The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas. It is often considered to be, along with The Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, first serialized in March–July 1844. Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the Musketeers of the Guard...

, Dumas's most popular work. He completed the work in 1844. Like many of his novels, it is expanded from the plot outlines suggested by his collaborating ghostwriter
A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written...

 Auguste Maquet
Auguste Maquet
Auguste Maquet was a French author, best known as the chief collaborator of French novelist Alexandre Dumas, père, co-writing such works as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers....


The story takes place in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, islands in the Mediterranean and the Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 during the historical events of 1815–1838 (from just before the Hundred Days
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

 through to the reign of Louis-Philippe of France
Louis-Philippe of France
Louis Philippe I was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 in what was known as the July Monarchy. His father was a duke who supported the French Revolution but was nevertheless guillotined. Louis Philippe fled France as a young man and spent 21 years in exile, including considerable time in the...

). The historical setting is a fundamental element of the book. An adventure story primarily concerned with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy and forgiveness, it tells of a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes from jail, acquires a fortune and sets about getting revenge on the men who destroyed his life. However, his plans also have devastating consequences for the innocent as well as the guilty.

The book is considered a literary classic today. According to Luc Sante
Luc Sante
-Early life:Born in Verviers, Belgium, Sante emigrated to the United States in the early 1960s. He attended school in New York City, first at Regis High School in Manhattan and then at Columbia University.-Writing:...

, "The Count of Monte Cristo has become a fixture of Western civilization's literature, as inescapable and immediately identifiable as Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio. Mickey is an anthropomorphic black mouse and typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves...

, Noah's flood, and the story of Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap, is a French fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings....


Reception and legacy

The original work was published in serial form in the Journal des Débats in 1844. Luc Sante describes the effect in Europe at the time as follows:
The effect of the serials, which held vast audiences enthralled ... is unlike any experience of reading we are likely to have known ourselves, maybe something like that of a particularly gripping television series. Day after day, at breakfast or at work or on the street, people talked of little else.

George Saintsbury
George Saintsbury
George Edward Bateman Saintsbury , was an English writer, literary historian, scholar and critic.-Biography:...

 stated that "Monte Cristo is said to have been at its first appearance, and for some time subsequently, the most popular book in Europe. Perhaps no novel within a given number of years had so many readers and penetrated into so many different countries." This popularity has extended into modern times as well. The book was "translated into virtually all modern languages and has never been out of print in most of them. There have been at least twenty-nine motion pictures based on it ... as well as several television series, and many movies [have] worked the name 'Monte Cristo' into their titles." The title Monte Cristo lives on in a "famous gold mine, a line of luxury Cuban cigars, a sandwich, and any number of bars and casinos—it even lurks in the name of the street-corner hustle three-card monte."

Background to the plot

Dumas has himself indicated that he had the idea for the revenge in The Count of Monte Cristo from a story which he had found in a book compiled by Jacques Peuchet, a French police archivist, published in 1838 after the death of the author. Dumas included this essay in one of the editions from 1846. Peuchet related the tale of a shoemaker named Pierre Picaud
Pierre Picaud
Pierre Picaud was a 19th century shoemaker in Nîmes who may have been the basis for the character of Edmond Dantès in Alexandre Dumas, père's novel, The Count of Monte Cristo...

, who was living in Nîmes in 1807. Picaud had been engaged to marry a rich woman, but three jealous friends falsely accused him of being a spy for England. Picaud was moved to a form of house arrest where he was placed in the castle Fenestrelle where he served as a servant to a rich Italian cleric. When the man died, he left his fortune to Picaud whom he had begun to treat as a son. Picaud then spent years plotting his revenge on the three men who were responsible for his misfortune. He stabbed the first with a dagger on which was printed the words, "Number One", and poisoned the second. The third man's son he lured into crime and his daughter into prostitution, finally stabbing the man himself. This third man, named Loupian, had married Picaud's fiancée while he was under arrest.

In another of the "True Stories" Peuchet relates the tale of a terrible affair of poisoning in a family. This story, also quoted in the Pleiade edition, has obviously served as model for the chapter of the murders inside the Villefort family. The introduction to the Pleiade edition mentions other sources from real life: the Abbé Faria
Abbé Faria
Abbé Faria , or Abbé José Custódio de Faria, , was a colourful Goan Catholic monk who was one of the pioneers of the scientific study of hypnotism, following on from the work of Franz Anton Mesmer...

 existed and died in 1819 after a life with much resemblance to that of the Faria in the novel. As for Dantès, his fate is quite different from his model in Peuchet's manuscript, since the latter is murdered by the "Caderousse" of the plot. But Dantès has "alter egos" in two other works of Dumas: First in "Pauline" from 1838, then, more significantly, in "Georges" from 1843 where a young man with black ancestry is preparing a revenge against white people who had humiliated him.

