The Count of Monte Cristo Chapter I 1. Whom would you visit first upon returning to your hometown? Why? Whom would you visit second? 2. What do you think of the way Dantes’ reply to his boss about a co‐worker? Chapter II 1. What does Dantes mean when he says, “We are never quits with those who oblige us,…when we no longer owe them money we owe them gratitude” (Dumas, 10). 2. Do you agree with Caderousse’s rationale in saying that Dantes shouldn’t have refused the dinner offer with his boss? Chapter III 1. “…the ascendancy which this girl exercised over him” (Dumas, 15). What does this mean? 2. “One is always in a hurry to be happy… (Dumas, 18). Do you agree with this? Consider the context as well. Chapter IV 1. “Joy has that peculiar effect that at times it oppresses us just as much as grief? (Dumas, 20). Consider the context. Has this ever happened to you? Give an example. 2. Do you agree with Dantes when he says, “I cannot help thinking it is not man’s lot to attain happiness so easily” (Dumas, 21). 3. Give an example of “…certain things the heart of a father or a mother will never understand” (Dumas, 22). Chapter V 1. Why do you think the Marquise holds so tightly to the past? 2. What are your thoughts on anonymous “tattling”? Chapter VI 1. 2. 3. 4.
Villefort loves his fiancé, but not passionately. What advice would you give him? What are your thoughts on first impressions or first impulses? What do you love, respect, and adore in life (Dumas, 32)? Should Dantes have obeyed his captain’s orders (“imprudence”) or disobeyed a request from a dying man (Dumas, 35)? 5. Sketch out the connections that are exposed in this chapter.
Chapter VII 1. Do you think it was Mercedes on the shore? Why or why not? 2. Is Dantes truly losing his mind? Chapter VIII 1. Contrast two characters responses to Dantes’ arrest. 2. Why would Caderousse feel “restless and uneasy” (Dumas, 46)? Chapter IX 1. Are you like the man “…who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another…” (Dumas, 48)? 2. How are the men vying for the king’s favor? 3. What do you think of Villefort’s ambition? Chapter X 1. Why is Villefort so agitated? 2. What is the Legion of Honor cross? Chapter XI 1. List the five most important events that occur in this chapter. 2. How is Villefort straddling the fence? 3. Why does Mercedes not kill herself? Chapter XII 1. Do you agree with “to the happy and prosperous man prayer is but a meaningless jumble of words until grief comes to explain to the unfortunate wretch the sublime language which is our means of communication with God” (Dumas, 58)? 2. How long has Dantes been trying to die by starvation? 3. What idea is “…ever present to the mind of a prisoner…” (Dumas, 60)? 4. Prisoner 27 had a plan that was thwarted. How would you have responded? See also page 68. 5. What do you think of Dantes’ joy? Is “…captivity shared with another…half captivity”? Chapter XIII 1. List what you think are the most important inventions of the abbe. 2. Is “…order the key to all problems…” (Dumas, 72)? 3. The “noble heart” idea emerges again. Have your thoughts changed on one who has no suspicions (Dumas, 73)? 4. Explain the causes behind Dantes’ imprisonment. 5. What kind of oath do you think Dantes makes? 6. What is a cataleptic fit?
7. Dantes swears his devotion to the abbe. What do you think of this promise? Chapter XIV 1. Summarize the story behind the treasure on Monte Cristo. 2. Describe the love between the two men. Chapter XV 1. What closing words would you like to give for one you love? 2. What’s the most “invaluable” gift you’ve ever received (Dumas, 93)? Chapter XVI 1. Could you have carried out a plan like Dantes does to obtain his freedom? 2. Would you rather be ignorant of the danger involved in an activity or understand all the implications completely? Is ignorance bliss? Chapter XVII 1. Why the coincidence in Dantes’ arrival and “departure” dates? Why 14 years? 2. Is it wise to “…know nothing but what they should know, and believe nothing but what is suits them to believe” (Dumas, 105)? Chapter XVIII 1. Why is it than now Dantes is not satisfied with freedom alone and desires riches (Dumas, 109)? 2. How do you know that Dantes is loved by his compadres? Chapter XIX 1. What kind of treasure would you have liked to have found? Jewelry? Gold? 2. Why was it a “…delicious yet terrible…” nights (Dumas, 117). Chapter XX 1. What is “…the first and greatest force at a man’s disposal” (Dumas, 118)? Do you agree with this? 2. What will a “superior education” do for you (Dumas, 118)? 3. Giving a co‐worker a “handsome present” is diplomatic. Do you agree with that? Chapter XXI 1. Do you believe that one’s eyes are the windows to one’s soul? “The…eyes…seemed to penetrate to his very soul” (Dumas, 121). 2. What do you think about the abbe’s passion towards Dantes’ father dying of hunger (Dumas, 122)?
