Literature / The Count of Monte Cristo

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Wait, and hope.

Serialised adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas Sr., published in the Journal des Debats from August 1844 to January 1846, based loosely on an allegedly true story which Dumas discovered in a collection of police reports.

Edmond Dantes is a guileless sailor experiencing a run of good luck: he has just been made captain of his ship, and is newly engaged to the beautiful Mercedes. On his wedding day, Fernand (Mercedes's cousin and Dantes's rival for her affections) and Danglars (Dantes' co-worker, who is jealous of the former's rise to captain) decide to frame Dantes by sending an anonymous letter fingering him as a Napoleonic spy. Dantes is arrested and brought to crown prosecutor Villefort, who is initially sympathetic to Dantes until he finds a letter in his possession that would expose Villefort's father as a leader in a Neo-Bonapartist conspiracy. Taking no chances, he destroys the evidence of Dantes' innocence and fast-tracks him to the Chateau d'If, a hellhole prison for enemies of the state.

During his stretch, Edmond meets and befriends a fellow lifer, Abbe Faria. Faria educates him in a variety of subjects; helps him piece together the truth about his imprisonment; and before dying, tells of a treasure of unthinkable magnitude buried on the island of Monte Cristo. Edmond manages to escape by smuggling himself inside Faria's bodybag, and claims the treasure.

He returns to France as the brooding, cultivated, and no-named Count of Monte Cristo. He discovers that Fernand, Danglars and Villefort have all become rich and powerful, and sets about using their evil pasts and tainted passions to enact an elaborate and cruel revenge. A complication arises in that their children are, by and large, genuinely good people whom the Count numbers among his few friends.

Often regarded as the greatest revenge story of all time, this novel remains a popular classic. It has inspired at least 40 film and television adaptations, including the 1964 12 part series from BBC, the anime Gankutsuou (in space!), a 1997 animated adaption and an episode of The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo. It also inspired Alfred Bester's classic SF novel The Stars My Destination (also in space!) and Stephen Fry's The Stars' Tennis Balls (aka Revenge: A Novel) which has a lot of fun with Significant Anagrams. The TV show Revenge is basically The Count of Monte Cristo in the Hamptons. A literary mash-up came out in 2014 called The Vampire Count Of Monte Cristo which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A musical, adapting elements of both the book and the 2002 film, began its run in 2009.

The novel is in the public domain in the United States and is available online for free at Project Gutenberg, Google, Amazon, and so on.


This story features examples of:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Edmond Dantes is gone for years, and Mercedes is told he is dead and marries his enemy and raises a son during that time. Dantes forgives her, specifically saying that the eighteen months she waited before moving on was all a lover could ask for.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Monsieur Noirtier has an immunity to brucine (a variant of strychnine) because he has been taking a medicine that contains the same compound, and has built up a resistance to it. Realizing that his granddaughter and heir Valentine is also a target, he starts giving her small doses of his medicine; this saves her life when the poisoner has a go at her.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: The Count causes a lot of this while getting his revenge on those who betrayed him:
    • Destroying Morcerf leaves Mercedes and Albert disgraced and destitute. She is set to spend the rest of her life in a convent, while he joins the army as a Death Seeker. Earlier the Count was willing to kill Albert in a duel as part of his revenge against Morcerf, until Mercedes intervened.
    • His machinations against Villefort lead to the death of Villefort's young son Edouard, prompting even the Count to reflect that he has gone too far. It almost leads to Valentine's death too, until the Count realises in time that she is the woman with whom Maximilien Morrell is madly in love.
    • The fallout from the above is what prompts the Count to spare Danglars, stripping him of all his wealth but sparing his life rather than letting him starve to death as he originally intended.
  • Affably Evil: Luigi Vampa, who is perfectly polite to his prisoners in the one evening they have for their ransoms to arrive. The Count also cultivates this image toward Albert and Franz. Benedetto is remarkably likable and charming for someone who has committed nearly every crime on the books before the age of 21.
  • The Alcatraz: The Chateau d'If, a prison located on an isolated rock in the Bay of Marseilles.
  • And I Must Scream: Between Dantes's arrest and his return as the Count, Noirtier suffers a stroke that renders him incapable of moving anything other than his eyelids. He and his granddaughter-caretaker do manage to develop a suitable means of communication.
  • Anonymous Benefactor: The Count serves as this to the Morrel Family.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Dantes has unlimited credit with Danglars's bank, and keeps withdrawing enormous amounts of money at the worst possible times (for Danglars).
  • Arc Words: "Wait and hope."
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Three of the four individuals responsible for Edmond's imprisonment become members of the nobility, and the most noble characters in the book, the Morrel family, are the only ones without some title. And of course, while Edmond Dantes was a nice happy-go-lucky guy, the Count of Monte Cristo is a sinister and vengeful man.
  • Arranged Marriage: Eugenie Danglars with Albert de Morcerf (later, with Andrea Cavalcanti), and Valentine de Villefort with Franz d'Epinay.
  • At the Opera Tonight: Several key scenes take place in opera houses, including Albert's first encounter with the Count.
  • An Axe to Grind: Caderousse murders someone with an axe.
  • Badass Adorable: Haydee has shades of this. Especially evident when she enters the courtroom to denounce Fernand.
  • Badass Beard:
    • The Count has a thick, black goatee. In his Abbe Busoni disguise, he wears a longer, shaggier, fake beard.
    • Ali Tepelini really takes the cake, though: he has a long, white beard which reaches his waist.
  • Badass Boast: The Count, after being challenged to a duel: "In France people fight with the sword or pistol, in the colonies with the carbine, in Arabia with the dagger. Tell your client that, although I am the insulted party, in order to carry out my eccentricity, I leave him the choice of arms, and will accept without discussion, without dispute, anything, even combat by drawing lots, which is always stupid, but with me different from other people, as I am sure to gain."
  • Badass Grandpa / Handicapped Badass: Nortier, who is completely paralyzed from the eyes down, yet still manages to protect his granddaughter from unwanted fiancés and assassination attempts. As Villefort puts it, an "indestructible old man".
  • Badass Moustache: It's 19th century France, after all - assume any character over the age of twenty has one. The Count, of course, has the badassest.
  • Badass Preacher: Dantes in his Busoni disguise, effortlessly disarms a would-be thief.
  • Bandit Clan: Italy is more or less presented as entirely comprised of these, but in particular, the Count's valet, Bertuccio, is a former bandit, and comes from a family of bandits.
  • Bastard Bastard: Benedetto is the product of an extramarital affair and seems to be evil since birth. However, the behavior of his half brother, who was born in legitimacy, suggests that being a bastard had little to do with it.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: Haydee, who was enslaved as a child and later bought by the Count. He treats her honorably, but sometimes makes use of others' assumptions about why he keeps her to embroider his legend.
  • Being Good Sucks: The innocent and good-hearted Edmond is betrayed and condemned to 14 years in jail by Danglars, Villefort and Fernand, who all prosper as a result. Though they do eventually get their comeuppance, it only happens after Edmond himself Took a Level in Badass AND Took a Level in Jerkass.
  • Be My Valentine: Valentine de Villefort, the proper lady-like daughter of one of the Count's enemies, and one half of the book's main romantic subplot.