Historical background

The success of Monte Cristo coincides with France's Second Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

. In the book, Dumas tells of the return of Napoleon I in 1815 and alludes at least once to the contemporary events when the governor at the Château d'If is promoted to a position at the castle of Ham.On p. 140 of the Pléiade edition the governor at the Château d'If is promoted to a position at the castle of Ham
Ham, Somme
Ham is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Geography:Ham is situated on the D930 and D937 crossroads, some southwest of Saint-Quentin, in the far southeast of the department, near the border with the department of the Aisne....

, which is the castle where Louis Napoleon was imprisoned 1840-46.
The attitude of Dumas towards "bonapartisme" was conflicted. His father, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas
Thomas-Alexandre Dumas
Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, was a hero of the French Revolution and General in Napoleon's army. He is better known as Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, General of the French Revolution and the father of author Alexandre Dumas, père, and grandfather of author Alexandre Dumas, fils...

,Thomas Alexandre Dumas was also known as Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie. a Haitian of mixed descent, became a successful general during the French Revolution. When new racially discriminating laws were applied in 1802, the general was dismissed from the army and became profoundly bitter towards Napoleon. In 1840, the ashes of Napoleon I
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 were brought to France and became an object of veneration in the church of Les Invalides
Les Invalides
Les Invalides , officially known as L'Hôtel national des Invalides , is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's...

, renewing popular patriotic support for the Bonaparte family.

In "Causeries" (1860), Dumas published a short paper, "État civil du Comte de Monte-Cristo", on the genesis of Monte-Cristo."État civil du Comte de Monte-Cristo" is included in the Pléiade edition (Paris, 1981) as an "annexe". It appears that Dumas had close and intimate contacts with members of the Bonaparte family while living in Florence in 1841. In a small boat he sailed around the island of Monte-Cristo accompanied by one of the young princes, a cousin to Louis Bonaparte, who was to become emperor of France ten years later. During this trip he promised the prince that he would write a novel with the island's name as title. At this moment the future emperor was imprisoned at the citadel of Ham – a name that is mentioned in the novel. Dumas did visit him there, although he does not mention it in "Etat civil". From 1840, Louis Napoleon was imprisoned for life, but fled in disguise in 1846, while Dumas's novel was a great success. Just in the manner of Dantès, Louis Napoleon reappeared in Paris as a powerful and enigmatic man of the world. In 1848, however, Dumas did not vote for Louis Napoleon. The novel may have contributed, against the will of the writer, to the victory of the future Napoleon III.

A chronology of The Count of Monte Cristo and Bonapartism

Dumas grandfather:
  • 1793: Thomas-Alexandre Dumas
    Thomas-Alexandre Dumas
    Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, was a hero of the French Revolution and General in Napoleon's army. He is better known as Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, General of the French Revolution and the father of author Alexandre Dumas, père, and grandfather of author Alexandre Dumas, fils...

     is promoted to the rank of general in the army of the First French Republic.
  • 1794: He disapproves of the revolutionary terror in Western France.
  • 1795-97: He becomes famous and fights under Napoleon.
  • 1802: Black officers are dismissed from the army. The Empire re-establishes slavery.
  • 1802: Birth of his son, Alexandre Dumas père.
  • 1806: Thomas-Alexandre Dumas dies, still bitter about the injustice of the Empire.

Dumas father:
  • 1832: The only son of Napoleon I dies.
  • 1836: Alexandre Dumas is already a famous writer.
  • 1836: First putsch by Louis Napoleon, aged 28, fails.
  • 1840: A law is passed to bring the ashes of Napoleon I to France.
  • 1840: Second putsch of Louis Napoleon. He is imprisoned for life and becomes known as the candidate for the imperial succession.
  • 1841: Dumas lives in Florence and becomes acquainted with King Jérôme and his son, Napoléon.
  • 1841-44: The novel is conceived and written.
  • 1846: The novel is a European bestseller.
  • 1846: Louis Napoleon escapes from his prison.
  • 1848: French Second Republic
    French Second Republic
    The French Second Republic was the republican government of France between the 1848 Revolution and the coup by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte which initiated the Second Empire. It officially adopted the motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité...

    . Louis Napoleon is elected its first president but Dumas does not vote for him.
  • 1857: Dumas publishes État civil du Comte de Monte-Cristo

Edmond Dantès

In 1815 Edmond Dantès
Edmond Dantès
Edmond Dantès is the protagonist and title character of Alexandre Dumas, père's novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.Dumas may have gotten the idea for the character of Edmond from a story which he found in a book compiled by Jacques Peuchet, archivist to the French police. Peuchet related the tale of...