Chapter XXII 1. “It was cowardly…but it was not criminal” (Dumas, 127). What do you think about this? 2. Do you believe that Caderousse’s offense is “…the only one I have to reproach myself with during the whole of my lifetime, is no doubt the causes of my adversity” (Dumas, 127)? 3. Who said, “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (Dumas, 131)? What is the context for the comment? 4. Why does Caderousse believe that Mercedes has “…crammed so much knowledge into her head…” (Dumas, 132)? 5. What do you think of “’I know what happiness means as I also know what despair means, and I should never play with either of these feelings’” (Dumas, 133). Chapter XXIII 1. What kind of “delicacy” does the Mayor display (Dumas, 134)? 2. What do you think of boasting (Dumas, 136)? Why do people boast so much? Chapter XXIV 1. Why is Cocles so happy (Dumas, 139)? What kind of praise do you value the most? 2. What is honor? 3. “’There is nothing like common sense to put courage into a man’” (Dumas, 144)? Do you agree with this? 4. Why is Morrel so “deeply touched” on page 146 (Dumas)? Is there anything more valuable than loyalty in an employee? 5. Find out information about Sinbad the Sailor. Who was he? Chapter XXV 1. What does it mean when it says, “…one had correspondent only in business, and not friends” (Dumas, 148)? 2. Does “’blood washes out dishonor’” (Dumas, 152)? 3. “’…farewell to kindness, humanity, gratitude…Farewell to all the sentiments which rejoice the heart. I have played the part of Providence in recompensing the good, may the god vengeance now permit me to punish the wicked’” (Dumas, 154). What are your thoughts on this? Chapter XXVI 1. Would you like to be like Albert in believing that nothing is “…impossible to a full purse and a well‐lined pocketbook…” (Dumas, 156)? 2. Are Albert and Franz brave or stupid to ignore the warning of bandits? Chapter XXVII 1. Would you like a friendship where you are told “…though I appreciate your friendship, I fear my reputation would suffer if they knew we were on such friendly footing’” (Dumas, 163)? 2. What is the purpose of the tavollette (Dumas, 166)?
Chapter XXVIII 1. Do you agree with Franz in his attempts in “…forming an opinion of men and things only after mature reflection” (Dumas, 171)? 2. Describe the Carnival at Rome in your own words. 3. “Constancy and discretion” (Dumas, 176). Your thoughts on this closing? Chapter XXIX 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Describe Albert’s reaction to all that has happened. What would you have done? How important is a handshake? Why is Franz so apprehensive about Monte Cristo? What foreshadowing do you see in this chapter? Give examples. What importance do you place on feelings? “’Whether I am mad or not, that’s what I feel about it…’” (Dumas, 192).
Chapter XXX 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Why the separation of houses described on page 193? Is “’you are his friend, be mine too’” good enough for you too (Dumas, 196)? Short hair or long hair for men? What are your personal preferences? Why? (Dumas, 196). What is the role of chance in your life (Dumas, 197)? How does Morrel celebrate his father’s salvation? How important is punctuality to you? Is “’punctuality is the politeness of kings’” (Dumas, 199)? Is it a gift to be able to sleep at will? Awaken at will? What reason does Monte Cristo give for saving Albert? Describe happiness more eloquently than Dumas in saying “’as happy as it is permitted to a human creature to be’” (205). 10. “’Everybody around me is at liberty to leave me, and on leaving me will have now further need of me or anyone else. It may be that is the reason why they do not leave me’” (Dumas, 207). What are your thoughts on this? Chapter XXXI 1. Why is Monte Cristo more of the guide through Albert’s treasures than Albert is? 2. Why is the General “obviously charmed” with Monte Cristo (Dumas, 210)? 3. Define and give a few examples of acts of humanity (Dumas, 211). Chapter XXXII 1. Do you think the horses are less beautiful after realizing all that the Count had to pay in order to obtain them (Dumas, 216)? 2. What does it mean to have unlimited credit? Chapter XXXIII 1. What hints are you given about the Danglars’ marriage? 2. Is too much “inquisitiveness” a bad thing to have (Dumas, 225)? Why or why not?