  • Benevolent Boss:
    • Monsieur Morrel to the young Edmond Dantes. When Edmond was framed for Bonapartist collaboration and imprisoned in the hellish Chateau D'If, Morrel was the only person who tried to save him, though it was extremely politically dangerous to do so. Edmond rewards this compassion with Undying Loyalty to Morrel's family when his fortunes change.
    • Edmond himself, as the wealthy Count of Monte Cristo, treats his servants extremely well.
  • Best Served Cold: Dantes has to wait fourteen years in prison before he escapes, and spends another nine years preparing before he sets his plans for revenge in motion. The Count is even generous enough to bring other people screwed over by his enemies almost as many years before (namely Haydee by Fernand and Bertuccio by Villefort) so they can be the direct executors of the vengeance.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Fernand shoots himself in the head, having had his treacherous past exposed.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Edmond was a guy who had everything going for him, then lost everything thanks to being screwed over by whom he thought were his friends. What ensues is a gigantic Batman Gambit to take revenge on every last one of them and their families.
  • Bewildering Punishment: Edmond is not told why he was arrested.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Count gets his revenge on those who wronged him, but everything of his old life that he valued is still lost to him. Even the victorious revenge loses its sweetness in the end, because it has hurt innocent parties too. The Count is particularly shocked by the death of 9-year-old Edouard de Villefort, and reflects that he has now "exceeded the limits of vengeance".
  • Black and Gray Morality or Evil Versus Evil: The Count is ruthless to the point of being a Villain Protagonist, but the people he's up against are even worse.
  • Blue Blood: Several characters are aristocrats, but quite a few only recently so. Valentine's grandmother, the marquise de Saint-Meran, would likely have opposed her marriage to a commoner like Maximilien.
  • Bodybag Trick: Used in the prison escape. And (partly) averted: Dantes expects to merely be buried, at which point he can dig himself free and escape. However, he learns the hard way that the Chateau d'If buries its dead at sea — and still manages to escape, even though it's much harder going.
  • Brain Fever: Captain LeClere, in the beginning of the novel, leaving Edmond in command of his vessel.
  • Break the Believer: The Count believes that, in his campaign of revenge, he is acting as an agent of Providence to destroy the wicked and reward the virtuous, and that as such he is infallible. In the latter part of the novel, he begins to confront the accumulation of evidence that he is only human, capable of overlooking important details and making mistakes that harm the innocent, and has a crisis that forces him to reevaluate what he is doing with his life.
  • Break the Haughty: The goal of the Count's revenge plans. Villefort, for instance, is extremely proud of his keen intellect and reputation for detecting and punishing evildoers, without fear or favor; the Count shows that he has knowingly countenanced injustice when it suited him, and that he has allowed a dangerous criminal to operate under his nose, first without detection and then placing the blame on an innocent victim.
  • British Teeth: Exploited by the Count for his Lord Wilmore disguise, which includes false teeth.
  • Byronic Hero: The Count, a man so obsessed by revenge that no means of ensuring his enemies' destruction is too heinous for him to consider. It's superficially lampshaded early on when someone remarks that he looks an awful lot like the incarnation of Lord Ruthven, a fictional character based on Lord Byron himself.
  • Can Only Move the Eyes: Valentine's grandfather suffered a stroke that rendered him incapable of moving anything other than his eyelids. He and his granddaughter-caretaker do manage to develop a suitable means of communication. And he still manages to save Valentine and write out a will.
  • Can't Refuse the Call Anymore: Edmond Dantès is initially a benign, trusting, and naive young man with a happy future ahead of him. Then he's falsely imprisoned. He initially hopes that he'll receive justice and return to his friends. But after four years, he realizes that he'll never be released. This is the trope-point where there is no going back to his old life, only ahead. It initially drives him to despair and a suicide attempt. But the unexpected arrival of a fellow prisoner, the remarkable Abbe Faria, turns his thoughts in a new direction, toward escape and revenge. This also marks a change in Dantès's character.
  • Character Filibuster: Abbe Faria has one when he tells the lengthy story of how he came upon the treasure. There's another one for Luigi Vampa's Backstory. Basically, pretty much any time a character goes into Backstory, it's time to get comfortable and forget about the main story for a while. Fortunately, unlike a lot of Character Filibuster moments, the ones in this book are always key to the plot.
  • Character Witness: After Edmond Dantes is arrested, Monsieur Morrel makes a valiant effort to try and get him released, as he was convinced of Dantes' innocence. Morrel is taking a dreadful political risk in doing so, due to the struggles between royalist and Bonapartist groups that are convulsing France at the time and are in part what led to Dantes' imprisonment. By the time Dantes escapes and becomes the Count, Morrel's shipping company is on the verge of bankruptcy and his family's honor is ruined because of his inability to pay his debts. Using the alias of "Sinbad the Sailor", the Count repays his old employer by buying out and paying off the company's debts, giving them a brand-spanking new merchant ship to replace the one that had recently been destroyed in a storm, and also providing a generous dowry for Morrel's daughter. Monsieur Morrel dies soon after, but his good name and family honor Are both fully restored.
  • Chekhov's Gun: After Dantes is imprisoned, it's mentioned Fernand had a plan in case he returned: shoot him then kill himself. The narration tells us he wouldn't have gone through with it because he still hoped Mercedes would fall for him. Thus he only shoots himself at the end when Mercedes and their son have abandoned him, fully aware of his part in Dantes' fate.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Haydee appears to be a subverted Morality Pet for the Count at first, before she provides a crucial testimony against Fernand at the trial regarding his involvement in the Ali Pacha affair.
  • The Chessmaster: The Count is this in spades. He plans and prepares for almost everything. It takes a lot to throw him off, and, when it happens, he just uses it to further his end goal.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Morcerf betrayed the Spanish for the French during the Spanish expedition, the French for the English at Waterloo, and sold out Ali Pacha (who he was working as an instructor for).
  • Colonel Badass: Maximilien Morrel.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Averted, the Count ends up offering what turns out to be a large amount of money to a telegraph operator, but only after pointing out the beautiful garden he could have with that money.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: How Morcerf and Villefort are taken down (in both cases, the judge asks for definitive proof and is told to look at the accused, who looks guilty as hell before running away). The former shoots himself, the latter goes mad.
  • Cool Old Guy: Grandfather Noirtier, who manages to save the day a couple of times despite being almost completely paralyzed.
  • Crapsack World: In early nineteenth century France an anonymous denunciation can get a man arrested and a single prosecutor can condemn a man to spend the rest of his life in a dungeon without trial. Meanwhile Italy is practically overrun with bandits.
  • Cultured Badass: The Count.
  • Cunning Linguist: The Count rather matter-of-factly establishes that he is master of many languages.
    I adopt all customs, speak all languages. You believe me to be a Frenchman, for I speak French with the same facility and purity as yourself. Well, Ali, my Nubian, believes me to be an Arab; Bertuccio, my steward, takes me for a Roman; Haidee, my slave, thinks me a Greek...
  • Daddy's Girl: Good men have good relationships with their daughters. Haydee loved her father and remains devoted to his memory, and M. Morrel is loved by his daughter Julie. On the other hand, Eugenie Danglars and her father couldn't care less about each other, and Villefort ignores Valentine (though Valentine is very close to her grandfather, a better man than his son).
