In 1844, the great French author Alexandre Dumas published The Three Musketeers. The novel, full of adventure and excitement, was as much a hit in the 19th century as it remains today! The novel was so successful that Dumas wrote two more installments, Twenty Years After (1845) and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later (1847-1850).
Although Dumas is the author of The Three Musketeers, he isn't the only writer to have worked on it. He wrote the novel in collaboration with Auguste Maquet who would also help Dumas write the sequels and The Count of Monte Cristo (1844).
The Three Musketeers is an action-packed adventure novel. Pixabay.
The Three Musketeers Summary
D'Artagnan leaves Gascony for Paris in the hopes of making a fortune by joining the elite group known as the King's Musketeers. With a letter of introduction, he is introduced to Monsieur de Treville, the captain of the King's Musketeers. After an interview with Monsieur de Treville, d'Artagnan is accepted into the Royal Academy for free where he will learn key skills that will help him become a musketeer.
While Treville writes d'Artagnan his letter of introduction for the academy, d'Artagnan sees the person who robbed him outside the window. On the way to Paris, d'Artagnan got himself into a bit of trouble and he was beaten. D'Artagnan goes after the thief and collides first into Athos, injuring his already wounded shoulder, bumps into Porthos and reveals his counterfeit golden shoulder belt, and offends Aramis by bringing attention to a lady's handkerchief. In a matter of seconds, d'Artagnan has offended the three musketeers.
Athos and d'Artagnon begin dueling but are stopped by the cardinal's guards. Dueling was outlawed and they are all threatened with arrest. The three musketeers join forces with d'Artagnan and they work together to drive the cardinal's guards away. D'Artagnan has now befriended the three musketeers. Next, d'Artagnan's landlord, Bonacieux comes looking for help because Bonacieux's wife, Constance, has been kidnapped—perhaps by the cardinal's guards.
Constance is the queen's linen maid and knows many of the queen's secrets. The cardinal wishes to learn these secrets as revenge for the queen for rejecting his romantic advances. D'Artagnan steps up to the task and rescues Constance. He immediately falls in love with her. Later, d'Artagnan sees Constance walking with an English nobleman, the Duke of Buckingham. It is revealed he is the queen's lover and an enemy of France. The queen has just given the duke a rosewood box with twelve diamond tags.
The queen gifts the duke twelve diamond tags. Pixabay.
The cardinal, who has found out from his spies about the diamond tags, asks the king to throw a ball and have the queen wear the king's gift to her—which is the diamond tags. The queen panics as she knows the diamond tags are now in London with the duke. The cardinal already has a plan in place. He has sent his beautiful spy Milady to London where she will dance with the duke and take two of the diamond tags. The cardinal needs them for his blackmailing scheme.
Constance wants to help the queen and begs d'Artagnan to fetch the diamond tags before the queen's reputation is ruined. D'Artagnan accepts, and along with the three musketeers they set off for London. One by one, the three musketeers are inhibited from aiding d'Artagnan on his dangerous journey by the cardinal's spies. D'Artagnan finally reaches London but it's too late—two of the diamond tags have been stolen.
The duke and d'Artagnan set up a plan. The duke demands his jeweler to make two exact copies of the stolen diamond tags and gives them to d'Artagnan along with the remaining ten diamond tags. In a matter of twelve hours, d'Artagnan has returned to Paris and the queen wears the twelve diamond tags, fooling even the astonishing cardinal. The queen gifts d'Artagnan a beautiful and large diamond ring.
Constance and d'Artagnan agree to rendezvous. After d'Artagnan is warned to leave Paris; the cardinal knows everything and will soon find out about d'Artagnan's journey to London. Constance is abducted once more by the cardinal's guards, but before d'Artagnan notices he seeks out the three musketeers.
Porthos, Athos, and Aramis are all where d'Artagnan left them and the three are all safe. On the way to Paris, the three musketeers reveal they must buy equipment for the king's siege of La Rochelle. However, they need cash to succeed with their mission. At the same time, d'Artagnan is entranced by the beauty of Milady and saves her from a man who turns out to be her brother-in-law, the Lord de Winter. D'Artagnan and de Winter duel. When D'Artagnan beats him, he spares his life prompting de Winter to introduce d'Artagnan to Milady.
