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The First Generation
Edmond Dantes, AKA The Count of Monte Cristo
The Protagonist, Edmond Dantes stumbles upon a great fortune after escaping from a years-long unjust imprisonment and returns to France to seek vengeance on his enemies.
- Affably Evil: He is a really polite and charitable man but to the families of those who sent him to jail he is downright diabolical.
- Anti-Hero: All he wanted his personal revenge however the persons he targeted were embezzler, traitor and worse.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: His revenge felt good until Villefort showed him how far he went and even he can't justify it anymore.
- Best Served Cold: Fourteen years in prison before he escapes, and another nine years before he sets his plans for revenge in motion. Served cold indeed.
- British Teeth: In his Lord Wilmore persona, Dantes wears false teeth that are in bad condition, although his actual teeth are in good shape (which Fridge Logic would suggest wouldn't be the case after rotting in prison for over a decade).
- Byronic Hero: Dantes is explicitly associated with Lord Byron's King Manfred and with Lord Ruthwen, the anti-hero from Polidori's The Vampyre, who is based on the real-life Lord Byron.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: While it is believable that Dantes could develop some ability to see in darkness during his long time in prison, it is less so that this ability would instantly return after visiting the Chateau d'If following more than a decade outside of prison. Also, presumably because of all the tunneling he did, Dantes' imprisonment makes him physically stronger and tougher.
- The Chessmaster: He is the only one to know exactly everyone and what pieces they are on the story.
- Cultured Badass: For his revenge, he learned diverse cultures and science on top of being able to pefectly emulate an Englishman to the point his speech mannerism is perfect.
- The Determinator: After fourteen years in prison, Dantes spends nine years setting up a new identity, discovering the darkest secrets of his enemies, before finally taking revenge not only on them but their families.
- Fiction 500: The hidden treasure Edmond found was not only incredibly valuable in and of itself, but it multiplied several times over during the years it was hidden (many of the artifacts it held, for example, were made by famous and long dead artisans). He became incredibly wealthy; estimates conclude that he would be filthy rich even by today's standards.
- A God Am I: Not literally, but the Count initially sees himself as an avenging angel, sent by God to reward the just (the Morrel family) and punish the wicked (Danglars, Villefort, Caderousse and Mondego). His hubris comes back to haunt him in the worst way possible.
- He Who Fights Monsters: He targets not only his enemies, but their children as well, who not only don't deserve to be held accountable for their parents' sins, but are actually rather nice people.
- Manipulative Bastard: No one remains unaffected by the Count when he wills it. No one.
- Omniglot: Thanks to Faria's teaching.
- Psychotic Smirk: Reference is made to his "ghastly smiles".
- Secret Identity Identity: Not only is Dantes' personality swallowed up into the persona of the Count, but he also has other personas (Lord Wilmore and Sinbad the Sailor) which he takes on when performing charitable actions, not to mention that of a priest, the Abbe Busoni, who has a similar personality to Abbe Faria. (Gankutsuou pushes this trope to the extreme by making the Count unable to identify with or as Edmond Dantes, whom he repeatedly says "died in prison and was reborn as the Count of Monte Cristo".) In the end, he reconciles the two identities, signing his last known letter as "Your friend Edmond Dantes, the Count of Monte Cristo".
The Wilmore one is particularly weird, since Wilmore has light hair as opposed to the Count's dark hair, and identifies himself as an enemy of the Count- so basically, the main personality (The Count) is the evil (or at least ruthless) one and Wilmore is Dantes' suppressed good side.
- Took a Level in Badass: When Dantes transforms into the Count of Monte Cristo, he becomes incredibly formidable.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Somewhat, and justifiably so given the sheer magnitude of what happened to him. Edmond was at first a kind, loving, and honest man, but upon his return as the Count, he becomes murderously vindictive, extremely manipulative, and very cold. Around those he considers his close friends and allies, though, you can still tell it's Edmond beneath all the layers of blind hatred and bitterness.
- Who's Laughing Now?: His life is completely destroyed by a couple of jealous rivals over basically nothing, and the royal prosecutor lets it happen (even though he feels bad about it) because saving him would wreck his ambitions. He rots away in a Hellhole Prison for fourteen years, said rivals steal his job and fiancée, respectively, his father dies of starvation during his false imprisonment, and everyone except his girl and his boss forgets about him. His rivals all flourish while he languishes away in a dark dungeon, becoming very rich and high society, then he nearly dies escaping from the place. Then he finds hidden treasure, becomes unimaginably wealthy, returns, and casually goes about ruining their lives.