  • Denied Food as Punishment: What Edmond finally does to Danglars once he captures him.
  • Dies Wide Open: Abbe Faria dies like this after a seizure and Edmond has a lot of trouble closing his eyes.
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: This is a typical trait of Baron Danglars's conversations; he's a very strict man with little tolerance for small talk.
  • Doorstopper: Most copies exceed 1000 pages, varies with translation.
  • Dramatic Irony: The plot runs on it. The characters never know what the other characters are up to.
    • When Edmond is imprisoned, he and Morrel are oblivious to the treachery of Villefort, and trust his advice as though he were a good friend.
    • None of Edmond's friends realize that Danglars and Fernand were responsible for his arrest.
    • When Edmond is in disguise, none of his old friends or enemies knows his true identity. Except for Mercedes, who pegged it was him when she first heard his voice, at least when he was Monte Cristo..
    • Benedetto manages to make a name for himself in French society under a false identity, but nobody except the Count and one of his servants knows that he's actually the illegitimate son of Gérard de Villefort and Hermine Danglars. This takes a new dimension when he ends up engaged to his own half sister.
    • Towards the end of the book two characters are running away from Paris at the same time, and they cross paths a couple of times without noticing, before finding themselves face to face.
    • Even the Count, the Manipulative Bastard himself, doesn't realize that Maximilien and Valentine are romantically involved until the last minute; as far as he's concerned, Valentine is the daughter of his hated enemy.
  • Driven by Envy: Danglars gets in on the plot to frame Edmond because he's envious of Edmond's success, and particularly because Edmond has recently been promoted into a position Danglars had been angling for himself.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • M. Morrel contemplates suicide when his business fails, but is prevented when Edmond comes to the rescue.
    • Maximilien threatens to kill himself in three separate occasions. Prevented by the Count in all cases but one, where it's prevented by Valentine.
    • Fernand, after being confronted by the Count.
    • Madame de Villefort, after strong pressure from her husband.
  • Drugs Are Good: The Count talks about the delights of hashish, and claims he uses it to sleep at will.
  • Duel to the Death:
    • Between Albert and the Count. Averted at the last minute—Mercedes intervenes with both and stops the duel by getting Dantes to promise to spare her son, and by explaining to Albert why the Count wants to take down Morcerf.
    • Averted by Morcerf, who brings a pair of swords to demand an explanation from the Count, only for him to deliver a "Reason You Suck" Speech that sends the general reeling back home.
    • Noirtier reveals that he killed Franz's father in a duel to the death, the official reason he's opposed to the marriage.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: A major theme is that you cannot know true happiness unless you have suffered deeply first. Anyone who manages to get a happy ending in this book, earned it.
  • Eat the Dog: Maximillien Morrel rescued Chateau-Renault during combat in North Africa, and as the two ended up in the desert without rations, they were forced to kill and eat one of their horses. Played for laughs when they recount the incident to their friends, there's a comment about it being tough (i.e. a difficult thing to do), which one of the friends jokingly interprets as a reference to the horse meat being tough.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The Count. Years in prison will do that to you. Part of why everyone thinks he's a vampire.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Bribery is standard procedure for our fabulously wealthy protagonist. At one point he's worried about a lowly functionary with no ambitions beyond tending his garden, before getting him to see that lots of money can buy lots of gardens.
  • Evil Counterpart: Benedetto to the Count. Both are portrayed in-story as vessels for divine retribution, both are mysterious aristos with fake names and shady pasts only a select few know, both were at one point convicts - hell, Benedetto's even convinced that the Count is his father! The crucial difference is that the Count has at least some empathy, self-awareness, and remorse, and while he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, Benedetto escaped justice for crimes he was certainly guilty of.
  • Evil Redhead: Benedetto had red hair as a child and a red beard as an adult. Bertuccio even comments that redheads are destined to either complete good or complete evil.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Benedetto has strawberry blond hair, and there's a comment in the text to the effect that he looked like an angel; unfortunately, that angel was Lucifer. He's an unrepententant criminal who has committed nearly every crime on the books before the age of 21.
  • Fake Assisted Suicide: After Maximilien's fiancee Valentine is poisoned, Maximilien is heartbroken and only the Count's intervention prevents him from shooting himself by revealing it was he who saved his father from bankruptcy and suicide, extorting from Maximilien a solemn oath that he won't make any more suicide attempts for a month. Having taken him to his private island in the meantime, the Count finds that Maximilien is still willing to die, and gives him a spoonful of haschich, which he claims will kill him painlessly. After Maximilien takes it and wakes up, he bitterly readies to kill himself with a knife... before Valentine makes her presence known to him (the Count had helped her fake her death in order to continue his revenge against her father, he was perfectly willing to let her die before he learned how important she was to Maximilien).
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Count de Morcerf is a respected public figure with a beautiful wife, military commission, vast fortune, and noble title — each of which he earned by screwing someone else over.
  • Fatal Flaw: Greed for Caderousse, explicitly spelled out by the Count. When poor, he was given a diamond by the Count, but murdered the jeweler who'd brought the money to buy it. Then he could have blackmailed Andrea for enough money to live quietly every month, but demanded more. And when Andrea told him about the rich aristocrat that seemed to have taken an interest in him, he goes and tries to burgle the place.
  • Faux Death: Valentine's death by poisoning turns out to be a faux death arranged by the Count so she can escape the poisoner.
  • Fauxreigner: The Count of Monte Cristo, who variously presents himself as English and Italian and hints at even more exotic origins, when actually he was born and raised in France like the other characters.
  • Fiction 500: A scene in the novel shows the Count listing his assets, totaling an estimated value of 120 million francs, an impossibly huge figure by 1838 standards (as a comparison, Napoleon Bonaparte's personal wealth in 1814 was estimated at somewhere in the region of 80 million francs), and this is the near the end of the story, when he has already spent a large portion of his fortune. He is able to effectively "resurrect" a ship confirmed as lost at sea in a matter of weeks, is implied to control one of the most powerful banks in Europe, owns a fleet of ships, and singlehandedly toys with the French financial market specifically to screw a single person.
  • Foreshadowing: Pay attention to what the Count says to people as he's usually talking about something that will happen much later in the novel.
  • Four-Star Badass:
    • Exploited by Fernand, when he comes to challenge the Count to a duel in full general's garb. Subverted, since he himself is far from badass, and Edmond Dantes knows exactly who he is.
    • Played straight with Ali Pasha.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: At the very beginning, Danglars is the ship's accountant, and Fernand a fisherman. Both opportunistically rise in society, until they're both aristocrats, one a banker and the other a general.
  • Fiction 500: The Count's ludicrous wealth earns him a spot on this privileged list — he owns so much money that the same amount not adjusted for inflationnote  would still make you very rich today.
  • Gambit Roulette: One must imagine how long Dantes had to plan out his revenge, but the final plot is unspeakably convoluted. That he is able to make any of it work speaks volumes about his control.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: The novel opens with Edmond Dantes as a young, naive sailor; his transformation into the suave, educated, and urbane Count began with his meeting the Abbe Faria, who educates him and reveals to him the location of a great treasure. Edmond made the most of both.
