Villefort buries himself in work, building the case against Benedetto. On the day of the trial, he finally approaches Madame Villefort and makes clear that he knows she is a murderer. He tells his wife that he will not let her die on the scaffold, as that would bring shame to both himself and to his son. Villefort instead instructs her to take her own life, using the poison she used to commit her murders. If she has not done this by the time he returns from court, he warns, he will publicly denounce her and have the authorities execute her.
Benedetto’s trial is a major event, and all of the fashionable Parisians turn out at the courthouse to watch. During the trial, Benedetto announces that he is the son of Villefort. He tells the story of his birth—how his father buried him alive, how a man then stabbed Villefort and stole the box in which he was buried, and how he was taken in and raised by adoptive parents. The court asks for proof, but Villefort interrupts and declares himself guilty.
[H]e felt he had passed beyond the bounds of vengeance, and that he could no longer say, “God is for and with me.”See Important Quotations Explained
On his way back home, Villefort regrets condemning his wife to death, realizing that he is no more innocent than she. He decides that he will let her live, and that they will flee France together. However, when he comes home, he finds that she has already followed his orders. In addition to killing herself, Madame Villefort has also killed Edward, unwilling to let her son live on without her.
Seeking solace, Villefort runs to see his father, Noirtier, who is accompanied by the Abbé Busoni. The Abbé reveals his true identity as Edmond Dantès. Grabbing him by the wrist, Villefort leads Dantès to the corpses of his wife and son, and he asks if Dantès’s vengeance is complete now. At the sight of the dead boy, Dantès’s face takes on a look of anguish. He tries to revive Edward with the powerful elixir that he uses earlier, but is unsuccessful. Dantès approaches Villefort in order to offer him comfort in the knowledge that Valentine is not really dead, but Villefort has apparently gone insane. For the first time, Dantès doubts the justice of the project he has been carrying out. Back at home, he tells Maximilian that they will leave Paris the next day.
The next day Maximilian goes to say goodbye to Julie and Emmanuel. Monte Cristo comes to pick up Maximilian, and they leave Paris together. As they go, Monte Cristo looks out over the city and declares his work of vengeance done.
Maximilian and Monte Cristo arrive in Marseilles in time to watch Albert board a ship bound for his military post in Africa. Maximilian goes to visit his father’s grave, while Monte Cristo pays a visit to Mercédès, who is now living in the small house that Louis Dantès once inhabited. Monte Cristo promises Mercédès that he will help her son in any way he can. Mercédès expresses passive resignation toward her ill fate, claiming that it must be God’s will. Monte Cristo chides her, reminding her that God created man with free will. Monte Cristo then meets Maximilian in the cemetery and tells him to wait in Marseilles in several days, since he must take care of some business in Italy.