- Wicked Cultured
Gerard de Villefort
The magistrate who, to further his own ambitions, sent Dantes to an indefinite incarceration.
- Ambition Is Evil: At first, he's portrayed sympathetically, with many parallels to Dantes. However, he becomes a villain when he discovers Dantes has information that makes him a threat to his reputation, and, panicking, sends an innocent man to rot in a dungeon.
- Armor-Piercing Question: By the time Dantes reveals himself Villefort had none of that and shows him his youngest child poisoned corpse and asks him if he has his revenge. The Count realizes that he went too far and that there is no ustice and his revenge now.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Characters even lampshaded that at least Fernand's bullet to the head was quick and it killed and that's before the final drama is discovered.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: To an extent. After his life starts falling apart and he finds out about Bendetto being his son, he realizes what a hypocrite he is for ordering his murderous wife to commit suicide to save the family honor, and starts to think about fleeing the country or possibly turning himself in. But then he returns home to find his wife killed herself along with their young son. That, coupled with Monte Cristo revealing himself drives him into a complete breakdown and he goes insane
- Hanging Judge: He's well known for being a stern judge, though pretty fair - until it put his own head on the line just through circumstance.
- Hypocrite: For a stern judge he sure committed a bunch of crimes.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In an unusual twist, this trope is applied to Villefort at the start of the novel. He initially feels a terrible guilt at framing Dantes and sending him to prison, but he represses it and lets Dantes rot anyway. Even then, though, it's implied that his guilt doesn't go away so easily.
- Offing the Offspring: Almost. He tried burying his illegitimate child because he thought the boy was dead.
- Patricide: Contemplated it when his father break a wedding arrangement. He left the room running to stop himself from doing it.
- Villainous Breakdown: The most severe of any of Dantes' enemies. By the end of the book, he's babbling nonsense and digging holes in his yard, completely insane.
- What You Are in the Dark: Would you sentence an innocent man to a Hellhole Prison for life for a crime you know he didn't commit (and it is entirely within your power to prove just that) as it would otherwise mean dooming your own career and personal ambitions? Villefort decides yes and lives to regret it.
Dantes's jealous shipmate who betrays him to advance his own career.
- Ambition Is Evil: He is motivated by reaching higher station.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Monte Cristo's revenge on Danglars consists of having him kidnapped and imprisoned by Luigi Vampa. Vampa and the Count then put Danglars through the same hell that Dantes went through, with the added twist of forcing him to choose between his money and his life by charging him exorbitant prices for his food. Monte Cristo takes the money and returns it to the French hospitals Danglars embezzled it from.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: See the banker entry.
- Driven by Envy: Did not take Dantes being promoted over him well.
- Locked into Strangeness: After the ordeal the Count puts him through, Danglars' hair turns completely white.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's actually the mastermind of the plot against Dantes, but arranges things so Fernand is the one with his fingerprints left on it.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: Embezzled the money of the French hospitals.
- Nouveau Riche: Being a shipmate at first who sold out Dantes so he can become richer.
- Redemption Equals Life: After learning the hard way to value his life more than his money, Danglars repents and begs for forgiveness. Monte Cristo ultimately grants Danglars' request, and lets him leave with 50,000 francs he earned honestly. The Count lampshades the fact that Danglars got off more easily than Mondego and Caderousse (who are both dead), and Villefort (who's completely insane).
- The Resenter
- Villainous Breakdown: His time in Luigi's jail broke him.
- Your Cheating Heart: Both he and his wife have numerous lovers, since they both married for money and can't stand each other.
Fernand Mondego de Morcerf
Dantes's romantic rival. He betrays Edmond to get a shot with Mercedes.
- Ambition Is Evil: A Hot-Blooded Catallan at first but after betraying Edmond he found backstabbing a fast way to success.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Practically everything he values — his military commission, his vast fortune, his title, his wife — he got by cheating somebody else out of it.
- Driven to Suicide: After his wife and son disown him. Once it becomes known how Fernand made his fortune, his name is mud in polite society and he's back to square one, so he tops himself.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Most of his decorated military career actually consisted of backstabbing and fraud.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Or rather, Falsely Denounce The Hypotenuse As A Traitor, but since so few people have ever come back from Chateau d'If...
- Rags to Riches: At the start of the book, he's a poor fisherman. During Dantes's time in prison, he becomes rich and powerful.
- Rival Turned Evil: Pretty much everyone who betrayed Edmond counts, but Fernand is the strongest example, as he embarks upon a career built upon betrayal after this action.
- Self-Made Man: Earned everything he had by himself. Thanks to him being a remorseless traitor.