  • Gratuitous Italian: While in Italy Danglars uses what little he knows of musical and operatic terms to communicate.
  • Great Escape: Dantes escapes by hiding in the bodybag of his late mentor, which is thrown into the sea.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Ali and Haydee, since the Count saved both their lives and treats them exceptionally well. So much that when he offers Haydee her freedom, more than once, she adamantly refuses.
  • Hellhole Prison: The Chateau d'If.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Napoleon Bonaparte and Louis XVIII.
  • Homoerotic Subtext. The lesbian relationship between Eugenie Danglars and Louise d'Armilly is never stated overtly, but it's very strongly implied:
    • It begins subtly, by comparing her beauty to that of Diana—who was virginal, preferring female company to male company. Diana also had at least one follower, Callisto, who was apparently in love with her, since Jupiter seduced her in Diana's form.
    • She is incredibly quick to admire the beauty of other women, while attesting no opinion of the good-looks of any male characters.
    • Then the narrator describes the glances of Eugenie's admirer as being deflected off "Minerva's shield," which "once protected Sappho." Sappho of Lesbos.
    • They are found sitting on the same chair in front of the piano, making duets out of solos by each playing one hand of the song.
    • When they're planning to run away together after Eugenie's engagement ends in disaster, they are extremely affectionate and flirty, calling each other "my sweet", comparing themselves to classical lovers such as Hercules and Queen Omphale (who liked to switch clothes with Hercules for fun), and comparing their flight to a sexual abduction.
    • Finally, in case you still had your head in the sand: In one scene, an unexpected visitor drops into a hotel room they're staying in (two paragraphs after the text makes a point of telling the reader that the room has two beds) and finds them sleeping together in the same bed. Yeah...
  • Hopeless Suitor: Fernand to Mercedes, until he decides to Remove The Rival.
  • Hope Spot: There is a moment where, according to the narrator, Villefort is on the cusp of setting Edmond free, if only someone should burst through the door and confront him. The moment passes.
    • When Edouard is found poisoned, Monte Cristo (who's an expert physician and chemist) takes the body to a room and locks the door. It seems for a moment that he'll be able to save the life, but fifteen minutes later he comes out declaring he failed.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The young Edmond, trusting as friends the same men who will completely ruin his life and get him started on the quest for revenge that will occupy the rest of the story. In fact, he will never realize, by himself, the reason of his downfall: only with the help of old Faria will he be able to finally get a clue.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Albert's ability to accept all sorts of humiliations with relative dignity—from being seduced by a servant-boy (whom he thinks is a woman until he gets a knife pointed at his face), to being forced to call off a duel with the Count, to giving up his wealth and name after he finds out what kind of man his father is—is ultimately his most redeeming quality, and what truly distinguishes him from his father.
    • Danglars gets one too. Having been the instigator of the plot that sent the Count to prison, he is subsequently bankrupted, divorced, abandoned by his daughter, and kidnapped and imprisoned by Luigi Vampa and his bandits when he flees to Italy with the money he embezzled. Danglars is initially left without food, and when he demands to be fed the bandits charge him outrageous prices for his meals. Forced to choose between his money and his life, Danglars is starved out of the millions of francs he still has with him, until only 50,000 remain. It then turns out that the Count had ordered Vampa and his bandits to kidnap Danglars and imprison him, putting Danglars in the very same situation that he placed the Count in. The money the bandits charge Danglars for his meal is returned to the hospitals he embezzled it from, as Danglars learns a horrible lesson in greed. He pleads for mercy and forgiveness, and the Count ultimately grants it to him, letting him go with the last 50,000 francs — the only money he was carrying that he had earned more or less honestly. Oh, and the situation turns his hair white.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Villefort seems to be something of a hanging judge and obsessed with the family honor, but commits several heinous crimes.
    • Danglars calls himself a man of the people, but uses his title when talking to his social inferiors and not when he's sucking up to his superiors.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Both Albert and the Count have such great aim that they can shoot at playing cards with pinpoint precision (Beauchamp's skill is about as the same as Albert). The Count makes an entire deck out of blank cards.
  • Infant Immortality:
    • Benedetto, who was thought dead by his parents.
    • Averted with Edouard, who is poisoned by his mother just before her suicide.
  • Inheritance Murder: Valentine's maternal grandfather dies on the way to Paris, soon followed by her grandmother, making Valentine the heir (her mother died young and her father remarried). Then it turns out someone's been trying to poison her paternal grandfather, though fortunately his Acquired Poison Immunity saves him. Due to the motives, the family doctor starts suspecting Valentine herself until she too is poisoned. It turns out it was her stepmother who wanted her own son to inherit both family's fortunes.
  • Innate Night Vision: After spending more than ten years in a dimly-lit cell, the Count of Monte Cristo sees as well in the dark as in the light.
  • Inn of No Return: Caderousse owns an inn of ill reputation. When he receives a diamond from the Count he immediately runs after a jeweler. The jeweler gives him money for the diamond, but has to spend a night in the inn due to bad weather. Caderousse, influenced by his greedy wife, decides to murder the jeweler, so he would have both the money and diamond. He succeeds, but in the ensuing fight his wife gets murdered and later Caderousse gets caught.
  • In the Blood: Benedetto is a bad guy because of the evil inclinations of his father, Villefort. He is naturally educated and well-spoken, despite receiving little schooling, simply because his father is an aristocrat. Interestingly, his half brother is also an inconsiderate, cruel and rude brat, but his half sister a decent and good-natured young woman. Maybe the evil gene only manifests in males.
  • Invisible Writing: The key to the colossal fortune was found in an old piece of paper used as a bookmark. When Faria tried to use it to light a candle, he noticed words forming on it and quickly extinguished it, but was arrested before he could find it.
  • Kangaroo Court: Dantes has just been framed for treasonous activities and goes before Villefort the Crown Prosecutor (a judge) in his chambers. Villefort is touched by Dantes's integrity and about to let him go, when he sees that a letter which was part of the evidence against Dantes, implicates his own father in treason and would ruin his career. At this point of course, the Kangaroo Court element kicks in as Villefort applies powers actually given to him under the law to have Dantes imprisoned indefinitely without a trial.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Downplayed with Danglars. As the instigator of Dantes' downfall, he was going to starve to death as Dantes' father had, but the Count had a My God, What Have I Done? moment after the Villefort mess and let him off after a few days, reputation and fortune both ruined but alive.
    • Benedetto's fate after his trial is unknown.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Most of the novel is about revenge, but the Count also repays the effort of those who tried to help him. Monsieur Morrel, Edmond Dantes's employer at the time of his arrest, tried to get Dantes released despite the dangerous political risks he was taking. By the time Dantes escapes, Morrel's shipping company is on the verge of bankruptcy and his family honor is ruined. The Count rewards Morrel's efforts to save him by paying off his debts, buying him a new merchant ship, and providing a dowry for his daughter.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: Edmond attacks innocent people — the family members of his enemies — not because they've hurt him in any way, but just to make his true enemies' despair that much more absolute. It's only once one of his closest friends attempts suicide (because he, unbeknownst to Edmond, was in love with one of those innocents) that Edmond realizes how cruel he's become. Fortunately, there's still time to save most of his victims.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Edouard de Villefort is a little shit, but even he didn't deserve to be poisoned by his own mother.