While the introduction is happening, Milady's maid falls in love with d'Artagnan and reveals to him a secret: Milady is in love with the Count de Wardes, who D'Artagnan had wounded prior to his London journey. The maid also gives d'Artagnan a love letter Milady wrote to de Wardes. Jealous, d'Artagnan forges a letter by de Ward to give to Milady asking for a nighttime meeting.
D'Artagnan forges letters from de Wardes to Milady. Pixabay.
When d'Artagnan—disguised as de Ward—meets Milady, they have intimate relations. Milady is happy and gives disguised d'Artagnan a sapphire ring with the promise to have d'Artangan killed for hurting de Wardes. Now angry, d'Artagnan forges another letter by de Wardes telling Milady she must wait her turn to see him again. Mildy is so upset she wants d'Artagnan to kill de Wardes, and she sleeps with d'Artagnan. D'Artagnan—in a fit of love and impulse—reveals they had slept together once before when he was disguised as de Wardes.
Milady, angry, tries to kill d'Artagnan. While they fight, her torn nightgown reveals the mark of a convict branded on her shoulder. Milady wants him dead, and d'Artagnan is able to escape. Later, we find out that Milady is Athos' wife he had hanged for being a convict. Or so he thought. Shocked that Milady is still alive, they both decide to sell her sapphire ring and use the money for the king's siege of La Rochelle. Porthos and Aramis also reveal the military equipment they were able to get: Porthos got equipment from an elderly mistress, and Aramis acquired equipment from his friend Madame de Chevreuse.
The king becomes ill, and so d'Artagnan must head out for the siege separate from the three musketeers, as they wait for the king. One day, lonely d'Artagnan walks out alone and is shot at by Milady's hired assassins. They try to kill him once more but they fail. Frustrated, Milady sends poisoned wine to d'Artagnan signing it as a gift from the three musketeers. However, d'Artagnan becomes distracted and doesn't drink the wine right away. Rather, another soldier does and drops dead.
The three musketeers are enjoying their time off when they see the cardinal go to a meeting with Milady at the inn they were staying at. The three decide to spy on the cardinal, and they learn that Milady is on her way to London where she will kill the duke. The cardinal agrees then to take revenge on d'Artagnan.
Milady reaches London but is imprisoned immediately by Lord de Winter. She manipulates her way out of prison by convincing the religious guard that the duke deserves death. Milady runs off to France with her mission to get revenge on d'Artagnan. She goes first to a convent. Constance has been at this convent in order to protect herself. Milady befriends her, and when she hears the three musketeers and d'Artagnan are on their way to get Constance, Milady poisons her. Milady escapes.
Milady is tracked down by the three musketeers and d'Artagnan, and she is executed for her many crimes. When all is revealed to the cardinal, he is horrified to have employed Milady and is impressed by d'Artagnan. The cardinal writes a letter recommending d'Artagnan as a lieutenant for the King's Musketeers. D'Artagnan offers the position to the three musketeers, but they all refuse. D'Artagnan accepts the position.
The Three Musketeers: Characters
The three musketeers play an important role in the novel. Pixabay.
Below are key characters to know from The Three Musketeers.
|D'Artagnan (Charles de Batz de Castelmore d'Artagnan)||The protagonist of the story who wishes to become a musketeer. He is sometimes impulsive and foolish.||"There are people who laugh at the horse that would not dare to laugh at the master" (Chapter I).|
|Athos (Comte de la Fere)||One of the three musketeers who we later learn was married to Milady. He has a taste for wine and often finds solace in it.||"He hoped, by means of loyal excuses, to make a friend of Athos, whose lordly air and austere bearing pleased him much" (Chapter 5).|
|Porthos (M. du Vallon)||One of the three musketeers who enjoys fashion and fortune. He is the strongest of all three.||"Faith! I am going to fight—because I am going to fight" (Chapter 5).|
|Aramis (René d'Herblay)||One of the three musketeers who finds himself at a crossroads between religion and women.||"Aramis, suffering at once in body and mind, had at length fixed his eyes and his thoughts upon religion, and he had considered as a warning from heaven the double accident which had happened to him" (Chapter 26).|
|The Cardinal||Based on the historical Cardinal Richelieu. He schemes against the queen because she refused his romantic advances.||"No one had a more searching eye than the Cardinal de Richelieu, and d’Artagnan felt this glance run through his veins like a fever" (Chapter 40).|
|Constance Bonacieux||The queen's linen maid, who is often kidnapped by the cardinal because she knows the queen's secrets. D'Artagnan falls in love with her.||"Your life is devoted from this moment, and does not belong to you. In the name of the queen I forbid you to throw yourself into any peril which is foreign to that of your journey" (Chapter 18).|
|Milady||The cardinal's spy who uses her beauty and charm to fool people, including d'Artagnan. She was once Athos' wife.||"There is something horribly mysterious under all this, Athos; this woman is one of the cardinal’s spies, I am sure of that" (Chapter 38).|
The Three Musketeers Analysis
Below is a detailed analysis of The Three Musketeers including genre, setting, point of view, writing analysis, and important themes.