, the young and successful merchant sailor recently granted his own command by his dying captain Leclère, returns to Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

 to marry his fiancée Mercédès. Leclère, a supporter of the exiled Napoléon I
Napoleon I
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, has charged Dantès to deliver two objects: a package to Maréchal Bertrand (exiled with Napoleon Bonaparte on Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

), and a letter from Elba to an unknown man in Paris. On the eve of his wedding to Mercédès, Fernand (Mercédès' cousin and a rival for her affections) and Danglars (who is jealous of Dantes' rapid rise to captain) send an anonymous note accusing Dantès of being a Bonapartist
Bonapartism is often defined as a political expression in the vocabulary of Marxism and Leninism, deriving from the career of Napoleon Bonaparte. Karl Marx was a student of Jacobinism and the French Revolution as well as a contemporary critic of the Second Republic and Second Empire...

 traitor. Villefort, the deputy crown prosecutor in Marseille, normally a just man, destroys the letter from Elba because it is addressed to his father who is a Bonapartist and he fears that it will harm his career. In order to silence Dantès, he condemns him without trial to life imprisonment.

During his fourteen years imprisonment in the Château d'If
Château d'If
The Château d'If is a fortress located on the island of If, the smallest island in the Frioul Archipelago situated in the Mediterranean Sea about a mile offshore in the Bay of Marseille in southeastern France...

, Dantes befriends the Abbé Faria ("The Mad Priest"), a fellow prisoner trying to tunnel his way to freedom, who claims knowledge of a massive treasure and continually offers to reward the guards well if they release him. Faria gives Dantès an extensive education. He also explains to Dantès how Danglars, Fernand, and Villefort would each have had their own reasons for wanting Dantès in prison, out of circulation. After years of friendship, and knowing himself to be close to death, Faria tells Dantès the location of the treasure, on Monte Cristo
Montecristo is a small Italian islet, approximately 4.3 kilometers across at its widest point, located about halfway between Corsica and mainland Italy; south of Elba and west of Giglio. It is part of the Tuscan Archipelago...

. When Faria dies, Dantès uses his burial sack to stage an escape to a nearby island, and is rescued by a smuggling ship. After several months of working with the smugglers, he goes to Monte Cristo. Dantès fakes an injury and convinces the smugglers to temporarily leave him on Monte Cristo, then makes his way to the hiding place of the treasure. After recovering the treasure, he returns to Marseille, where he learns that his father has died in poverty. He buys a yacht, hides the rest of the treasure on board and buys both the island of Monte Cristo and the title of Count from the Tuscan Government.

Returning to Marseille, Dantès plans his revenge but first helps several people who were kind to him before his imprisonment. Traveling as the Abbé Busoni, he meets Caderousse, now living in poverty, whose intervention might have saved Dantès from prison. Dantès learns that his other enemies have all become wealthy since Dantès was betrayed. He gives Caderousse a diamond that can be either a chance to redeem himself, or a trap that will lead to his ruin. Caderousse murders the jeweler to whom he sells the diamond; Caderousse is sentenced to life in the prison galleys. Dantès, using the disguise of English Lord Wilmore, frees Caderousse and gives him another chance at redemption. Caderousse does not take it, and becomes a career criminal. Learning that his old employer Morrel is on the verge of bankruptcy, Dantès, in the guise of a senior clerk, buys all of Morrel's outstanding debts and gives Morrel an extension of three months to fulfill his obligations. At the end of the three months and with no way to repay his debts, Morrel is about to commit suicide when he learns that all of his debts have been mysteriously paid and that one of his ships has returned with a full cargo, secretly rebuilt and laden by Dantès.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Disguised as the rich Count of Monte Cristo, Dantès takes revenge on the three men responsible for his unjust imprisonment: Fernand, now Count De Morcerf and Mercédès's husband; Danglars, now a wealthy banker; and Villefort, now living in Paris. The Count surfaces first in Rome, where he becomes acquainted with the Baron Franz d'Épinay, and Viscount Albert de Morcerf, Mercédès's and Fernand's son. Dantès moves to Paris, and with Albert de Morcerf's introduction, becomes the sensation of the city. Due to his knowledge and rhetorical power, even his enemies, who do not recognize him, find him charming, and because of his status they all desire his friendship. The Count dazzles the crass Danglars with his seemingly endless wealth, eventually persuading him to extend him a 6,000,000 francs credit, and withdraws 900,000. Under the terms of the arrangement, the Count can demand access to the remainder at any time. The Count manipulates the bond market, through a false telegraph signal, and quickly destroys a large portion of Danglars' fortune. The rest of it begins to rapidly disappear through mysterious bankruptcies, suspensions of payment, and more bad luck on the Stock Exchange.