  • Kissing Cousins: Fernand and Mercedes are cousins who get married and have a son.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Madame de Villefort will go to any lengths to ensure that her son inherits a large fortune; which includes poisoning nearly every member of her family, including her step-daughter.
  • Lady Macbeth: Caderousse's wife, La Carconte, pressures him into murdering a jeweller who poses only the slightest threat to them. They succeed in the murder, but La Carconte gets a bullet in the throat.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • After being robbed of his beautiful fiancée and a promising job and spending 14 years in prison, Dantes gets filthy rich and becomes acquainted with an even more beautiful woman.
    • Dantes himself tries to enforce this trope during his time as the Count of Monte Cristo, with mixed success. He rewards Monsieur Morrel, the one person who always believed in Dantes and actually put himself at risk to lobby for Dantes' release from his unjust imprisonment, but then nearly ruins the life of Morrel's son Maximilien by inadvertently using the woman Maximilien loves as a pawn in one of his schemes. He destroys the lives of the men who destroyed his, but with considerable collateral damage, particularly among their innocent children: Edouard de Villefort is murdered, Valentine de Villefort would have suffered the same fate if Maximilien had not interceded for her, and Albert Morcerf would have been killed too if Mercedes had not interceded for him, and at the end he joins the army as a Death Seeker. Mercedes herself is his big failure: all his cleverness is insufficient to provide her with the happiness she deserves.
  • Leonine Contract: Luigi Vampa and his men take Danglars prisoner and deprive him of any food except for what he buys from them at astronomical prices. This was, of course, masterminded by the Count as a means of separating Danglars from his ill-gotten wealth.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The novel begins with a reasonable group of six or so...then fast-forwards twenty years to when each of them has his own distinct family and social circle. There are at least 38 named characters.
  • Made a Slave: Haydée, though she was treated considerably better than most.
  • Mama Bear: Deconstructed. It's Madame de Villefort's commplete devotion to her child what drives her to kill or attempt to kill all of her relations by marriage and, when caught, kill her own son before commiting suicide so they'll be Together in Death.
  • Master of Disguise: The Count. (Although Mercedes recognizes him immediately.)
  • Master Poisoner: Madame de Villefort, aided by advice from Monte Cristo.
  • May–December Romance: The Count and Haydee at the end of the book, which serves as a route to peace and redemption for him.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Danglars. He even uses it as a selling point, as it proves he's a man of the People (while making sure everyone knows he's a baron).
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Abbe Faria spends years tutoring his fellow prisoner Edmond Dantes, and planning an escape from prison. Then, just as their escape plan is coming to fruition, he dies. But not before telling Dantes how to find some long lost treasure.
  • Mercy Kill: In the sidestory about the Italian bandits, one bandit does this to his lover to prevent her being gang raped by the rest of his band.
  • Minored In Asskicking: Edmond Dantès. The greater part of the story involves him infiltrating the French aristocracy multiple times under different guises, and trapping his enemies in various plans. But he's also a hardened ex-con, seasoned buccaneer, and hellbent on revenge.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: To the tune of fourteen years of false imprisonment. (And imprisonment in those days was arguably a Fate Worse Than Death.)
  • Mission from God: The Count believes himself an agent of divine punishment, his new life proving that God has sent him after the people who destroyed his old one. His confidence is shaken when his actions lead to the murder-suicide of Edouard and Héloïse de Villefort.
  • Mock Millionaire: As part of his scheme, the Count gets a disreputable old soldier and Benedetto, a career criminal, to pose as father and son and pretend to be wealthy Italian aristocrats.
  • Mood Whiplash: The young women Eugenie and Louise are planning their escape from the French aristocracy. It's a tense, risk-filled scene...until Eugenie swears, and the two erupt in laughter.
  • Morality Pet: Haydee serves as an outlet for the otherwise cold and distant Count to show genuine affection.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: Danglars. Not only does he make stupid investments with his client's money, but when it catches up to him he runs for it with what's left of it.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: The villainous Benedetto ("blessing") is a subversion of this trope. He is the product of an adulterous affair and left for dead by his parents. He is raised by criminals, and is much worse than his adoptive family. If they manage to impart any values to him, it is an utter hatred of his birth father.
  • Mushroom Samba: There is a scene (bowdlerized in many translations) in which Franz has an erotic dream while high on hashish.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Subverted by Villefort, who has his moment at the very beginning of the book. He initially feels a terrible remorse at sending the innocent Dantes to prison, but later represses it and goes through with the deed. It's implied, however, that the guilt he feels does not go away so easily. In fact, it is implied that Villefort became the hanging judge that he is because of the repressed guilt.
    • Caderousse is horrified at the realization that Danglers has actually carried out the scheme he claimed to only be joking about, and almost blows the whole thing right at the start until Danglers convinces him any apparent connection to the plot would be very bad for him. Later, he becomes just as bad as the others.
    • Played straight by the Count himself, when confronted by Maximilien about Valentine's peril; it is only then that he starts realizing what he has become in the pursuit of vengeance. There's also the moment he realizes a young boy is dead thanks to his machinations.
  • Nested Ownership: Edmond mentions this trope while explaining to Baptistin why he won't allow Baptistin's embezzlement to continue.
    Though a servant, you yourself have servants who take care of your laundry and your belongings. [...]Nowhere will you find a position comparable to the one that good fortune has gotten you here.
  • Nested Story: Signor Pastrini briefly interrupts his story about the bandit lord Luigi Vampa to tell another story about another bandit lord who preceded Vampa.
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: Dantes does this type of reveal to each of his enemies.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The false message that caused Danglars to lose a large chunk of his fortune very likely ruined other investors, but we only hear about Danglars'. Likely not touched upon because all the people losing money on that deal would've been acting following the 19th century equivalent of insider information.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Caderousse has no problem with blackmailing Benedetto, just as Benedetto has no problem anonymously warning the Count about Caderousse's burglary attempt.
  • Nouveau Riche: The villainous Danglars is described as a stereotypical Nouveau Riche, with an appearance as repellent as his personality. In contrast, the Count is himself Wicked Cultured despite having spent most of his life as a humble sailor and prisoner. It seems that the lowborn will only develop shallow tastes in response to riches if they're bad people to begin with.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Albert mentions that when his mother Mercedes has feelings for someone, it's for life.
  • Obviously Evil: Mme Villefort is repeatedly shown to be stalling for time or generally being unhelpful. Baron Danglars is also very much this trope, having absolutely no remorse about sending Dantes to fourteen years of prison for his own ambition, and having no regrets at all losing both his daughter and his wife, then running away, simply to save his money.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Despite being a rabble-rousing populist, General Nortier provides a good example of a gentleman soldier behaving honorably to those of the same class, even if on opposing sides. In the backstory, Franz d'Epinay's father, a Royalist, was caught infiltrating the group of pro-Napoleon soldiers Nortier belonged to and seeing that d'Epinay was a fellow gentleman, Nortier allowed him to duel to the death instead of simply killing him outright.
  • Offing the Offspring: After her crimes are discovered, Madame de Villefort kills herself and, to spite her husband, their son too.
  • Oh, Crap!: The moment Morcerf realises the Count is really Edmond Dantes.