Chapter XXXIV 1. “’…my heart is filled with three great sentiments – sadness, love, and gratitude – and with these as companions it is impossible to grow weary’” (Dumas, 230). What are your thoughts on this? 2. Who is Pindar? What does he mean when he says, “Youth is the flower of which love is the fruit; Happy the gatherer who picks it after watching it slowly mature” (Dumas, 230)? Chapter XXXV 1. Julie accomplishes “…this feat in ten nainutes” (Dumas, 232). What is this feat? 2. Why do they say that Monte Cristo cannot understand their gratefulness for their family’s story? 3. How often do you give way to your feelings (Dumas, 235)? Chapter XXXVI 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
What is toxicology? Can you think of a worse habit in a child than never yielding like Edward (Dumas, 242)? “’Yes, there is conscience to grapple with’” (Dumas, 242). What does that mean? What has Monte Cristo accomplished in this visit? Make a prediction.
Chapter XXXVII 1. What kind of class differences come up in this chapter? 2. Would you rather make your father or mother upset? Why? Chapter XXXVIII 1. 2. 3. 4.
Who are Pyramus and Thisbe? What is Mademoiselle Danglars’ greatest joy for her life? What understanding are we given about Madame de Villefort? “’…vice is almost a virtue from the point of view of maternal love’” (Dumas, 254). Give examples of this. 5. Compare Valentine’s impression of Monte Cristo to Maximilian’s. Chapter XXXIX 1. What is the history between the d’Epinay and Villefort families? 2. Is Noirtier’s communication realistic? Chapter XL 1. Why does the notary change his mind about addressing the issue at hand? 2. What are Noirtier’s wishes and why? 3. Why will Villefort not contest the will?
Chapter XLI 1. Why does Villefort insist on Valentine marrying Franz? 2. What is the “dart” that Monte Cristo throws (Dumas, 272)? Chapter XLII 1. Describe the transformation of Monte Cristo’s home. 2. What do you think of “…so real was the influence of this man on all around him…” (Dumas 275). Consider the context. 3. Give five specific examples of Monte Cristo’s vast wealth. 4. “’…what is marvelous? That which we do not comprehend. What is truly desirable? That which we cannot have. Now to see things I cannot understand, to procure things impossible of possession, such is the plan of my life” (Dumas, 279). What do you think of this? 5. Continuing on with the previous quote, what do you take great pleasure in? Chapter XLIII 1. Mme Danglars has a broader history in the unabridged version. Find out about her past. 2. What does Danglars accuse his wife of and demand of her? Chapter XLIV 1. What is a “patent of nobility” (Dumas, 292)? 2. What title would you like to have in those days? Chapter XLV 1. Consider Albert’s words on “’one can always leave a mistress, but a wife…’” (Dumas, 295). What is there context, and what are your thoughts? 2. What Bible verses come to mind when you read of the hatchet and pin on page 296? 3. Would you like to be inquired after like the Monte Cristo is? Seventeen requests for your presence (Dumas, 298)? 4. Is Dumas’ description of love accurate when he writes that Maximilian and Valentine “…forgot themselves for a moment, or rather for a moment forgot everybody and everything in their mute contemplation of one another” (Dumas, 300)? 5. What would it be like to have “meaning and value” behind all that you did (Dumas, 300)? 6. Why would the world have passed over a man like Monte Cristo? 7. What are your thoughts on the Arabian custom of “eternal friendships” (Dumas, 304)? 8. Do you agree that “…one can only love once…” (Dumas, 305)? 9. Why does Monte Cristo never seem to answer Mme de Morcerf directly? Chapter XLVI 1. Who is “dear Renee” (Dumas, 309)? 2. Why is it important for Mme de Saint‐Meran to know Valentine’s husband?
