Analyze Dumas' characterization of Valentine de Villefort as the perfect daughter in The Count of Monte Cristo.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Valentine de Villefort, Alexandre Dumas creates a paragon of feminine virtue and loveliness.  He characterizes Valentine to be a praise-worthy heroine; she is both pretty and sweet and receives praise from would-be admirers with grace and modesty.  Even at her funeral, the crowd "felt the elegiac poetry of this beautiful, chaste, adorable young woman, struck down in her prime" (Ch.105).  Her family adores her, with the exception of her crazy, murderous stepmother, and she also has captured the affection of Maximilien. 

In many ways, Valentine comes across as being too perfect, especially for female readers who find her saccharine goodness a little hard to identify with.  Even though Valentine comes across as being a little too overly sweet, her dedication and love for Maximilien makes her worth saving as well as her admirable loyalty to her family; up to the very end, she cannot fathom that anyone would be poisoning her, until the Count actually provides the evidence of poison. 

Alexandre Dumas characterizes Valentine de Villefort to be the epitome of female virtue. She does come across as being overly perfect, but Dumas also uses her to challenge the over-arching theme of revenge and 'visiting the sins of the father upon the children;' Valentine's many redeeming qualities forces the Count to reevaluate his original plan to make the children of his enemies suffer. 

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The Count of Monte Cristo

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