The wicked Fernand Mondego has always lusted after Edmond's fiancee Mercedes. Determined to have her, he hatches a truly diabolical scheme that involves framing Edmond as a traitor. Once Edmond's safely out of the way and rotting in a hell-hole prison cell, Fernand makes his move and tries to persuade Mercedes to marry him. Fernand knows that Mercedes is deeply in love with Edmond and so is likely to wait for him to be released from prison. So he convinces Mercedes that Edmond is dead by publishing what we would nowadays call "fake news," which claims that Edmond has died in prison. Mercedes is truly heartbroken by the news of Edmond's death. Alone and emotionally vulnerable, she is easy prey for the deceitful, scheming Fernand and falls right into his cunning trap.