  • The Old Convict: Abbe Faria. He teaches Dantes everything he will need to know for his new life on the outside, tells him where a fortune is hidden, and his death provides Dantes with his means of escape.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: Noirtier is completely paralyzed except for his eyes. He communicates by a system of blinks, including two agreed-upon signals meaning yes and no.
  • Paid-for Family: Dantes creates the Cavalcanti line from whole cloth, providing the ruined major Cavalcanti with a fortune to act as the father of Benedetto, so as to let him move into society and from there, ruin Villefort. Benedetto is Villefort's illegitimate child, who was thought dead by both parents. He also uses him to humiliate Morcerf and Danglars: Danglars, being informed of Cavalcanti's considerable wealth, breaks off Eugenie's engagement to Albert (using the pretext of the Janina scandal). Then Andrea is revealed to be Benedetto at their contract signing, and Eugenie runs away with her girlfriend...
  • Pet the Dog: Just before he becomes the Count, Edmond uses his vast riches to save Mr. Morrel from bankruptcy anonymously, helping the one person who always believed in him.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Dantes includes the innocent children of his enemies in his plan for revenge. Most of them survive, and some of them end up better off, but that's more through luck than from any sentiment on the Count's part.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: There is some in-story discussion of this trope as used by the Borgias. According to one of the men, the chalice contained a secret compartment that released the poison when the cupfiller needed, thus allowing him to serve an entire row of cardinals with only one in the middle one dying.
  • Poison Is Evil: The murder technique of choice of Madame de Villefort, who poisons her husband's relatives one by one so her son will inherit everything. Its use by the Borgias is also mentioned.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of drama could have been avoided had Maximilien told the Count who he was head over heels in love with, since the Count was actively pushing for her murder by proxy at the time to get at her father.
  • Prank Date: Albert is propositioned by a peasant girl at the Carnival in Rome, but it turns out to be a ploy to lure him into the clutches of bandits who hold him for ransom.
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: Danglars' hair turns white prematurely when the Count's vengeance catches up with him.
  • Proper Lady: Valentine and Haydee.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Somehow, languishing in a small cell for years makes Edmond unusually strong. The narrative states that the rough conditions gave him strength.
  • Proto-Superhero: Arguably, although perhaps more of a supervillain than hero at times. Like Batman, he's a brooding loner bent on revenge who is massively wealthy, a Master of Disguise, and has picked up immense physical prowess along the way.
  • Public Execution: A public execution during a Roman festival allows the Count to test Franz's character.
  • Race Lift: There was a real Abbé Faria who was imprisoned in the Chateau d'If, but he was Goan Indian (and culturally Portuguese), where Dumas's version is Italian. The major commonality between the real guy and the fictional character is that both were well-read priests and both were imprisoned in the Chateau d'If, but other than that, the fictional Faria is quite different than the real one.
  • Rage Against the Legal System: Edmond's revenge includes the corrupt judge who had him incarcerated indefinitely despite knowing he was innocent.
  • Rags to Riches: Dantes goes from humble sailor and convict to one of the richest men in the world, thanks to him finding the treasure of Spada. Fernand and Danglars respectively start out as a fisherman and a clerk and become two of the richest and most prominent men in France.
  • Red Herring: d'Avrigny believes that Valentine is the poisoner. It's actually Madame de Villefort...Valentine's stepmother.
  • Relative Error: Mercedes is mistaken for her son's mistress. The fact that Albert just can't shut up about how perfect his mother is really doesn't help matters. The Count probably made that mistake on purpose — he didn't want to reveal to Albert that he knew Mercedes. Debray doesn't have the same excuse.
  • Remove The Rival: What Mondego did to Dantes and kick start the plot.
  • Revenge: Forms the motivation and the plot for this novel once Dantes gets out of prison.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Dantès finds himself free, talented, and ridiculously wealthy. It reaches the point where he's able to offer bribes to the pope, bankrupt a major French bank, construct multiple elaborate secret identities, buy up half of the French property market, and care for a beautiful foreign princess. He could sail off into the sunset, attempt to live out a long and happy life... But by this point he is a broken man obsessed with vengeance. He eventually snaps out of it, but only when he sees the consequences of his actions.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Monte-Cristo is perfectly willing to encompass the deaths of Albert and Valentine to get his revenge on their fathers, in each case only relenting when he realizes their deaths will also harm people he cares about (Albert's mother Mercedes and Valentine's secret fiance Maximilien). He does at least draw the line at harming Villefort's infant son, and Edouard's death is a key moment leading to the Count realizing that he's not the omniscient Big Good he thought he was.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: A romantic example. Madame Danglars is known to have an extramarital relationship (in a string of many) with Debray. In the end, when her own husband skips town leaving her disgraced but free, she seems to expect Debray to take her, but he simply gives her the corresponding part of the profits made with her money and advises her to leave Paris, where her reputation is tarnished. This throws her into despair.
  • Sacred Hospitality:
    • The Count, during the period when he's traveling and preparing his revenge, spends time in lands where this principle is upheld and absorbs it himself. One consequence is that he is noticeably unwilling to dine at Albert's home. While he gives other excuses, the explanation is that he feels it wouldn't be right to revenge himself on them if he shared their food. It's how Mercedes gets her first hint that the Count doesn't have her husband's best interests at heart, since he refuses food she herself gives him.
    • Caderousse's Moral Event Horizon is murdering and robbing a wealthy stranger staying the night (at Caderousse's own insistence) in his house. Compounding the crime's seriousness is the fact that said stranger had actually travelled there to trade with him — Caderousse is simply driven by Greed.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Edmond Dantes, Determinator or not, wouldn't have gotten far into his elaborate schemes for revenge without his eleventy billion francs.
  • Secret Identity: Dantes uses the titular Count persona to mask his true identity. He has other identities as well, such as a British nobleman, Lord Wilmore, and an Italian abbot, Abbe Busoni. He even builds a network of relationships between his alter egos, which he uses to throw off suspicions: Wilmore and Monte Cristo are supposed to be bitter enemies, while Busoni is a friend of both and is greatly perplexed by their rivalry. Then there is Sindbad The Sailor, and presumably many others.
  • Secret Identity Identity: Edmond Dantes was so changed by prison that as the Count, he doesn't look at all like the idealistic Nice Guy he used to be and has some That Man Is Dead toward his earlier self. Also odd is that Dantes creates other personas: Busoni, an intellectual and pious Italian priest who seems to be modeled after Faria who tutored him in prison, and Lord Wilmore, an eccentric British philanthropist who is an enemy of the Count. Thus, Dantes essentially divided the different parts of his personality into different identities, and his main identity as the Count represents his darker side. He ultimately ends up showing some kindness and mercy (after one of his revenges went too far), and at the end of the novel signs a friendly letter as "Edmond Dantes, Count of Monte Cristo", thus reconciling the identities.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • After getting caught up on what's been going on with his enemies while he was in prison (see Mr. Exposition above), the Count rewards Caderousse by giving him a valuable diamond. Caderousse can either use the diamond to rebuild his life and become an honest man, or fall victim to greed and let the diamond ultimately destroy him. He fails. Hard. The Count even gives him a second chance, but he blows that too. When he's caught in the Count's mansion, Caderousse asks for yet another chance, but this time the Count leaves him to his fate, getting himself literally stabbed in the back by Bennedetto.
