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In Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, Valentine de Villefort is a decent young woman—she is an obedient daughter, and most especially a devoted granddaughter and loving fiancée. Valentine cannot be held accountable that she is Gerard de Villefort's daughter, though at first Monte Cristo intends to do just that. Monte Cristo believes that the sins of the father shall be visited upon the children, even up to the fourth generation thereafter. However, Monte Cristo's great fondness for Maximilian Morrel changes his mind. When Monte Cristo realizes how much Maximilian loves Valentine, he makes sure that she is saved from her stepmother who intends to poison her for her inheritance.
Valentine proves herself worthy of Maximilian's love and Monte Cristo's respect. When her father demands that she marry Franz d'Epinay, even though she loves Maximilian, she refuses to defy her sire. Her paternal grandfather, Noirtier, has had a stroke. Only Valentine has found a way to communicate with him.
Noirtier answered only by a look...He motioned to Valentine to approach. In a moment, thanks to her habit of conversing with her grandfather, she understood that he asked for a key. Then his eye was fixed on the drawer of a small chest between the windows. She opened the drawer, and found a key; and, understanding that was what he wanted, again watched his eyes, which turned toward an old secretary...
Noirtier is prepared to protect his granddaughter as well—revealing to Franz that he was responsible for dueling with Franz's father to the death. This releases Valentine from her father's arrangements to have her marry Franz, who has no wish to be involved with the family of the man who was responsible for his father's death.
Then, fearful that his granddaughter will be poisoned as his servant was (and as was attempted on Noirtier himself), Noirtier arranges that Valentine take small amounts of the poison he takes for his paralysis, which also builds up their immunity to the poison.
Valentine agrees freely to do what her grandfather requests of her.
"A very simple one," said Valentine. "I swallow every morning a spoonful of the mixture prepared for my grandfather...
Monte Cristo tells Valentine that she must do all she can to help save her own life: for if she dies, Maximilian will take his own life. Confronted by possible death, and provided with a way to save herself and have a future with Maximilian, Valentine agrees with Monte Cristo's plan to take a pill that will mimic her death, trusting completely in him:
Valentine carried the pastille to her mouth, and swallowed it. "And now, my dear child, adieu for the present. I will try and gain a little sleep, for you are saved."
"Go," said Valentine, "whatever happens, I promise you not to fear."
Valentine proves that she is loyal, obedient and loving. Of all of the despicable characters Monte Cristo has to face after his arrest, Valentine is a more caring and loving person than most.
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