Chapter XLVII 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Do you agree with the following? “’…passion blinds the most balanced minds’” (Dumas, 314). What will Maximilian do when Valentine marries Franz? Would you “…rather die of shame than of remorse…” (Dumas, 316)? What do you do when you can’t focus (Dumas, 318)? What is Valentine’s first question to her grandfather regarding Maximilian? What kind of question is that? 6. Describe the “imposing sight” on page 325. 7. Why does Maximilian embrace Noirtier? Chapter XLVIII 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Does your “’…position…not permit of the slightest scandal’” (Dumas, 329)? Is prestige or happiness enough of a reason to marry (Dumas, 329)? Describe Valentine’s happiness on page 330 using another metaphor. What was the insult that resulted in the duel between Noirtier and General d’Epinay? What is so “honourable” about a duel (Dumas, 340)?
Chapter XLIX 1. Andrea Cavalcanti has a broader history in the unabridged version as well. What is his story? 2. What is the purpose of this chapter? What information is given that is necessary to the story? Chapter L 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
What does Albert admire more than Monte Cristo’s wealth or wit? What is the allusion on page 349 referring to? Briefly summarize Haydee’s story. Why should Haydee be consoled (Dumas, 361)? Why does Haydee find solace at times in remembering her tragic past?
Chapter LI 1. How can Morrel’s oath “cost him nothing” (Dumas, 364)? 2. Why would Mme de Villefort ask Noirtier to restore Valentine to her fortune? 3. How many times have you fit Danglar’s description: “…a coward but did not wish to appear one…” (Dumas, 367)? 4. Is slander more common than we think? 5. Why does Morcerf not “…ask whether it was on his own account that he…had broken his word” (Dumas, 368)? Chapter LII 1. Compare Morrel and Barrois’ condition when they arrive. Is there a greater motivator than love? 2. What could “compromise” the happiness of Morrel and Valentine (Dumas, 371)?
3. Can true friendship exist between masters and servants? Bosses and employees? Chapter LIII 1. What is the “’..axiom of jurisprudence…’” (Dumas, 379)? 2. Discuss “flagrant crime” or “foolish human circumspection” (Dumas, 382). 3. Make a prediction about the murderer. Chapter LIV 1. Why is the Count of Morcerf not popular? 2. “’Though I am a Christian, my one thought has always been to avenge my illustrious father’s death’” (Dumas 389). What do you think of this? 3. What is the Count of Morcerf guilty of? Chapter LV 1. Give an example of “…a solemn occasion should be unmarked by the presence of a witness” (Dumas, 392). 2. How does one “demand satisfaction” now (Dumas, 395)? Chapter LVI 1. Do you believe in “public humiliation” (Dumas, 396)? 2. “’…the enemies one is cognizant of are not always the most dangerous’” (Dumas, 396). What does that mean? 3. What is the Oriental tradition mentioned? 4. Could you be a “living guarantee” (Dumas, 400)? What does that mean? 5. How could Monte Cristo be so confident? 6. Describe a duel. Chapter LVII 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Briefly describe Fernand’s gravest offenses (Dumas, 405). Do you believe Mercedes on page 407? Has her heart remained the same? What do you think of the idea behind Monte Cristo’s tears on page 406? Why does blood have to be shed? Why does Monte Cristo call himself a fool (Dumas, 408)?
Chapter LVIII 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Do you think Monte Cristo still loves Mercedes? What does Albert think ranks next to infallibility (Dumas, 410)? “’…you have acted well in the eyes of God’” (Dumas, 410). What does that mean? Where is the line between “…despicable or…noble” (Dumas 410)? What is the risk Mercedes has taken?
Chapter LIX 1. 2. 3. 4.
What is Albert taking from his past (Dumas, 413)? Is Mercedes truly noble and Albert innocent (Dumas, 414)? Has Mercedes “…not deserved even one fraction of the misfortune” (Dumas, 414)? Why is it “…ungenerous of you to refuse what is offered to your mother by one whose father was made to suffer the horrors of hunger and despair by your father” (Dumas, 415)? 5. Would you have taken one more look (Dumas, 419)? Why? Why not? Chapter LX 1. Why does Monte Cristo react to Morrel’s love for Valentine? 2. Describe the aliases of Monte Cristo. Chapter LXI 1. Although Monte Cristo declares his tenderness and respect for Valentine, why is she still insulted (Dumas 432‐433)? 2. Has the sound of someone’s name ever been “very sweet” to you (Dumas, 432)? Chapter LXII 1. 2. 3. 4.