    • The Count gives one to Maximilien at the end to confirm that he is truly deserving of happiness by his standards. Max passes with flying colors by agreeing to kill himself with a drug given to him by the Count, even when offered large sums of money if he chooses to live, thus proving that he has tasted true despair.
  • Separated by the Wall: Maximilien and Valentine, in a Shout-Out to Pyramus and Thisbe.
  • Seriously Scruffy: Combined with Mess of Woe when Villefort works several days nonstop to keep his mind off the death of his in-laws and his daughter, looking dishevelled and unshaven (though he shapes up in time for the trial).
  • Sex Slave: This is the Count's cover story for Haydee's presence. It also helps him to justify why a man of his standing isn't courting women.
  • Shed the Family Name:
    • Villefort, a Royalist, changed his name to disassociate himself from his Bonapartist father, Noirtier.
    • Albert de Morcerf does this after he finds out what a bastard his father was and his mother even suggests to him that he take her maiden name instead.
  • Shipper on Deck: When the Count is writing up his will before the duel, he hopes that Morrel will marry Haydée, before learning Morrel already has his sights on someone (had he known that someone was Valentine, the rest of the book would have been very different indeed).
  • Shout-Out: "That's a mountain, not a name" has a similar counterpart in The Three Musketeers (Monte-Cristo is an island in the Mediterranean, Athos is a mountain in Greece).
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The Count plans to kill Albert as part of his revenge on Fernand, and has no plans to stop Mme de Villefort from poisoning Valentine until he learns Morrel loves her.
  • Sliding Scale of Beauty: Several female characters are said to be beautiful. Haydee is the most beautiful in the story, her and her mother Vasiliki are somewhere between World Class and Divine Level. Closely following are Mercedes and Valentine as Common Beauties. Eugenie is considered an Uncanny Valley Girl because of her masculine behavior.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Napoleon Bonaparte. He never actually appears in the novel (Edmond meets him in Elba off screen) but he nevertheless has a big impact on the story. Many characters are defined by their attitude to him. The novel begins shortly before Bonaparte's brief return to power in 1815, when the restored royalist regime is still shaky, and being denounced as a pro-Bonaparte conspirator is enough to get Edmond arrested. When Villefort realises that his own father (a Bonaparte loyalist) was the intended recipient of the letter given to Edmond, he condemns Edmond to the Chateau d'If, fearing that any connection between him and a pro-Bonaparte conspiracy would ruin his chances of social and political advancement.
  • Smiting Evil Feels Good: The Count feels satisfied by doing "God's will", as he puts it, and genuinely remorseful when he wrongfully judges (i.e, punishes) an innocent person. In one case, the absence of this satisfaction leads him to realize what he already knew subconsciously: that Edouard did not deserve to be murdered.
  • Soft Water: Discussed. During his prison escape, Dantes hides in a bodybag that is thrown into the sea from a high cliff. He is briefly "stunned", but more by the surprise of the cold water than the impact, and suffers no injury. This is because a cannon ball is sewn into the bottom of the bodybag, ensuring he hits the water feet-first. This is a lot more survivable than if he landed flat.
  • Sounding It Out: When Noirtier forces Franz Depinay to read aloud the true account of his father's death, previously believed to be a suicide.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • The Count almost runs into one when he wants to bribe a semaphore operator to send false information. The semaphore operator is honest and unambitious, and it seems at first that there's no bribe he'll be interested in.
    • Later, his plan to deal with the Villeforts is seriously compromised by the fact that Morrel is in love with Valentine, Villefort's daughter.
  • Spell My Name with a Blank: Countess G_____. A subversion, as she's based off of Lord Byron's mistress: Teresa, Countess Guiccioli.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Maximilien Morrel and Valentine de Villefort, at first.
  • Stealing from the Till: The Count notes that his head servant has a salary of 1500 francs per year, and is making as much again by taking a cut out of the household expenditures that he is in control of.
  • Strawman Political: All of the good characters are or were supporters of Napoleon, and nearly all of the bad ones are royalists. Dumas' father was a famous soldier in Napoleon's army.
  • Surprise Incest: Narrowly avoided: Eugenie and Andrea/Benedetto are half siblings, sharing the same mother, and they very nearly get married. This is never metioned, though and since he is unaware of that side of his heritage and she skips town before knowing his true identity, it's unlikely they'll ever find out.
  • Sword Cane: Noirtier carried one before he was paralyzed and was skilled enough with it to defeat a seasoned military officer armed with a full-sized rapier.
  • Taking the Veil: Mercedes opts for this in the end.
  • Tally Marks on the Prison Wall: Edmond tracks how long he's been imprisoned with a series of tallies.
  • That Man Is Dead: When Mercedes addresses the Count as "Edmond", he tells her that he no longer knows anyone with that name.
  • Those Two Guys: Morrel, Albert, Franz, Debray, Beauchamp and Chateau-Renaud all end up in this role at one time or another with one of the others, with the last one having the least characterization or bearing on the plot.
  • Time Skip: The period of several years between Dantes' escape from prison and his introduction into French society. We know from later narration that many things happened in it; Dantes Took a Level in Badass both physically and intellectually, he travelled to the East (and bought Haydee), gave an emerald to the Pope, saved Ali from execution, and generally became the Renaissance Man we see after the Time Skip. Yet these events, while important, would only slow down the plot if they were shown- so we get this trope.
    • To a lesser degree, sometimes important events take place that happen weeks apart in two chapters.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Edmond Dantes becomes The Count of Monte Cristo and spends several years preparing to get revenge on his enemies. At one point, the narration asserts that Dantes' time spent languishing in a tiny cell has given him unusual strength.
  • Translation Convention: At different times, characters may be speaking French, Italian, Greek, and so on. Occasionally the narrator informs the reader that one of the characters can't understand what another character is saying.
  • Tsundere: Eugénie Danglars is cold, aloof, and unfriendly to her family, her friends, her acquaintances, and her fiancé(s) and even telling her father that she loves no one and nothing except her studies of music and art. Yet the second she's alone with her vocal coach/friend/lover Louise d'Armilly, she's warm, playful, and affectionate, even calling Louise things like "my sweet" and gently teasing her for being unable to close an over-packed suitcase.
  • Tuckerization: Dumas did this in a fairly transparent way, including his concierge in Italy as a character and including a scene where a character is praised for his collection of paintings by current artists. All of the artists mentioned were friends or acquaintances of Dumas and none are known today except for Delacroix.
  • Undisclosed Funds: The amount of money Dantes finds at Monte Cristo is never stated. After many years of purchases and investments, the Count says he has about one hundred million francs at the end of the book.note 
  • Undying Loyalty: Jacopo, Haydee and Ali to the Count.
  • Unfriendly Fire: One of the characters tells a story about a bandit lord named Cucumetto who shot a treacherous underling in the back during a skirmish with some soldiers.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Villefort realizes that he and his wife are even better suited for each other than he thought, considering their horrible crimes. "The union of the tiger and the serpent", as he calls it.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Beppo, the bait that lured Albert into Vampa's trap.
