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This article focuses on the novel.
For the character, see Count of Monte Cristo.

The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by French author Alexandre Dumas (père) in 1844.

Traditional Plot

Edmond Dantès, a young merchant sailor recently promoted to succeed his former captain, prepares to marry his fiancée Mercédès. Unbeknownst to Dantès, his success has caused his junior officer Danglars to envy his success.

Also jealous is Mercédès' cousin Fernand Mondego, who harbors unrequited feelings for her, and Dantès' neighbor Caderousse, who hates him for his good fortune. On the evening of Dantès' wedding to Mercédès, Danglars and Mondego write a letter accusing Dantès of treason.

The evidence against him is seemingly damning, as Dantès was charged by his predecessor with delivering a letter from the exiled Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to a sympathizer in Paris.

Gérard de Villefort, the deputy prosecutor assigned to Dantès' case, becomes convinced Dantès is innocent and is prepared to exonerate him when he asks Dantès to tell him the name of the letter's recipient. Dantès does so, revealing the letter's recipient to be Villefort's Bonapartist father, Nortier. Fearing for his reputation, Villefort retracts his decision and sentences Dantès to life imprisonment in the Château d'If.

Several years after his imprisonment, Dantès meets Abbé Faria, an Italian priest jailed for his political views. The two men grow close, with Faria educating Dantès in subjects ranging from history to philosophy and bequeathing to him a treasure located on the island of Monte Cristo.

When Faria passes away, Dantès conceals himself in the burial shroud moments before it is thrown into the sea. After managing to cut himself loose, Dantès swims to a nearby island and acquires passage on a ship that takes him to Monte Cristo, where he unearths the treasure Faria spoke of.

Returning to France in disguise, Dantès tracks down Caderousse and coerces him into revealing the plot to frame him. He also discovers that Mercédès is Mondego's wife and both he and Danglars are wealthy men. After giving Caderousse a diamond for his willingness to talk and saving his former employer Pierre Morrel from financial ruin, Dantès leaves the country.

Ten years later, Dantès appears in Italy, referring to himself as the Count of Monte Cristo. He "saves" Albert de Morcerf, Mondego and Mercédès' son, from bandits, ensuring an introduction to Parisian high society upon his arrival in France. With the exception of Mercédès, no one recognizes Dantès, allowing him to insinuate himself into the lives of the men who destroyed his own and exact revenge:

  • Dantès discovers that Mondego, who took on the title of Count de Morcerf after serving as a general in the French Army, gained his wealth by betraying Ali Pasha of Yanina to the Ottoman Empire and subsequently selling his wife Vasiliki and daughter Haydée into slavery. Dantès, who located Haydée and purchased her freedom prior to becoming the Count, leaks Mondego's secret to the press before arranging for Haydée to testify against him. After Mercédès tells Albert the truth about her husband's past, the two decide to leave the country and renounce their respective titles. Dantès, meanwhile, reveals his true identity to Mondego, who returns to his now-abandoned home and commits suicide.
  • Dantès discovers that Villefort, now the King's Prosecutor, had a son with Danglars' wife before she was married and attempted to kill the infant shortly after it was born. Before he could so, smuggler Bertuccio stabbed him and took the child, whom he raised with the help of his sister-in-law. After locating the child, who Bertuccio named Benedetto, Dantès convinces him to take on the alias of "Andrea Cavalcanti" and become acquainted with Danglars and his family. When Caderousse resurfaces and threatens to reveal Benedetto's true identity, Dantès forces him to follow through with his threat. Benedetto proceeds to stab Caderousse and attempts to flee the country only to be arrested. After learning about his parentage from Bertuccio, Benedetto exposes Villefort during his trial.
    • At the same time, Dantès learns that Villefort's second wife Héloïse covets her father-in-law's fortune, which she believes should go to her son Édouard. Dantès takes advantage of Héloïse by introducing her to the technique of poison-making, which she uses to murder several members of the household. When Villefort learns about Héloïse's murderous intent from Nortier, he forces her to choose between execution or suicide. After returning home following his exposure, Villefort discovers that Héloïse has killed herself and killed Édouard in the process. Dantès then reveals his true identity to Villefort, who goes insane.
      • Dantès, under the guise of a priest, approaches a dying Caderousse following the stabbing and, after convincing him to identify Bertuccio as his attempted killer, reveals his true identity before leaving him to die.
  • Dantès approaches Danglars, now an influential banker, and, after playing on his greed, convinces him to open several accounts under the Count of Monte Cristo's name. Dantès proceeds to manipulate both the bond market and Danglars' wife and daughter, driving the banker to near bankruptcy. When he discovers Danglars has fled the country with money previously embezzled from several hospitals, Dantès asks the Italian bandit Luigi Vampa to kidnap Danglars and take back the money. Danglars repents his crime and, after learning Dantès's true identity, is allowed to escape with his life.

In concurrence with his vendetta, Dantès tries to help Morrel's son Maximilian save his fiancée Valentine, who is also Villefort's daughter from his first marriage, from her stepmother. After convincing Valentine to take a pill that makes her appear dead to the world, Dantès smuggles her to Monte Cristo. The following month, Dantès tells a suicidal Maximilian about his true identity as well as his plan to save Valentine.

After bringing the young lovers back together, Dantès leaves Monte Cristo with Haydée, who previously declared for her love for him, and departs for an unknown destination.

Show Adaptation

  • The Evil Queen hired the Count of Monte Cristo to kill Snow White and Prince Charming.
  • The character Charlotte is similar to Haydée, as she becomes the love interest of the Count while he is trying to kill Snow and Charming.
    • Contrary to the novel, Charlotte is not the Count's slave, but she does work for someone else as she was Snow White's handmaiden.

Characters Featured

Original Character Adapted as First Featured in
Baron Danglars Baron Danglars "A Bitter Draught"
Count of Monte Cristo Count of Monte Cristo "A Bitter Draught"
Haydée Charlotte (allusion) "A Bitter Draught"
Mercédès Edmond's fiancée (mentioned) "A Bitter Draught"

Locations Featured

Original Location Adapted as First Featured in
France 19th Century France "A Bitter Draught"
Château d'If Edmond's prison (mentioned) "A Bitter Draught"
Wilmore Estate Wilmore Estate "A Bitter Draught"
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