In The Count of Monte Cristo, we are introduced to Mercedes a young Catalan beauty, who is engaged to Dantes. After Dantes’ imprisonment and supposed death, Mercedes marries her cousin and friend, Fernand. When she discovers Dantes is still alive she continues to love him, but is faithful in her marriage, unlike some other characters. Mercedes is a wonderful mother to Albert but is soon left with nothing when Fernand kills himself leaving her and Albert little to live on. Mercedes displays three distinct character traits in The Count of Monte Cristo.
The first is resiliency, the second, is loyalty and attachment, and the third d, accomplishment.
Mercedes displays her resiliency when she believes that Dantes is dead, she does not resort to despair, but plods on in her life, and marries her cousin and friend Fernand, knowing that he will take care of her. Years later, when her husband dies and she is left with next to nothing, she still does not complain.
She displays absolute happiness and is not swayed by the unfavorable circumstances all around her. She says on page 1140, “I am not unhappy while I have my son, I never shall be as long as I have him.” Later, page 1141 says, “The saintly woman realized that it was wrong to let her son bear all the weight of their sacrifice.”
Debray realizes that Mercedes, “unjustly struck down, sublime in her misfortune, considered herself rich with a few pence.” Mercedes does not crumple into despair, but continues onward and allows her son to join the army because she knows that this is an appropriate course of action for a young man in his position.
Mercedes is a loyal character and truly attached to others. Mercedes cares for her son and stops Dantes from attempting to kill Albert in a duel, and then seems to accept the sacrifice Dantes said he would make. What she did was probably talk to her son, and remind him that humbling himself would be more honorable in God’s eyes than a bloody duel. This also demonstrated her loyalty to Dantes, because even though she seemed to accept his sacrifice, she had faith that Albert would follow her advice and ask for forgiveness, thus saving Dantes. Mercedes is faithful in her marriage to Fernand, whom she respects and treats properly. However, she is ever loyal to Dantes and even has a picture, painted of herself, looking out to sea. This image depicts her loyalty to Dantes because she is aware that he was thrown into the sea and she respects his memory. On page 984 Mercedes says to Dantes, “You are as I have never ceased to think of you, as I have never ceased to love you.”
When she is left without money, she is selfless and thinks of Albert and his desires and wishes. It is evident that she truly was a good mother because she has taught her son Albert to be loyal and noble like she is. On page 1138 she and Albert have a wonderful mother-son moment, “These two noble and intelligent creatures, indissolubly linked by ties of maternal and filial love, could understand one another without speaking and economize on all the niceties required between friends to accept the material truth on which life depends.” While Mercedes is loyal in her love for Dantes, she is also a faithful wife to Morcef and a loving and loyal mother to Albert, her son.
Mercedes grows in accomplishment and wisdom throughout her life. She has risen from the peasant fishing class to the honorable and noble class. She was once an orphan asking for food and grew to a position in which she is mainly self-sufficient, and cares for others. She took it into her hands to educate herself and then demands the respect she deserves. On page 264 Caderousse tells “Abbe Busoni” that, “Mercedes is one of the greatest ladies in Paris. She could have been a queen if the crown was only reserved for the most lovely and most intelligent heads. Her fortune was already growing and she grew with it. She learned to draw, she studied music, and she learned everything.” She later trains Albert up in the way that he should go and teaches him to think and to reason. On pages 478 and 479, she queries him about the Count. She asks, “Do you think that the count is all that he appears to be? How old do you think the count is? Has this man conceived a liking for you? Do you also like him?” Mercedes has educated herself to become elevated in society, and then she is a good mother and also teaches her son Albert.
Towards the end of the story, Mercedes has lost her husband, all of her wealth and her son has gone to war. Recognizing her inability to care for herself, she retires to a convent. Life has not been gentle for Mercedes.