  • Uriah Gambit: The bandit lord Cucumetto pulls one in Signor Pastrini's Nested Story, shooting a treacherous underling in the back during a skirmish with some soldiers.
    • Benedetto hooks Caderousse into thinking the Count keeps large amounts of money in his house, then sends a letter to warn the Count of the break-in.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: According to Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo is loosely based on the story of Pierre Picaud.
  • Vicariously Ambitious: The motivation of the poisoner in the Inheritance Murder subplot. It's Héloïse de Villefort, Valentine's step-mother, who is not in the line of inheritance herself; she's attempting to ensure that the family's wealth will be inherited by her own son instead of her step-daughter.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Villefort, who has a complete breakdown and goes insane at the end.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: All of the Count's enemies have risen to high status in Parisian society and are well-respected with good reputations among their peers.
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: The count mostly uses his vast fortune to further his plans and reward those he holds dear to him, but occasionally uses it to help those in need.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Count himself is an anti-heroic example, and realizes it by the end of the book. Having escaped prison after many years of undeserved confinement, he devotes himself obsessively to taking revenge on those enemies who framed him and ruined his life. For most of the book, Edmond is able to ignore the fact that the grand machinations of his vengeance are heaping danger and grief on numerous innocent bystanders as well as the guilty.
  • Wham Line:
    • "The sea is the cemetery of the Chateau d'If".
    • "Edmond, you will not kill my son!" hits Edmond particularly hard, seeing as it's the first time anyone's seen through his disguise.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Major Cavalcanti, Benedetto's fake father chosen by the Count, essentially disappears after Danglars takes a liking to Benedetto (to general satisfaction, as his rich aristocrat demeanor doesn't hold up very long in the presence of actual rich aristocrats). Also the fate of Benedetto himself, who had committed many crimes and whose court sentence is never revealed after he exposes Villefort as his father. Franz also mostly disappears from the story after his ruined engagement, only briefly appearing at the cut-off duel between the Count and Albert.
  • What Year Is This?: It's easy to lose track of time over fourteen years of imprisonment.
  • Wicked Cultured:
    • The bandit leader, Luigi Vampa, is a polite, nice guy who reads Caesar's Commentaries for fun. He's also a strong believer in punctuality, and if a ransom is not paid on time, he will calmly stab the kidnappee to death or shoot them in the head.
    • Benedetto, a young career criminal who has no trouble posing as a cultured aristocrat.
    • The Count himself has impeccable taste and if not an outright villain, is a ruthless Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Madame Heloise de Villefort is the young wife of middle-aged prosecutor Villefort, with a spoiled eight-year-old son. She despises Valentine, Villefort's daughter by his previous marriage, because all of the property of her grandparents will revert to her rather than her step-brother. She eventually goes on a killing spree, poisoning Valentine's maternal grandparents and attempting to poison her husband's paralytic father (his servant is killed instead). To escape justice, she poisons herself, and just to spite her husband, kills her son as well.
  • Wife Husbandry: Conveniently ignored by adaptations. Not a straight example, anyway, since the Count isn't even interested in Haydee for most of the story; he just assumed that he was never going to fall in love again, so she has to make all the moves.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Most likely, Dantes's different personas are this kind of disguise (the Lord Wilmore disguise involves false British Teeth).
  • World of Badass
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The unnamed countess who, seeing the Count's strange demeanor and unnatural pallor, believes him to be a vampire. This is justified, however, because of the whole scene being a Tuckerisation: the countess in question is based on Lord Byron's mistress at the time, and Byron himself was one of the main originators of the vampire genre.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Dantes has to rewrite a rather major part of his plans when he learns that Maximilien is truly and deeply in love with Valentine. Before that, her death was just another step towards Villefort's planned Despair Event Horizon, forcing him to give her a substance that fakes death long enough that he can get her sent to safety. This, combined with the unintentional death of Edouard, makes him realize he's not as omnisciently good as he thinks he is, and he resolves to let Danglars live instead.
  • The X of Y
  • You Are Number 6: While Edmond Dantès is imprisoned in the Château d'If, a new governor is put in charge. He doesn't want to bother learning the names of the prisoners, so he refers to them by the numbers of their cells. Abbe Faria is prisoner number 27; Dantes is number 34.
  • You Killed My Father: Haydee's father was betrayed by Fernand, which as good as left him with a death sentence.
  • Young Conqueror: Luigi Vampa, a celebrated bandit, is analogized to one of these, because he's achieved power and celebrity and is not yet 30. Vampa may be aware of the comparison, since he likes to read Julius Caesar for fun.
  • Young Love Versus Old Hate: The once young and benevolent protagonist has turned to a bitter and vengeful old man, threatening to destroy not only the old men who once wronged him, but also the next generation of people who are just as untainted as he himself once was.

Adaptations with their own trope pages include:

Other adaptations provide examples of:

  • The Ace: The Count was this in the 1973 animated series, as he was able to do things like: flying a balloon, paint art forgeries in a week to unmask a real forger, fool a villain into thinking he was a giant, stop the Tower of Pisa from being blown up, etc.
  • Actionized Adaptation: The original book has very few action scenes, with two duels interrupted before they can begin via apology or a Breaking Speech. Most film adaptations add some sword fights anyway.
  • Ascended Extra: Jacopo, who obeys the Count's instructions without question in the book, becomes The Rick in some adaptations like the 1973 animated series.
  • Compressed Adaptation: One of the four conspirators are typically removed from adaptations, though the 1975 Richard Chamberlain version manages to squeeze in all of them.
  • Death by Adaptation: Danglars, frequently. In the 1975 TV version, for instance, he gets Fernand's death so that Fernand can go out in a fight scene with Edmond. Gankutsuou is perhaps the heaviest offender in this regard, giving Danglars A Fate Worse Than Death, and ultimately even killing the Count himself.
  • Gender Flip:
    • The Korean soap opera Cruel Temptation features a female protagonist, who survives her own murder by her husband and his dominative mistress.
    • The ABC thriller series Revenge has a female protagonist in Amanda/Emily.
    • The Brazilian telenovela Avenida Brasil, whose protagonist Rita/Nina returns to have revenge on her Wicked Stepmother Carmen/Carminha.
    • In the Musical, Vampa is female . . . and a pirate queen.
  • Genre Shift: The book is an historical epic and psychological revenge thriller, but adaptations tend to go the route of an action-heavy Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Lighter and Softer: The 1973 series, which makes the Count into The Ace and his group into a Robin Hood-like group. Sorta justified, as it's geared towards a younger audience than usual.
  • Majority-Share Dictator: In the French miniseries Le comte de Monte Cristo, the count buys fifty one percent of Danglars's bank's shares so he can issue himself infinite letters of credit.
  • Setting Update:
    • The Korean soap opera Cruel Temptation is set in present day.
    • The ABC thriller series Revenge is set in present day.
    • The Brazilian telenovela Avenida Brasil, whose protagonist Rita/Nina returns to have revenge on her Wicked Stepmother Carmen/Carminha after she dumped her off in a landfill so she wouldn't get in her way.
    • The Argentinian Soap Opera Montecristo also gives the book a Setting Update, with the lawyer Santiago going through similar ordeals to Dantes, becoming Alejandro Dumas as a result.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheCountofMonteCristo