The following chapter introduces Monsieur de Villefort , a deputy public prosecutor. He, like Dantes, is about to be married. His marriage feast is interrupted by news of Dantes' arrest. Villefort must attend to Dantes' case. He thus leaves his betrothal party. Villefort is a staunch royalist, whose father is a Bonapartist. Thus, Villefort must prove his political opinion by dealing harshly with Bonapartist conspirators. Dantes makes a favorable impression on Villefort, however. He has a candid air even with his inquisitor. He reveals how he landed on the island of Elba and was given a letter by Napoleon to be delivered to Paris. The fact that he was merely carrying out orders of the dying Captain Leclere seems to prove Dantes as innocent. Villefort is about to release Dantes, yet when Dantes reveals to him to whom the letter was addressed he immediately changes his mind. The letter was addressed to Noirtier, who happens to be Villefort's Bonapartist father. Thus, Villefort must now try to cover the conspiracy to save his own name. He thus burns the letter, and tells Dantes to deny its existence. He will keep Dantes a prisoner. At the close of the chapter Villefort even thinks of a way to turn the letter, which could have ruined him, into a fortune. How he will do this is yet to be revealed.
On the day of his betrothal, Edmond tells Caderousse,
"I cannot think that man is meant to find happiness so happily! Happiness is like one of those palaces on an enchanted island, its gates guarded by dragons. One must fight to gain it; and, in truth, I do not know what I have done to deserve the good fortune of becoming Mercédès' husband." ()
Young Edmond doesn't usually have insights like these. He's innocent, naïve, and forgiving, maybe not quite so naïve as his father, but close. Every time he tells someone – whether Villefort or Faria – that he can't think why someone would want to hurt him, the more obvious his innocence, his ignorance of human nature, becomes. This exchange between Faria and Edmond is a good example:
Hence the maxim: if you wish to find the guilty party, first discover whose interests the crime serves! Whose interests might be served by your disappearance?
No one's for heaven's sake! I was so insignificant . (-58)
Faria goes on to make the point that, in the scheme of things, no one is insignificant, and before you can say "revenge" Edmond has finally realized how he ended up in prison.
That realization marks the beginning of Edmond's transformation into the Count, for even before he has the title, the treasure, and the tools, he has the thirst for revenge; and that thirst for revenge is awakened by the recognition of his enemies. As Abbé Faria says – in case you haven't noticed, the abbé is usually right about most things – "I have insinuated a feeling into your heart that was not previously there: the desire for revenge" (). It's that desire that gives him the resolve to escape prison and find the treasure. It's what you might call the moment of the Count of Monte Cristo's conception.