Do you think the Count’s attention is “indiscreet” (Dumas, 435)? What organ function was so difficult for Valentine and why (Dumas 436)? What is the motive behind the poisonings? Make a prediction about what will happen to Valentine.
Chapter LXIII 1. What “miracle” to “denounce the crime” has occurred (Dumas, 442)? 2. Would you have noticed Mme de Villefort’s strange actions? How observant are you? Chapter LXIV 1. Why would Villefort be ashamed of showing his grief (Dumas, 443)? 2. Is there a “…magnetism which draws us toward such as have loved those we mourn…” (Dumas, 445)? 3. Why do Morrel and d’Avrigny blame themselves? Chapter LXV 1. Make a list of events and match them to Dantes’ enemies. 2. What is Monte Cristo potential mocking Danglars of (Dumas, 452)? Do you think he’s being sarcastic or serious? 3. Would riches bring you consolation (Dumas, 452)?
Chapter LXVI 1. What right does Monte Cristo have? 2. Do you agree that “’…in grief as in life there is always a hidden future’” (Dumas, 462)? 3. “’…none of the feelings I experienced before that time were worthy of the name of love’” (Dumas, 462). What do you think of this? Chapter LXVII 1. What do you surmise from Mme Danglars’ response to her husband calling her a “most faithful wife” (Dumas, 466)? 2. Why does Debray allow Mme Danglars to leave when she has obviously come for some answer of him? 3. Is there a considerable difference between “want and necessity” (Dumas, 471)? 4. What does “common sense and necessity” dictate of Mercedes and Albert (Dumas, 474)? 5. Why does Albert thank Debray for acknowledging him (Dumas, 475)? 6. Compare the two women leaving the house in the Rue Saint‐Germain‐des‐Pres as Debray does. Chapter LXVIII 1. Would you hope that your wife poisoned you like Villefort does in drinking the chocolate (Dumas, 479)? 2. Could you be a husband and judge in a situation like this? 3. What is Mme de Villefort’s only other option besides the scaffold? 4. Do you think that Mme de Villefort believed she would not suffer because of her husband’s position? 5. What reasons does she give for Villefort to spare her? 6. Is he right in his response? Chapter LXIX 1. “One must never despair of the heart of a mother who loves her child” (Dumas, 484). True or false? 2. What happens to Villefort? Give specific examples that support your answer. 3. What does Monte Cristo mean when he says, “…God grant that I have not already done too much!” (Dumas, 489). Chapter LXX 1. Do all women have a “delicacy of feeling” (Dumas, 489)? 2. Do you agree with Emmanuel in that “’…it must be that He Who is goodness itself has found nothing in the past life of these people which merited mitigation of their suffering’” (Dumas, 490)? 3. “Delays only double grief when one has to part…” (Dumas, 490). Do you agree with this? Why or why not? 4. Can your eyes say more than your words?
5. Why does Monte Cristo say he revealed his role of salvation? Do you believe that’s the real reason (Dumas, 491)? 6. What do you think of the following: “’…the friends we have lost do not repose under the ground…they are buried deep in our hearts. It has been thus ordained that they many always accompany us’” (Dumas, 492). 7. Who are Monte Cristo’s such friends? 8. Does every man owe “’a tribute to his country; some their talents, others their industry, other their blood’” (Dumas, 495)? 9. Mercedes says that although she had “faith, innocence, and love” (Dumas, 496). What happened? 10. Why is she the most to blame (Dumas, 496)? 11. Monte Cristo, for all his words to Mercedes, finally calls her faithless (Dumas, 500). What are your thoughts on this? Chapter LXXI 1. What is the gladiator salute? What does it mean? 2. Is “’…death…either a friend who rocks us as gently as a nurse, or an enemy who violently tears the soul from the body’” (Dumas, 503)? 3. What does Monte Cristo charge Morrel to do with the money (Dumas, 503)? 4. Could you marry someone you didn’t think was the “’…noblest, the best, and the greatest of all created beings’” (Dumas, 506)? 5. What lesson has Monte Cristo learned? 6. What do you think of his closing words? Reference: Dumas, A. (2005). The Count of Monte Cristo. New York: Signet Classics.