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After Fernand is dead, Mercédès was single and she loved Edmond Dantès.
Then why didn't she marry him afterward?
Is it because Monte Cristo is a changed person and she did not love the changed man? It is not very convincing to me.

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  • I wouldn't risk to write an answer to this question because I read the novel many years ago. But as far as I remember it is he who doesn't want her anymore, he has a new love and sails away with this woman. I mean to remember it just because at that time it seemed to me very inadequate.
    – Andra
    Dec 22, 2021 at 11:49

1 Answer 1

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Mercédès explains why there can be no fairy-tale ending for her in chapter 112:

“Oh, look at me,” continued she, with a feeling of profound melancholy, “my eyes no longer dazzle by their brilliancy, for the time has long fled since I used to smile on Edmond Dantès, who anxiously looked out for me from the window of yonder garret, then inhabited by his old father. Years of grief have created an abyss between those days and the present. […]

“It often happens,” continued she, “that a first fault destroys the prospects of a whole life. I believed you dead; why did I survive you? What good has it done me to mourn for you eternally in the secret recesses of my heart?—only to make a woman of thirty-nine look like a woman of fifty. Why, having recognized you, and I the only one to do so—why was I able to save my son alone? Ought I not also to have rescued the man that I had accepted for a husband, guilty though he were? Yet I let him die! What do I say? Oh, merciful heavens, was I not accessory to his death by my supine insensibility, by my contempt for him, not remembering, or not willing to remember, that it was for my sake he had become a traitor and a perjurer? In what am I benefited by accompanying my son so far, since I now abandon him, and allow him to depart alone to the baneful climate of Africa? Oh, I have been base, cowardly, I tell you; I have abjured my affections, and like all renegades I am of evil omen to those who surround me! […]

“Like the gulf between me and the past, there is an abyss between you, Edmond, and the rest of mankind; and I tell you freely that the comparison I draw between you and other men will ever be one of my greatest tortures. No, there is nothing in the world to resemble you in worth and goodness! But we must say farewell, Edmond, and let us part.”

Alexandre Dumas (1844). The Count of Monte Cristo, chapter 112. Project Gutenberg.

In other words, too much has happened in the quarter-century since Edmond was taken to the Chateau d’If for her to be able to resurrect her former feelings. The passage of time has created an “abyss” between the happy past and the tragic present. Mercédès knows that (however innocently) she betrayed Edmond by giving him up for dead and marrying his informer Fernand, and she also knows that Edmond plotted (however much justified) to destroy her family. She has rejected her husband’s money, knowing that his fortune was won though his betrayal of Ali Pasha; she rejects Edmond’s charity, and she plans to spend the remainder of her life repenting her sins in poverty and prayer.

So the question does not arise, but even if it did, it seems unlikely that Edmond would accept her:

“He was, then, a more unhappy son than you, Morrel, for he could not even find his father’s grave.”

“But then he had the woman he loved still remaining?”

“You are deceived, Morrel, that woman——”

“She was dead?”

“Worse than that, she was faithless, and had married one of the persecutors of her betrothed. You see, then, Morrel, that he was a more unhappy lover than you.”

Dumas, chapter 113.

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  • Thank you for the answer. I was actually listing it. It was kind of audiobook. I assumed it covered the whole story. Although, they have some interesting points as you mentioned, I feel that, even after taking revenge the count got nothing to live with. Mercedes agreed to marry his enemy but she did it unwillingly and had no idea of these incidents. Further she loved him throughout even after marriage. Hate for her is kinda unfair (imo). Really hoped that life would give him something back what he have lost. Great story. Thanks again for the answer.
    – Baban Gain
    Dec 24, 2021 at 19:33
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    @BabanGain The text does have a happy ending for Monte Cristo. See chapter 117, in which the Count writes, "He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness." Dec 24, 2021 at 21:36
  • Ironically, The Count did not feel that he deserved happiness. So I'm not even sure your second part is correct in its reasoning (he may have rejected Mercedes NOT because she wasn't worthy of him, but because he felt he wasn't worth of happiness). It takes - spoiler alert!!! - a suicide threat from Haydée to make him realize he should accept her love.
    – DVK
    Feb 3, 2023 at 23:07

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