In this brief chapter, Villefort finally confronts his wife Heloise after many days spent going over evidence—evidence not only of the poisonings in his own home, but also in the case regarding Benedetto, now known publicly as the Benedetto Affair (because it involves the famous Count).
This affair has taken over Paris, and indeed every affair involving the Count seems to be of citywide, and indeed national, importance. In the space of only a few months, the Count has placed himself in the center of French social life.
Villefort abruptly asks Heloise if she still has the poison she has used on the Saint-Merans, Barrois, and Valentine. He says that he asks not because he will denounce her publically, but instead because he expects her to do the honorable thing and commit suicide at her earliest convenience. If she does not do this in the next day, he warns, he will send her to prison, which will result in her eventual execution.
Once again, the idea of suicide as a noble alternative arises. It is unclear whether Villefort wishes that his wife commit suicide to spare him shame, or whether he genuinely wishes that she be spared this shame herself. Nevertheless, he advocates for the same route that Fernand has taken.