How do Valentine de Villefort and Eugenie Danglars act as foils for each other? What makes these people so similar or different? 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Alexandre Dumas's classic, "The Count of Monte Cristo" Valentine de Villefort is the daughter of the Deputy Procureur of Chapter 6, Monsieur de Villefort and his first wife, Renee de Saint-Meran.  Later in the novel, M. de Villefort has remarried a woman named Heloise who tries to poison Valentine in an effort to ensure that de Villefort's fortune will go to her son, Edward.  Obviously, Valentine does not get along with her step-mother, nor does she agree with her father's attempts to have her marry Franz d'Epinay, whose grandfather was a mortal enemy of de Villefort's father, M. Noitier.  After the poisoning attempt is ruined by the intervention of Monte Cristo, and the marriage attempt foiled by old M. Noirtier who reveals a letter that informs d'Epinay that Noirtier is the man who killed his grandfather, Valentine marries her true love, Maxillian Morrel.

Eugenie Danglars is the daughter of Danglars, the purser on the ship of the young Edmund Dantes, and his wife, Madame Danglars, who is from a wealthy family.  Like Valentine she is young and pretty and undesirous of marrying the man that her father has selected.  In Eugenie's case, this man is Andrea Calvacanti, a poser for the Count's revenge upon the Danglars.  Rather than marry Andrea, or even Albert de Morcerf for whom she was previously intended, Eugenie runs away with her friend Louise d'Armilly. And, as Dumas writes, "M. Danglar had lsot his daughter."  So, too, has M. de Villefort whose has ignored the wishes of his Valentine. 

As to their being foils to each other, perhaps Eugenie's lack of involvement with her family is in contrast to Valentine's depth of feeling for Maximilian and her devotion to her grandfather.

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The Count of Monte Cristo

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