Villefort had in the past had an affair with Madame Danglars. She became pregnant and delivered the child in the house in which he was living at that time. After suffocating the infant, Villefort had tried to secretly bury it in a box on the grounds of the house but while doing so, he was stabbed by Bertuccio, his sworn enemy, who rescued the infant and brought him back to life. Bertuccio's sister-in-law brought the child up, giving him the name "Benedetto". The Count learns of this story from Bertuccio, who later becomes his servant. He purchases the very same house and hosts a dinner party there, to which he invites, among others, Villefort and Madame Danglars. During the dinner, the Count announces that, while doing landscaping, he had unearthed a box containing the remains of an infant and had referred the matter to the authorities to investigate. This puzzles Villefort, who knew that the infant's box had been removed and so the Count's story could not be true, and also alarms him that perhaps he knows the secret of his past affair with Madame Danglars and may be taunting him.

Meanwhile, Benedetto grows up and becomes a criminal and is sentenced to the galleys with Caderousse. After being freed by "Lord Wilmore", Benedetto is sponsored by the Count to take the identity of "Viscount Andrea Cavalcanti" and is introduced by him into Parisian society at the same dinner party, with neither Villefort nor Madame Danglars suspecting that Andrea is their presumed dead son. Andrea then ingratiates himself to Danglars who betroths his daughter Eugénie to him after cancelling her engagement to Albert, son of Fernand. Caderousse blackmails Andrea, threatening to reveal his past. Cornered by "Abbé Busoni" while attempting to rob The Count's house, Caderousse begs to be given another chance, but Dantès grimly notes that the last two times he did so, Caderousse did not change. He forces Caderousse to write a letter to Danglars exposing Viscount Cavalcanti as an impostor and allows Caderousse to leave the house, but the moment Caderousse leaves the estate, he is stabbed in the back by Andrea. Caderousse manages to dictate and sign a deathbed statement identifying his killer, and the Count reveals his true identity to Caderousse moments before Caderousse dies.

Years before, Ali Pasha
Ali Pasha
Ali Pasha of Tepelena or of Yannina, surnamed Aslan, "the Lion", or the "Lion of Yannina", Ali Pashë Tepelena was an Ottoman Albanian ruler of the western part of Rumelia, the Ottoman Empire's European territory which was also called Pashalik of Yanina. His court was in Ioannina...

, the ruler of Yanina, had been betrayed to the Turks by Fernand. After Ali's death, his wife Vasiliki and his daughter Haydée were sold into slavery. Haydée was found and bought by Dantès and becomes the Count's ward. The Count manipulates Danglars into researching the event, which is published in a newspaper. As a result, Fernand is brought to trial for his crimes. Haydée testifies against him, and Fernand is disgraced. Mercédès, still beautiful, alone recognizes the Count as Dantès. When Albert blames the Count for his father's downfall and publicly challenges him to a duel, Mercédès goes secretly to the Count and begs him to spare her son. During this interview, she learns the entire truth of his arrest and imprisonment. She later reveals the truth to Albert, which causes Albert to make a public apology to the Count. Albert and Mercédès disown Fernand, who is confronted with Dantès' true identity and commits suicide. The mother and son depart to build a new life free of disgrace. Albert enlists as a soldier and goes to Africa in order to rebuild his life and honour under a new name, and Mercédès begins a solitary life in Marseille.

Villefort's daughter by his first wife, Valentine, stands to inherit the fortune of her grandfather (Noirtier) and of her mother's parents (the Saint-Mérans), while his second wife, Héloïse, seeks the fortune for her son Édouard. The Count is aware of Héloïse's intentions, and "innocently" introduces her to the technique of poison. Héloïse fatally poisons the Saint-Mérans, so that Valentine inherits their fortune. Valentine is disinherited by Noirtier in an attempt to prevent Valentine's impending marriage with Franz d'Épinay. The marriage is cancelled when d'Épinay learns that his father (believed assassinated by Bonapartists) was killed by Noirtier in a duel. Afterwards, Valentine is reinstated in Noirtier's will. After a failed attempt on Noirtier's life, which instead claims the life of Noirtier's servant Barrois, Héloïse then targets Valentine so that Édouard will finally get the fortune. However, Valentine is the prime suspect in her father's eyes in the deaths of the Saint-Merans and Barrois. On learning that Morrel's son Maximilien is in love with Valentine, the Count saves her by making it appear as though Héloïse's plan to poison Valentine has succeeded and that Valentine is dead. Villefort learns from Noirtier that Héloïse is the real murderer and confronts her, giving her the choice of a public execution or committing suicide by her own poison.

Fleeing after Caderousse's letter exposes him, Andrea gets as far as Compiègne before he is arrested and brought back to Paris, where he is prosecuted by Villefort. While in prison awaiting trial, Andrea is visited by Bertuccio who tells him who his father is and at his trial Andrea reveals that he is Villefort's son and was rescued after Villefort buried him alive. A stunned Villefort admits his guilt and flees the court. He rushes home to stop his wife's suicide but is too late; she has poisoned her son as well. Dantès confronts Villefort, revealing his true identity, but this, combined with the shock of the trial's revelations and the death of his wife and son, drives Villefort insane. Dantès tries to resuscitate Édouard but fails, and despairs that his revenge has gone too far. It is only after he revisits his cell in the Château d'If that Dantès is reassured that his cause is just and his conscience is clear, that he can fulfill his plan while being able to forgive both his enemies and himself.

After the Count's manipulation of the bond market, Danglars is left with only a destroyed reputation and 5,000,000 francs he has been holding in deposit for hospitals. The Count demands this sum to fulfill their credit agreement, and Danglars embezzles the hospital fund. Abandoning his wife, Danglars flees to Italy with the Count's receipt, hoping to live in Vienna in anonymous prosperity. While leaving Rome, he is kidnapped by the Count's agent Luigi Vampa and is imprisoned the same way that Dantès was. Forced to pay exorbitant prices for food, Danglars eventually signs away all but 50,000 francs of the stolen five million (which Dantès anonymously returns to the hospitals). Nearly driven mad by his ordeal, Danglars finally repents his crimes. Dantès forgives Danglars and allows him to leave with his freedom and the money he has left.

Maximilien Morrel, believing Valentine to be dead, contemplates suicide after her funeral. Dantès reveals his true identity and explains that he rescued Morrel's father from bankruptcy, disgrace and suicide years earlier. He persuades Maximilien to delay his suicide for a month. On the island of Monte Cristo a month later, Dantès presents Valentine to Maximilien and reveals the true sequence of events. Having found peace, Dantès leaves for an unknown destination to find comfort and a new life with Haydée, who has declared her love for him.

Edmond Dantès and his aliases

  • Edmond Dantès
    Edmond Dantès
    Edmond Dantès is the protagonist and title character of Alexandre Dumas, père's novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.Dumas may have gotten the idea for the character of Edmond from a story which he found in a book compiled by Jacques Peuchet, archivist to the French police. Peuchet related the tale of...

     (born 1796): A sailor with good prospects, fiancé to Mercédès. After his transformation into the Count of Monte Cristo, he reveals his true name to his enemies as each revenge is completed.
  • English Chief Clerk of the Thomson and French banking firm
  • Lord Wilmore: English persona in which Dantès performs random acts of generosity.
  • Sinbad the Sailor: The persona that Dantès assumes when he saves the Morrel family and assumes while mixing with smugglers and brigands.
  • Abbé Busoni: The persona of religious authority.
  • Monsieur Zaccone: Dantès, in the guise of both Abbé Busoni and Lord Wilmore, tells an investigator this is the Count of Monte Cristo's true name.

Dantès' allies

  • Abbé Faria
    Abbé Faria
    Abbé Faria , or Abbé José Custódio de Faria, , was a colourful Goan Catholic monk who was one of the pioneers of the scientific study of hypnotism, following on from the work of Franz Anton Mesmer...

    : Italian priest and sage.
  • Giovanni Bertuccio: The Count of Monte Cristo's steward and very loyal servant; foster father of Benedetto.
  • Luigi Vampa: celebrated Italian bandit and fugitive.
  • Peppino: Formerly a shepherd, he is later a bandit and full member of Vampa's gang.
  • Haydée (also transliterated as Haidée): The daughter of Ali Pasha of Yanina, bought out of slavery by the Count.
  • Ali: Monte Cristo's mute Nubian slave.
  • Baptistin: Monte Cristo's valet-de-chambre.
  • Jacopo: A poor smuggler who helps Dantès win his freedom. When Jacopo proves his selfless loyalty, Dantès rewards him with his own ship and crew.

Morcerf family

  • Mercédès Mondego: (née: Herrera) Dantès' fiancée at the beginning of the story.
  • Fernand Mondego: Count de Morcerf, Dantès' rival and cousin of Mercédès. Eventually marries her.
  • Albert de Morcerf: Son of Mercédès and the Count de Morcerf, friend of Monte Cristo.

Danglars family

  • Baron Danglars: Dantes' jealous junior officer at the beginning of the story, then later a wealthy banker.
  • Madame Hermine Danglars: (Formerly Baroness Hermine de Nargonne née de Servieux). She had an affair with Gérard de Villefort: they had an illegitimate son Benedetto.
  • Eugénie Danglars: Daughter of Baron Danglars.