The Three Musketeers: Genre
The Three Musketeers belongs to the Historical Fiction genre of literature. This means the story is set in a historical time period and may contain historical figures. However, the plot is a made-up story. The Three Musketeers is set in the historical period between 1625 and 1628 and includes many real historical figures such as the Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis XIII of France, and Queen Anne of Austria.
However, the story of d'Artagnan's adventures with the three musketeers comes purely from the imagination of Alexandre Dumas. The Three Musketeers also falls into the Adventure Fiction genre. Adventure Fiction is characterized by danger, romance, and victory. There is usually a main hero that must go on a noble quest to save someone or something, therefore The Three Musketeers falls neatly into the genre. Adventure Fiction became popular in the mid-19th century when Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers. Other Adventure Fiction authors from the time period include Victor Hugo and Sir Walter Scott.
Dumas was inspired to use the name of D'Artagnan after he read Memoires de Monsieur d'Artagnan (1700).
The Three Musketeers: Setting and Point of View
For the majority of the novel, The Three Musketeers focuses on d'Artagnan, but occasionally the focus drifts to the other characters. The Three Musketeers has a third-person omniscient point of view.
Third-person omniscient is a point of view in which the narrator knows the thoughts, actions, and backgrounds of each of the characters.
However, The Three Musketeers is unique in that the narrator does not focus heavily on the inner thoughts of the characters. Rather, there is more emphasis placed on what the character do.
The story is set in 17th century France during the reign of King Louis XIII. The story's setting is in and around various locations in Paris as well as London. Dumas was known for describing the setting in a way that gave the scene a certain atmosphere.
"It was a quarter past midday. The sun was in its zenith, and the spot chosen for the scene of the duel was exposed to its full ardor" (Chapter 5).
Here is an example of how Dumas sets a scene. A duel is about to take place between the three musketeers and d'Artagnan. By describing the sun at its peak and shining directly on the spot where the duel is about to take place, the reader knows it is going to be particularly hot. This makes the duel more intense and uncomfortable.
Pro tip: While reading through The Three Musketeers, pay particular attention to the descriptions of settings. How and what do they add to the plot?
The Three Musketeers is full of adventure. Pixabay.
The Three Musketeers: Writing Analysis
Dumas was known for his heavily condensed and action-packed plot lines. Within a single paragraph, the reader becomes aware of multiple storylines that will be entirely described. This creates a fast-paced and exciting story to read, which is a key characteristic of an adventure-filled historical fiction novel.
It was a movement of vengeance upon Milady. D’Artagnan believed it right to say that vengeance is the pleasure of the gods. With a little more heart, he might have been contented with this new conquest; but the principal features of his character were ambition and pride. It must, however, be confessed in his justification that the first use he made of his influence over Kitty was to try and find out what had become of Mme. Bonacieux; but the poor girl swore upon the crucifix to D’Artagnan that she was entirely ignorant on that head, her mistress never admitting her into half her secrets—only she believed she could say she was not dead" (Chapter 33).
In this single paragraph, the reader is given many important plot points. We see mention of Milady's revenge plot, Kitty's love for d'Artagnan, and we learn Constance is alive but her location is unknown.
The novel is also full of symbols.
Symbols are objects that represent a certain value or concept throughout a written piece.
The most important symbol within the novel is jewelry, which often indicates some sort of secret affair or deception: The queen gives the duke twelve diamond tags in a rosewood box as a symbol of their secret love affair. Milady gives d'Artagnan a sapphire ring after he deceives her into thinking she had just slept with de Wardes. D'Artagnan is also given a diamond ring by the queen when he helps conceal her secret affair with the duke from the king.
Dumas was also known for infusing his novels, including The Three Musketeers, with imagery. Imagery for Dumas is important as it allows the reader to see the action of an adventure novel more vividly, making it that much more exciting.