Edmond's fiancée. Ends up marrying Fernand.
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: She couldn't bear loneliness.
- Broken Bird: At the end.
- Fatal Flaw: She cannot bear loneliness, and marries Fernand out of desperation rather than love while still grieving for Edmond. After Fernand's death and Albert joins the army, leaving her all alone once more, she sinks into depression.
- Like Brother and Sister: Initially, keeps insisting to Fernand that they are this.
- Princess in Rags: At the end, she loses most of her possessions and joins a convent.
Dantes's drunken next-door neighbor in the beginning of the novel. Later, he turns to a life of crime and becomes a mentor to Benedetto.
- An Axe to Grind: As a murder weapon.
- Death Equals Redemption: Dantes' revealing his identity causes him to realize the existence/goodness of God and pray for forgiveness as he dies
- A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Played for Drama. After Dantes returns from prison, he visits Caderousse in disguise and gives him a gem worth a small fortune. After selling the gem, Caderousse murders the jeweler who bought it and ends up going to jail.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Caderousse, the one member of the conspiracy who doesn't become fabulously wealthy, is both very greedy and very jealous of those who have wealth. His avarice leads him to commit at least one murder and several robberies, the last of which is his attempt to rob Monte Cristo's house.
- Karmic Death: Caderousse gets one of these when he's murdered by Benedetto after a botched attempt to rob Monte Cristo's house.
- Mr. Exposition: In disguise as the Abbe Busoni, one of the Count's first actions after his escape is to visit Caderousse, who by now is working as an innkeeper in a provincial town. Caderousse brings both the Count and the audience up to speed on what's been happening while the Count was in the Chateau d'If.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: His only role in the conspiracy was to have Danglar and Mondego meet, he was too drunk to realize what was happening and he even asked Danglar if it is their fault that Dantes is in jail. There is a reason why he didn't make much of the conspiracy.
- Pet the Dog: When Dantes meets up with him again incognito, Caderousse admits he regrets doing nothing to stop the man's imprisonment when he could have. This is what prompts Edmund to give him a diamond and another chance at life. He fails utterly.
- Stepford Smiler: It's implied that Caderousse is one of these, intensely jealous of Dantes' rising career while he's stuck as a low-end tailor, despite his friendly and affable demeanor. When he's alone with Danglars and Mondego, his drinking arguably reveals his true nature, as he drunkenly points out the damage they could do to someone with a pen and paper. He even sings a song about how wicked people drink water, since alcohol leads them to reveal their true natures. Many years later, Caderousse is a convicted felon and burglar, who's as bad as he ever was. Lusting after Monte Cristo's riches, Caderousse attempts to rob the Count's house. It doesn't end well.
The Second GenerationThe children of the above characters.
The illegitimate son of Villefort and Madame Danglars, raised by one of the Count's servants. A pawn in the Count's schemes, he takes on the alias Andrea Cavalcante to become part of the French aristocracy.
- Affably Evil: Despite being an amoral cutthroat who when younger was an Enfant Terrible who abused his adoptive parents, Benedetto has the personality of a handsome and charming rogue and is able to masquerade with ease as an educated aristocrat.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In his Cavalcante identity, he pretends to be a nice guy. There's one moment where this slips, during the point where Albert is being manipulated into seeking a Duel to the Death, and he notices that "Andrea" seems a little too amused by the situation.
- Enfant Terrible: He had a lot of rage that Bertuccio attribute to having his father abandoning him thinking he was deadborn.
- Evil Redhead: Benedetto has strawberry blond hair, and his adoptive father, Bertuccio, cites a proverb about redheads either being completely good or completely evil (Benedetto being the latter).
- Karma Houdini: Benedetto commits robbery, torture, and murder and although he is arrested and put on trial the verdict is not revealed to the readers following the revelation that Villefort, his judge, is his own father who tried to bury him alive as a newborn. Considering that Dantes promised to Bertuccio that Benedetto will not go unpunished, and that Benedetto is rewarded by finally discovering who his father is, it is surprising that Benedetto's presumed execution it not made more explicit, may also be a case of What Happened to the Mouse?.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Murdering Caderousse. The Count considers this a sign from God that Caderousse deserved it.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Twice. At first, he believes the Count is his father, since he supports him financially and provides him with a socially-acceptable "father" (an old Italian major who had lost his son long ago — it takes Benedetto less than a page to realize that Major Cavalcanti is just as much a fraud as himself, albeit a titled fraud). Near the end, Bertuccio reveals the truth to him and he very cheerfully reveals Villefort as his father at his own trial.