Villefort family

  • Gérard de Villefort: Royal prosecutor who imprisons Dantès, later becoming acquaintances as Dantès enacts his revenge.
  • Renée de Villefort, née de Saint-Méran: Gérard de Villefort's first wife, mother of Valentine.
  • Le Marquis de Saint-Méran and La Marquise de Saint-Méran: Renée's parents.
  • Valentine de Villefort: The daughter of Gérard de Villefort and his first wife, Renée.
  • Monsieur Noirtier de Villefort: The father of Gérard de Villefort and grandfather of Valentine, Édouard (and, without knowing it, Benedetto).
  • Héloïse de Villefort: The murderous second wife of Gérard de Villefort.
  • Édouard de Villefort. The only legitimate son of Villefort.
  • Benedetto: The illegitimate son of de Villefort and Baroness Hermine Danglars (Hermine de Nargonne), raised by Bertuccio and his sister-in-law, Assunta, Rogliano. Becomes "Andrea Cavalcanti" in Paris.

Morrel family

  • Pierre Morrel: Dantès's employer, owner of Morrel & Son.
  • Maximilien Morrel: Son of Pierre Morrel, an army captain who becomes a friend of Dantès.
  • Julie Herbault: Daughter of Pierre Morrel, wife of Emmanuel Herbault.
  • Emmanuel Herbault: an employee of Morrel & Son.

Other characters

  • Gaspard Caderousse: Originally a tailor, a neighbour and friend of Dantès but who betrays him.
  • Louis Dantès: Edmond Dantès' father.
  • Baron Franz d'Épinay: A friend of Albert de Morcerf, first fiancé of Valentine de Villefort.
  • Lucien Debray: Secretary to the Minister of the Interior, a friend of Albert de Morcerf, and a lover of Madame Danglars.
  • Beauchamp: Journalist and friend of Albert de Morcerf.
  • Raoul, Baron de Château-Renaud: Member of a noble family and friend of Albert de Morcerf.
  • Louise d'Armilly: Eugénie Danglars' music instructor & her closest friend.
  • Monsieur de Boville: originally an inspector of prisons, later a detective in the Paris force.
  • Barrois: Old, trusted servant of Monsieur de Noirtier.
  • Monsieur d'Avrigny: Family doctor treating the Villefort family.
  • Major (also Marquis) Bartolomeo Cavalcanti: Old man who plays the role of Prince Andrea Cavalcanti's father.
  • Ali Pasha - An Albanian nationalist leader, Pasha of Yanina, whom Mondego betrays, leading to Ali Pasha’s murder at the hands of the Turks and the seizure of his kingdom. Pasha’s wife and his daughter Haydée are sold into slavery.


The Count of Monte Cristo was originally published in the Journal des Débats
Journal des Débats
The Journal des débats was a French newspaper, published between 1789 and 1944 that changed title several times...

in eighteen parts. Publication ran from August 28, 1844 to January 15, 1846. It was first published in Paris by Pétion in 18 volumes (1844-5). Complete versions of the novel in the original French were published throughout the nineteenth century.

The most common English translation was originally published in 1846 by Chapman and Hall
Chapman and Hall
Chapman & Hall was a British publishing house in London, founded in the first half of the 19th century by Edward Chapman and William Hall. Upon Hall's death in 1847, Chapman's cousin Frederic Chapman became partner in the company, of which he became sole manager upon the retirement of Edward...

. Most unabridged English editions of the novel, including the Modern Library
Modern Library
The Modern Library is a publishing company. Founded in 1917 by Albert Boni and Horace Liveright as an imprint of their publishing company Boni & Liveright, it was purchased in 1925 by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer...

 and Oxford World's Classics
Oxford World's Classics
Oxford World's Classics is an imprint of Oxford University Press. First established in 1901 by Grant Richards and purchased by the Oxford University Press in 1906, this imprint publishes primarily dramatic and classic literature for students and the general public...

 editions, use this translation, although Penguin Classics
Penguin Books
Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

 published a new translation by Robin Buss in 1996. Buss' translation updated the language, is more accessible to modern readers, and reverted content that was modified in the 1846 translation because of Victorian English social restrictions (for example, references to Eugénie's lesbian traits and behavior) to Dumas's original version. Other English translations of the unabridged work exist, but are rarely seen in print and most borrow from the 1846 anonymous translation.

Alexandre Dumas wrote a set of three plays that collectively told the story of The Count of Monte Cristo: Monte Cristo (1848), Le Comte de Morcerf (1851), and Villefort (1851). The book itself went on to inspire the plot for a wide array of novels, from Lew Wallace
Lew Wallace
Lewis "Lew" Wallace was an American lawyer, Union general in the American Civil War, territorial governor and statesman, politician and author...

's Ben-Hur (1880) to Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter and film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club. He first came to attention in the 1981 Cambridge Footlights Revue presentation "The Cellar Tapes", which also...

's The Stars' Tennis Balls
The Stars' Tennis Balls
The Stars' Tennis Balls is a psychological thriller novel by Stephen Fry, first published in 2000. In the United States, the title was changed to Revenge...