And yet, at the very door the Musketeer began to entertain some doubts. The approach was not such as to prepossess people—an ill-smelling, dark passage, a staircase half-lighted by bars through which stole a glimmer from a neighboring yard; on the first floor a low door studded with enormous nails, like the principal gate of the Grand Châtelet" (Chapter 32).
In this scene, regardless of context, Dumas builds suspense with his use of imagery. Porthos is approaching the door of the procurator, whose wife is hosting a dinner. Porthos feels love for her and is therefore nervous. By describing the walk over as dark, odd-smelling, and with the door studded with nails, the reader can feel the tense atmosphere around Porthos.
The Three Musketeers: Themes
There are a few key themes that appear in The Three Musketeers. They include friendship and love.
Without the close friendship between d'Artagnan and the three musketeers, they would not have been able to accomplish their missions. Friendship and camaraderie are key features amongst the group, which was united for the purpose of carrying out the king's duties. Dumas shows that regardless of differences in background and personality, when friendship brings people together, it provides a strong sense of loyalty that overshadows any differences.
Overcome by example, grumbling to himself, nevertheless, Porthos stretched out his hand, and the four friends repeated with one voice the formula dictated by D’Artagnan:
'All for one, one for all.' " (Chapter 9).
Rather than see themselves as individuals who must all stand for themselves, the three musketeers and d'Artagnan are bonded to each other by friendship. Even when arguments may cause tension amongst themselves, they will always unite as a team and have each other's backs.
Love in The Three Musketeers is in its most idealized, fairytale form. When the three musketeers and d'Artagnan see a woman they find beautiful and entrancing, they fall in love right away. Love for a woman means a man must do everything he can to protect her and to worship her. Love therefore is not the real life type of love where two people gradually fall in love with each other. Rather, love in The Three Musketeers is romanticized and represents a time when a man is most foolish and impulsive.
D'Artagnan falls in love with both Constance and Milady and is motivated to protect them both from various situations. When Constance is kidnapped, he makes sure to return her safely. When Milady is bothered by her brother-in-law, d'Artagnan duels him.
Quotes from The Three Musketeers
Below are some important quotes from The Three Musketeers.
In fact, four men such as they were—four men devoted to one another, from their purses to their lives; four men always supporting one another, never yielding, executing singly or together the resolutions formed in common;" (Chapter 8).
What does this excerpt tell you about Dumas' view on friendship?
It was one of those events which decide the life of a man; it was a choice between the king and the cardinal—the choice made, it must be persisted in" (Chapter 5).
This excerpt reveals that loyalties are deciding factors for a man. To whom one is loyal to is a big decision that will impact a man's life forever.
D’Artagnan was not an ordinary man; therefore, while repeating to himself that his death was inevitable, he did not make up his mind to die quietly, as one less courageous and less restrained might have done in his place" (Chapter 5).
D'Artagnan would rather die the way heroes do rather than the way a simple man would. To d'Artagnan, death will come no matter what. Therefore, he should make his death count for something—revealing his brave character.
The Three Musketeers - Key takeaways
- The Three Musketeers was published in 1844 and written by the great French author Alexandre Dumas.
- The novel follows the adventures of D'Artagnan on his journey to become one of the King's Musketeers. Along the way, he becomes close friends with the three musketeers: Porthos, Athos, and Aramis.
- The Three Musketeers belongs to the Historical Fiction and Adventure Fiction genres of literature and is set in France during the early 17th century. It is narrated from the third-person point of view.
- The novel shows off Dumas's skill as a writer. Dumas condenses multiple plot points into single paragraphs to make the novel more exciting and fast-paced for the reader. He also includes a lot of imagery and symbolism.
- The novel contains the themes of friendship and love.
“Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures.” “All for one and one for all.” “All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.”What is the brief summary of 3 musketeers? ›
The Three Musketeers, novel by Alexandre Dumas père, published in French as Les Trois Mousquetaires in 1844. SUMMARY: A historical romance, it relates the adventures of four fictional swashbuckling heroes who lived under the French kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV, who reigned during the 17th and early 18th centuries.What is a cute saying for the 3 musketeers? ›
All for one and one for all. All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall. You are very amiable, no doubt, but you would be charming if you would only depart.What is the first line of The Three Musketeers? ›
Never fear quarrels, but seek adventures.