- Mock Millionaire: Part of the Count'S scheme.
- Moses in the Bulrushes: His discovery by adoptive parents and desire to find his real parents is traditional, but against tradition, he's a villain rather than a hero and instrumental in bringing great harm to his actual parents.
- No Hero to His Valet: His rapid rise to prominence in Parisian society doesn't faze his old fellow prisoner Caderousse, who still calls him Benedetto and more or less ignores his new status as a prince.
- Psycho Sidekick: The Count isn't exactly morally spotless himself, but Benedetto is a pretty bad guy and the Count is happy to use him to his ends. For his part, Benedetto is very loyal to the Count because of his generosity and because he thinks the Count is his true father.
- Self-Made Orphan: He killed his foster-mother. By burning her alive. It was sort of an "accident" (he was torturing her with fire to find out where she hid money and she ended up closer to the flames than he intended).
- Tenor Boy: The evil kind.
- Wicked Cultured
- You're Not My Father: Which is the reason Bertuccio can't bring himself to discipline Benedetto.
Mercedes and Fernand's son.
- Arranged Marriage: To Eugenie Danglars. To say that neither cares for the idea is an understatement.
- Broken Pedestal: He's incensed that the count would slander his father's honor and challenges him to a duel over this. When he finally learns what his father did to Dantes, he calls off the duel (even if he'll lose face) and completely disowns the man.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: "p.s. I now believe in Italian banditti."
- Duel to the Death: Challenges first his friend Beauchamp, and then the Count to one.
- Hidden Depths: After being suckered into a trap by Italian bandits, he still managed to nearly strangle one of them.
- Like Father, Like Son: Nope. Albert's actually a brave and decent guy who wants to earn what he gets in life. Must be he takes after his mom.
- Nerves of Steel: Albert remains calm, composed, and when in the hands of the bandits. In the 2002 film, he remains so even when they have a knife to his throat. In the film and the book, the Count later praises him for his bravery.
- Redemption Quest: Joins the army to escape the shame of his father's actions.
- Relative Button: Hearing his father accused of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Discussed. Albert is said to believe that any problem of logistics can be solved by application of money.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: During the Carnival, a male bandit disguises himself as a young lady to lure Albert into a trap.
- Upper-Class Twit: Has shades of this early on, though in the end he reveals himself to actually have a rather steadfast and noble character beneath it all. At the end of the book he even denounces his father's name and riches after he finds out what the man did to Dantes, and joins the army to make his name and fortune on his own merits instead.
Villefort's daughter and Maximilien Morrel's lover.
The son of Dantes's old employer. He joined the army and became a decorated officer. During his life in Paris, he has a platonic affair with Valentine Villefort in the hope of to marrying her. The Count considers him like a son.
The Count's slave and surrogate daughter.
- Happiness in Slavery: The Count saved her life and treats her exceptionally well. So much that when he offers Haydee her freedom, more than once, she adamantly refuses.
- May–December Romance: Between her and the Count.
- Morality Pet: To the Count.
- You Killed My Father: Mondego betrayed her father, Ali Pasha, leading to his death.
- Arranged Marriage: To Albert. She's as disgusted with it as he is.
- Crazy-Prepared: She had been making preparation for her escape with Louise d'Armilly for quite a while, being able to spring everything into action within the hour of the shit hitting the fan at her engagement party.
- Does Not Like Men: Such a prominent trait that it's one of the main reasons why Albert rues the marriage.
- Hide Your Lesbians: But very lightly. The narration does everything short of outright stating that she is a lesbian.
- Ice Queen: Eugenie is unfailingly cold and distant to every character she interacts with other than Louise d'Armilly.
- The Lad-ette: One of the main criticisms laid against Eugenie is that despite her great beauty, she has the brain of a man, which her peer find disturbing.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Louise d'Armilly.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Just about the point where everything is starting to go downhill, Eugenie reveals that she has long since been making plans to move to Italy with Louise. Which is wise.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Disguises herself as a man to get out of the country.
- Exact Eavesdropping: Part of the reason he's uneasy about the Count—he overhears his conversation with Luigi Vampa in Rome.
- Only Sane Man: Of his peers, Franz is the only one who seems to be a bit uneasy about the Count.
- Tell Me About My Father: Noirtier tells him the truth about his father, who he believed was murdered by bonapartist agents after refusing to go with them, Noirtier was the bonapartist agent that killed him, but over a trivial matter in a duel and not by ambush, his father provoked Noirtier by calling him a Dirty Coward who came with 3 men to coerced him, Noitier didn't like it and showed he could kill him all by himself.
