Villefort tumbles out of the judicial proceeding and heads homeward in a carriage, thinking that, since he himself has been blackened with guilt for many years, he was in no position to judge his wife. He intends to go home and tell Heloise that they should flee France together, along with their child Edouard.
Villefort nevertheless must figure out where to go now. At his own condemnation, he chooses to find his wife and ask that they flee together, despite knowing that his wife has tried to murder his own daughter.
But when Villefort reaches the home, he sees that his wife Heloise has poisoned herself and Edouard in a scene that is as macabre as it is unbelievable. In another room, Villefort finds the Abbe Busoni again with Noirtier, and Abbe Busoni reveals himself to be both the Count and Edmond Dantes. At this Villefort loses his mind, becoming wracked with madness and grief. When the Count realizes that he has brought on the death not only of Heloise, but also of the young child Edouard, he worries he has done too much in the name of vengeance, and he goes off to collect Maximilien Morrel and begin the flight from Paris, saying that they will “save” Villefort’s other children in an effort to redeem what the Count fears is vengeance “gone too far.”
This is one of the most horrific passages in the novel. Villefort realizes that his wife, in order to “protect” herself and her son, has killed them both. Thus, at this point in the text, Villefort believes he has no family at all, for he has been convinced that his daughter Valentine is also dead. The Count has brought down a perfect ruination on Villefort’s head. But the Count’s actions have also resulted in the death of an innocent boy, Edouard, who had no part in these crimes. The Count thus finds himself at a moral crossroads, as he has reached the limits of his own desire for vengeance and their impact on innocent people around him.