There are three principal antagonists in The Count of Monte Cristo : Fernand, Villefort, and Danglars. All three men realize they have something to gain by framing Dantes, and they together ensure he is locked up in Chateau D’If. Each man then gets the life he desires because Dantes is...
There are three principal antagonists in The Count of Monte Cristo: Fernand, Villefort, and Danglars. All three men realize they have something to gain by framing Dantes, and they together ensure he is locked up in Chateau D’If. Each man then gets the life he desires because Dantes is out of the way. Fernand takes Mercedes, Dantes’s fiancee, and builds a life with her. Danglars, jealous that Dantes was promoted to captain, ends up very wealthy as a banker. Villefort, not brought down by his father’s betrayal, can ascend to become one of the king’s royal prosecutors.
Each man’s punishment fits his ambitions because it attacks the very thing he holds most dear. For Fernand, it is Mercedes; for Villefort, it is his reputation; and for Danglars, it is his wealth. While some of the punishments are more just than others, there is a point where Dantes wonders if he has gone too far.
Danglars's is probably the most just of the punishments. His greed is what drives his downfall. Dantes manipulates the market to bring down his fortune, and in a fit of greed, Danglars embezzles money meant for hospitals and flees to Italy. He is then captured and held ransom on the Count’s orders, and eventually, Dantes lets him go. He has nothing, but he gets to keep his life and sanity. Danglars lets on that he is not as wealthy as he seems when he is nervous about allowing the Count an unlimited credit:
“No,” said Danglars, “no, decidedly no; keep my signatures. But you know none are so formal as bankers in transacting business; I intended this money for the charity fund, and I seemed to be robbing them if I did not pay them with these precise bonds. How absurd—as if one crown were not as good as another. Excuse me;” and he began to laugh loudly, but nervously.
His willingness to spread his finances so thin is a sign of his greed—he will expend his credit capabilities and then cannot stomach the losses in the stock market.
Fernand ends up killing himself because Mercedes and Albert leave him after his betrayal of Ali Pascha is made known to the senate. Without his wife, he is nothing, and suicide seems his only option. It is clear that the punishment of losing Mercedes fits his ambition to marry her and is an act of powerful revenge.
Villefort is brought down by the exposure of his failures. He has an affair with Madame Danglars, and he tries to kill the resulting child. The son is resuscitated by Bertuccio, a smuggler who sees what Villefort is doing. The child is the means to bring Villefort down, as all his misdeeds are exposed. He is driven insane by his wife’s murder-suicide and his loss of reputation before the French people. His goal was ambition and power, and his humiliation and exposure is a good cause for revenge. However, Dantes realizes that he might have gone too far when Madame Villefort murders the young son Edouard.