- You Killed My Father: Noirtier killed his father. This discovery leads him to break off his engagement with Valentine.
Dantes's Mentor when he is in prison; tells Dantes the location of the treasure that eventually makes him rich.
- Almost Dead Guy
- Eccentric Mentor: Appears somewhat quirky, though it is largely due to being imprisoned for many years. Some adaptations tend to highlight this more than the others.
- Historical-Domain Character: But fairly dissimilar to the actual guy.
- MacGyvering: The Abbe is surprisingly self-sufficient for a man living in a dungeon; he manages to make his own candles, paper, pens and ink, needles and thread, chisel, knife...
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: He dies just before they complete their escape plan, so in the end only Dantes escapes.
- The Old Convict
- The Professor: Faria is knowledgeable on a number of subjects such as multiple languages, economics, history, and clearly some science as well. He writes a book on Italian politics while in prison. On paper he made out of old shirts, with pens he made out of bones and ink he made out of ashes, using light from a homemade oil lamp lit with fat from the meat he was fed.
Monsieur Noirtier de Villefort
Villefort's father; Valentine's grandfather and confidant. Fully paralyzed except for his eyes, he communicates by blinking.
- Acquired Poison Immunity: He survives a murder attempt using brucine because he has been taking it as medicine, and has built up a resistance to it.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: While it's not totally clear to what extent Dumas knew it was real, Noirtier's condition is a real one, called Locked-in Syndrome.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: For Villefort, as Noirtier's political views are a liability to his ambitious son.
- Badass Grandpa: Even his condition didn't stop him from saving his granddaughter
- Cool Old Guy: Toward his grandaughter.
- Handicapped Badass: Stopping an unhappy marriage for his beloved granddaughter that Villefort's family wanted put through by using his duel of the groom's father as the means. While paralyzed completely.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: His method of killing Franz's father is in line with this. He could have easily just killed the guy on sight, since he was a royalist spy, but perhaps in deference to their shared aristocratic background, instead fought him honorably in a duel to the death.
- Nerves of Steel: After his son semi-hysterically informs him that the police are looking for a man exactly corresponding to his description, Noirtier calmly proceeds to shave his whiskers, change his coat, and then call for breakfast. He even took a bunch of hits in his duel without even moaning in pain.
- Retired Monster: He killed a man not because he was an enemy but because he bitched that having four people against one is forcing him to sign the document. Noirtier simply called him out that if he wants to put his money where his mouth is he was ready to have a fair duel (where Noirtier is at a disadvantage) and killed him.
- Sword Cane: Used it in a duel and still won against a regular and proper sword.
- Benevolent Boss: When the Count determines that Morrel wasn't in on the conspiracy to imprison Edmond Dantes, he rescues the man from his debts in a most dramatic fashion.
- Doting Parent: To Julie.
- Driven to Suicide: He would die before he defaults on his debts.
- Interrupted Suicide: Played with. Maximilian arrives to try and talk him out of it, but they end up agreeing that it's the only honorable thing to do. And then real help arrives.
- Team Dad
Servants, Pawns, and Allies
The Count's servant and an ex-smuggler. The adoptive father of Bendetto.
- Hot-Blooded: Well yes he was from Corsica.
- Morality Pet: One of the only people who keeps The Count somewhat reigned in and from completely descending into darkness.
- Prepare to Die: Swore a vendetta on Villefort after he refused to investigate his brother's murder.
- Undying Loyalty
- The Watson: Actually inverted: he tells the Count about Benedetto.
Heloise de Villefort
Villefort's second wife.
A former shepherd who became chief of the Italian bandits, and a friend and ally to the Count.
- Affably Evil: Luigi is perfectly polite to his prisoners in the time they have for their ransoms to arrive.
- Badass Bookworm
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Teresa.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From simple peasant to feared bandit and he's not yet thirty.
- Genius Book Club: Reading Caesar's Commentaries while waiting for the kidnap victim's ransom to show up?
- Hidden in Plain Sight: During the Carnivale, a group of bandits and their women drive through the city in peasant disguises. Vampa, however, is disguised as the coachman.
- Honor Among Thieves: Vampa is introduced plotting the rescue of an accomplice who had been captured and sentenced to death.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: He taught himself to shoot.
- Just Like Robin Hood Except for the whole deal with kidnapping random foreigners for ransom...
- Rags to Riches: So to speak.
- Wicked Cultured: He's a bandit chief who reads ancient classics, namely Caesar's Commentaries.
- Young Conqueror: He's jokingly compared to one, but he does kind of fit the descriptor (albeit on a small scale) and it probably explains his choice of reading.