The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
Albert de Morcerf
Albert is the son of Fernand and Mercédès. When you first met him, you probably hated him, yeah? When he's in Rome, he doesn't do as the Romans do; he acts like an arrogant little brat, more concerned with living it up than anything else. His carelessness – he doesn't heed Signor Pastrini's warning about Luigi Vampa – leads to his being kidnapped and held for ransom. But even then he seems unfazed by the whole ordeal. Luigi Vampa "used to his prisoners trembling before him," is stupefied to see Albert totally unaffected, while Franz is "delighted" that his friend "had upheld the honour of their nation, even when dealing with a bandit" (37.131).
At this point, we begin to see another side of Albert. He's gracious enough to invite the Count to Paris; when the Count arrives – exactly on time – he finds that Albert is a devoted son and a young man of discernment, at least when it comes to interior decorating.
But Albert's commitment to "upholding honor," the very thing that Franz most admires in him during the Luigi Vampa episode, leads to some dicey situations. He very nearly duels with both Beauchamp and the Count, but he comes to his senses before any blood is shed.
Humbled by his father's disgrace, he reveals yet another side of himself; he perseveres, he starts a new life. He joins the army, like his father before, him, but we can be pretty sure that he's going to carry himself a bit differently than his father did. As Mercédès tells him,
"Whatever path you follow, you will soon make this name illustrious in it. So, my friend, come back in the world, made still more brilliant by your past misfortunes; and if that is not to be, despite all my expectations, at least leave me that hope." (91.45)