one of the few whom Dantès both punishes (for her disloyalty) and rewards (for her enduring love and underlying goodness).
Read an in-depth analysis of Mercédès.
A priest and brilliant thinker whom Dantès meets in prison. Abbé Faria becomes Dantès’s intellectual father: during their many years as prisoners, he teaches Dantès history, science, art, and many languages. He then bequeaths to Dantès his vast hidden fortune. Abbé Faria is the most important catalyst in Dantès’s transformation into the vengeful Count of Monte Cristo.
Dantès’s rival for Mercédès’s affections. Mondego helps in framing Dantès for treason and then marries Mercédès himself when Dantès is imprisoned. Through acts of treachery Mondego becomes a wealthy and powerful man and takes on the name of the Count de Morcerf. He is the first victim of Dantès’s vengeance.
A greedy, envious cohort of Mondego. Danglars hatches the plot to frame Dantès for treason. Like Mondego, he becomes wealthy and powerful, but loses everything when Monte Cristo takes his revenge. Danglars’s obsession with the accumulation of wealth makes him an easy target for Monte Cristo, who has seemingly limitless wealth on hand to exact his revenge.
A lazy, drunk, and greedy man. Caderousse is present when the plot to frame Dantès is hatched, but he does not take an active part in the crime. Unlike Danglars and Mondego, Caderousse never finds his fortune, instead making his living through petty crime and the occasional murder.
Read an in-depth analysis of Caderousse.
The blindly ambitious public prosecutor responsible for sentencing Dantès to life in prison. Like the others, Villefort eventually receives punishment from Dantès. Villefort stands out as Monte Cristo’s biggest opposition, as he employs his own power to judge people and mete out punishments.
The kind, honest shipowner who was once Dantès’s boss. Morrel does everything in his power to free Dantès from prison and tries to save Dantès’s father from death. When Dantès emerges from prison, he discovers that Morrel is about to descend into financial ruin, so he carries out an elaborate plot to save his one true friend.
Dantès’s father. Grief-stricken, Louis Dantès starves himself to death when Dantès is imprisoned. It is primarily for his father’s death that Dantès seeks vengeance.
The son of Monsieur Morrel. Brave and honorable like his father, Maximilian becomes Dantès’s primary beneficiary. Maximilian and his love, Valentine, survive to the end of the story as two good and happy people, personally unaffected by the vices of power, wealth, and position.
The son of Fernand Mondego and Mercédès. Unlike his father, Albert is brave, honest, and kind. Mercédès’s devotion to both Albert and Dantès allows Monte Cristo to realize her unchanging love for him and causes him to think more deeply about his sole desire for revenge.
Villefort’s saintly and beautiful daughter. Like Maximilian Morrel, her true love, she falls under Dantès’s protection.
Villefort’s father. Once a powerful French revolutionary, Noirtier is brilliant and willful, even when paralyzed by a stroke. He proves a worthy opponent to his son’s selfish ambitions.
The daughter of Ali Pacha, the vizier of the Greek state of Yanina. Haydée is sold into slavery after her father is betrayed by Mondego and murdered. Dantès purchases Haydée’s freedom and watches her grow into adulthood, eventually falling in love with her.
Dantès’s steward. Though Bertuccio is loyal and adept, Dantès chooses him as his steward not for his personal qualities but because of his vendetta against Villefort.
The illegitimate son of Villefort and Madame Danglars. Though raised lovingly by Bertuccio and Bertuccio’s widowed sister-in-law, Benedetto nonetheless turns to a life of brutality and crime. Handsome, charming, and a wonderful liar, Benedetto plays the part of Andrea Cavalcanti in one of Dantès’s elaborate revenge schemes.
Villefort’s murderous wife. Devoted wholly to her son Edward, Madame d’Villefort turns to crime in order to ensure his fortune.
The daughter of Monsieur Morrel and sister of Maximilian. Angelically good and blissfully in love, Julie and her husband, Emmanuel, prove to Monte Cristo that it is possible to be truly satisfied with one’s life.
Julie’s husband. Emmanuel is just as noble and perpetually happy as his wife, Julie.
Danglars’s wife. Greedy, conniving, and disloyal, Madame Danglars engages in a never-ending string of love affairs that help bring her husband to the brink of financial ruin.
The Danglars’ daughter. A brilliant musician, Eugénie longs for her independence and despises men. On the eve of her wedding, she flees for Italy with her true love, Louise d’Armilly.
Eugénie Danglars’s music teacher and constant companion.
The secretary to the French minister of the interior. Debray illegally leaks government secrets to his lover, Madame Danglars, so that she can invest wisely with her husband’s money.
Dantès’s mute Nubian slave. Ali is amazingly adept with all sorts of weapons.
A famous Roman bandit. Vampa is indebted to Dantès for once setting him free, and he puts himself at the service of Dantès’s vengeful ends.
A poor and crooked man whom Dantès resurrects as a phony Italian nobleman.
The Villeforts’ spoiled son. Edward is an innocent victim of Dantès’s elaborate revenge scheme.
A well-known journalist and good friend to Albert de Morcerf.
Another good friend to Albert de Morcerf. D’Epinay is the unwanted fiancé of Valentine Villefort.
The father of Villefort’s first wife, who dies shortly after her wedding day.
The wife of the Marquis of Saint-Méran.
A smuggler who helps Dantès win his freedom. When Jacopo proves his selfless loyalty, Dantès rewards him by buying the poor man his own ship and crew.
A Greek nationalist leader whom Mondego betrays. This betrayal leads to Ali Pacha’s murder at the hands of the Turks and the seizure of his kingdom. Ali Pacha’s wife and his daughter, Haydée, are sold into slavery.
An aristocrat and diplomat. Château-Renaud is nearly killed in battle in Constantinople, but Maximilian Morrel saves him at the last second. Château-Renaud introduces Maximilian into Parisian society, which leads to Maximilian and Dantès crossing paths.
An Italian shepherd who has been arrested and sentenced to death for the crime of being an accomplice to bandits, when he merely provided them with food. Monte Cristo buys Peppino his freedom.
A beautiful Italian aristocrat who suspects that Monte Cristo is a vampire.