Film and TV

  • 1934: Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo (1934 film)
    The Count of Monte Cristo is a film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas, père's novel of the same name, directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Robert Donat, Elissa Landi, and Louis Calhern...

    , directed by Rowland V. Lee
    Rowland V. Lee
    Rowland Vance Lee was a U.S. film director, writer, and producer....

  • 1940: The Son of Monte Cristo
    The Son of Monte Cristo
    The Son of Monte Cristo is a 1940 black-and-white film directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, and George Sanders....

    , directed by Rowland V. Lee
    Rowland V. Lee
    Rowland Vance Lee was a U.S. film director, writer, and producer....

  • 1946: The Return of Monte Christo, directed by Henry Levin
    Henry Levin
    Henry Levin began as a stage actor and director but was most notable as an American film director of over fifty feature films. He broke into film in 1943 as a dialogue director for the films Dangerous Blondes and Appointment in Berlin for Columbia Pictures...

  • 1956: The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo (TV series)
    The Count of Monte Cristo was a 1956 ITC Entertainment/TPA television series adapted very loosely from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, adapted by Sidney Marshall. It premiered in the UK in early 1956 and ran for 39 thirty minute episodes...

     TV series based on further adventures of Edmund Dantes after the end of the novel
  • 1964: The Count of Monte Cristo, BBC television serial starring Alan Badel
    Alan Badel
    Alan Fernand Badel was a distinguished English stage actor who also appeared frequently in the cinema, radio and television and was noted for his richly textured voice which was once described as "the sound of tears".-Early life:...

     and Natasha Parry
    Natasha Parry
    -Selected filmography:* Dance Hall * Crow Hollow * Knave of Hearts * Windom's Way * The Rough and the Smooth * The Fourth Square * Girl in the Headlines * Romeo and Juliet...

  • 1975: Count of Monte Cristo, starring Richard Chamberlain
    Richard Chamberlain
    George Richard Chamberlain is an American actor of stage and screen who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare .-Early life:...

    ,directed by David Greene
    David Greene (director)
    L. David Syms-Greene , born Lucius David Syms Brian Lederman, was a British television director from Manchester, England, who emigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1953, where he trained in television production with the CBC, and then moved on to Hollywood, California.Greene's career began as a stage...

  • 1977: "The Great Vendetta", Hong Kong adaption, while story background is changed in Southern China in Republican Era, television serial starring Adam Cheng
    Adam Cheng
    Adam Cheng Siu-chow is a Hong Kong TVB actor and Cantopop singer.-Career:Cheng started his career in the 1970s, where he gained a reputation for playing the lead roles in TVB Wuxia drama series based on the works of Louis Cha and Gu Long, such as The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber and Chor Lau Heung...

  • 1998: The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo (1998 miniseries)
    The Count of Monte Cristo is a French miniseries based on the 1844 novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père.-Plot:...

    , television serial starring Gérard Depardieu
    Gérard Depardieu
    Gérard Xavier Marcel Depardieu is a French actor and filmmaker. He is a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur, Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite and has twice won the César Award for Best Actor...

  • 2002: The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo (2002 film)
    The Count of Monte Cristo is a 2002 adventure film directed by Kevin Reynolds. The film is the tenth adaptation of the book of the same name by Alexandre Dumas, père and stars Richard Harris, James Caviezel, Dagmara Dominczyk, Guy Pearce, and Luis Guzman...

    , directed by Kevin Reynolds
  • 2006: Vingança (telenovela), directed by Rodrigo Riccó and Paulo Rosa, SIC Portugal
  • 2006: Montecristo (telenovela de Argentina), staring Pablo Echarri
    Pablo Echarri
    Pablo Daniel Echarri is a leading Argentine actor.He was born in Villa Dominico, Buenos Aires Province, and began his career on Argentine television in 1993...

     and Paola Krum
    Paola Krum
    Paola Krum was born Andrea Paola Krum on June 20, 1970 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is an actress, singer, and dancer, and is one of the many young, multi-talented Argentine performers of the present day. She has studied theater, dance, and voice since she was 10. Her breakthrough came in the...

  • 2010: Ezel (TV series)
    Ezel (TV series)
    Ezel is a Turkish crime drama TV series that was initially broadcasted by Show TV in autumn 2009. In 2010, it was transferred to ATV. It has since gained a considerably large fan base in Turkey...

    , a turkish television series billed as an adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo.
  • 2011: Revenge, a television series billed as an adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Sequels (books)

  • 1853: A Mão do finado, Alfredo Hogan
  • 1881: The Son of Monte Cristo, Jules Lermina
    Jules Lermina
    Jules Lermina was a French writer. He began his career as a journalist in 1859. He was arrested for his socialist political opinions, and received Victor Hugo's support....

  • 1869: The Countess of Monte Cristo, Jean Charles Du Boys, also 1934 and 1948
  • 1946: The Wife of Monte Cristo

Plays and musicals scripts

  • 2000: Monte Cristo by Karel Svoboda (music) and Zdenek Borovec (lyrics), Prague
  • 2003: The Count of Monte Cristo (Граф Монте-Кристо) by Alexandr Tumencev and Tatyana Ziryanova
  • 2006: Monte Cristo - The musical by Jon Smith
    Jon Smith
    Jon Smith is a British writer of fiction, non-fiction, screenplays and musical theatre.-Biography:Jon Smith was brought up in Merseyside, where he remained until he was eighteen. He studied for a degree in American Studies at the University of Reading which included a semester at the University of...

     and Leon Parris
    Leon Parris
    Leon Parris is a British writer, actor, musician and composer.- Biography :Leon Parris was brought up in Bedford, England, and was educated at Bedford Modern School.He lives in Barcelona, Spain, with his wife.- Credits :...

  • 2008: Monte-Cristo by Roman Ignatyev (composer) and Yuli Kim (lyrics), Moscow
  • 2009: The Count of Monte Cristo by Frank Wildhorn
    Frank Wildhorn
    Frank Wildhorn is an American composer known for both his musicals and popular songs. He is most known for his musical Jekyll & Hyde, which ran four years on Broadway, and for writing the #1 International Hit song "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?" for Whitney Houston.-Early years:Wildhorn was born in...

  • 2009: The Count of Monte Cristo, by Ido Ricklin
  • 2010: The Count of Monte Cristo, Rock Opera by Pete Sneddon

Audio adaptations

  • 1938 - Orson Welles
    Orson Welles
    George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

     and the Mercury Theatre on the Air players (radio).
  • 1939 - Orson Welles with Agnes Moorehead
    Agnes Moorehead
    Agnes Robertson Moorehead was an American actress. Although she began with the Mercury Theatre, appeared in more than seventy films beginning with Citizen Kane and on dozens of television shows during a career that spanned more than thirty years, Moorehead is most widely known to modern audiences...

     at Campbell Playhouse (radio)
  • 1939 - Robert Montgomery
    Robert Montgomery (actor)
    Robert Montgomery was an American actor and director.- Early life :Montgomery was born Henry Montgomery, Jr. in Beacon, New York, then known as "Fishkill Landing", the son of Mary Weed and Henry Montgomery, Sr. His early childhood was one of privilege, since his father was president of the New...

     on the Lux Radio Theater
    Lux Radio Theater
    Lux Radio Theater, a long-run classic radio anthology series, was broadcast on the NBC Blue Network ; CBS and NBC . Initially, the series adapted Broadway plays during its first two seasons before it began adapting films. These hour-long radio programs were performed live before studio audiences...

  • 1947 - Carleton Young
    Carleton Young
    Carleton Scott Young was an American character actor born in New York City, New York and known for his deep voice.-Private life:...

     (radio series)
  • 1960s - Paul Daneman
    Paul Daneman
    Paul Daneman was an English film, television, theatre and voice actor.Paul Frederick Daneman was born in Islington, London. He attended the Haberdashers' Aske's School and Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow and studied stage design at Reading University where he joined the dramatic...

     for Tale Spinners For Children
    Tale Spinners For Children
    Tale Spinners For Children was a series of stories and novels adapted for young audiences on vinyl records in the early 1960s. They included a collection of old fairy tales, folklore, literary classics such as Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe, and time-honored fables, with the title role sometimes...

    series (LP) UAC 11044
  • 1961 - Louis Jourdan for Caedmon Records (LP)
  • 1987 - Andrew Sachs
    Andrew Sachs
    Andrew Sachs is a German-born British actor. He made his name on British television and is best known for his portrayals of Manuel in Fawlty Towers, a role for which he was BAFTA-nominated, and Ramsay Clegg in Coronation Street.-Early life:Sachs was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Katharina , a...

     on BBC Radio
    BBC Radio
    BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company...


  • 2004: Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
    Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
    is an anime series loosely based on Alexandre Dumas, père's classic French novel, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. Spanning 24 episodes, it was produced by Gonzo, directed by Mahiro Maeda and broadcast by Animax across its respective networks in Japan, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America,...

    (巌窟王 Gankutsuoo, literally The King of the Cave) Japanese animation adaptation. Produced by Gonzo
    , stylized as GONZO, is a Japanese anime studio, owned by the company's corporate parent, the GDH group. In June 2006, it signed a long-term output deal with the anime television network, Animax, which saw Animax broadcasting all of Gonzo's anime titles across all of its networks around the world,...

    , directed by Mahiro Maeda
    Mahiro Maeda
    Mahiro Maeda is one of the most prominent Japanese anime creators working today, having worked as director, character designer, and animator for many of Japan's top series....

Further reading

External links

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