René d'Herblay, alias Aramis is a fictional character in the novels The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père. He and the other two musketeers Athos and Porthos are friends of the novels' protagonist, d'Artagnan.
The fictional Aramis is loosely based on the historical musketeer Henri d'Aramitz.
Aramis loves and intrigues women, which fits well with the opinions of the time regarding Jesuits and abbots. He is portrayed as constantly ambitious and unsatisfied: as a musketeer, he yearns to become an abbé; but when an abbé he wishes for the life of the soldier. In the books it is revealed he became a musketeer because of a woman and his arrogance: as a young man whose ambition was to become an abbé, he had the misfortune to be caught and thrown out of a house, while (innocently or not) reading to a young woman. For a year, he practiced fencing, every day with the best master swordsman in town to get his revenge. By the time he came back to confront the man who had mistreated him, he had become such an expert swordsman that the fight only lasted a couple of seconds. Because duels were forbidden by royal edict and Aramis was a novitiate, he had to disappear and adopt a very low profile, which led him to enlist in the musketeers corps. There he met Athos and Porthos, then later on d'Artagnan. After a couple of years they work together to bring peace to the king's court and kept the queen's affair with the Duke of Buckingham from being revealed by Cardinal Richelieu, which audacity so impresses the cardinal he helps d'Artagnan into the Musketeers corps.
Aramis seems to be lucky, but it is only a result of his Machiavellian plans and his audacity; every step forward must be used to climb to even greater power. This characteristic leads to his nomination as Superior General of the Jesuits, which is precisely what saves his life, at the end of Le Vicomte De Bragelonne, after he is betrayed by Nicolas Fouquet.
Despite his attitude, Aramis holds very firmly to the sacred concept of friendship. In fact, the only wrong moves Aramis ever made were done when he refused to harm a friend (or a friend's feelings). In Twenty Years After, he followed Athos's pleas to spare Mordaunt, while he was holding him at gunpoint and, in Le Vicomte De Bragelonne, he refused to suppress d'Artagnan, when he discovered the truth about Belle-Ile-En-Mer, and he let Fouquet betray him, instead of assassinating him. Aramis even tells the truth to Porthos about the man in the iron mask's real identity, despite fearing that Porthos would kill him. Friendship is so important to Aramis that it is strongly implied, at the end of Le Vicomte De Bragelonne, that he cried (for the first time in his entire life) when one of his friends died. Later, he explicitly told someone that he considered him a true friend.
Aramis' political intrigues are matched by (and usually connected with) his amorous intrigues, as Dumas casts him in the role of the lover of politically powerful women of his time. In The Three Musketeers ca. 1627, he is the lover of the Duchesse de Chevreuse, the confidant of the queen (and is largely dependent on gold from her to survive, as military pay was low and infrequent), while in Twenty Years After he is the lover (and, it is broadly implied, the father of the son of) the Duchesse de Longueville.
Use of first name 
In contrast to the other musketeers, Aramis is referred to by his first name twice by Dumas: he is christened René. We hear this name when d'Artagnan stumbles upon him and his mistress in the second book (in the chapter: Les Deux Gaspard), and again when Bazin is talking about Aramis in the third. In Twenty Years After he is a Jesuit known as the Abbé d'Herblay (but prefers to go by the title of Chevalier d'Herblay). In The Vicomte de Bragelonne he is the Bishop of Vannes, a title given to him by Nicolas Fouquet and later he became the Superior General of the Jesuits. When he comes back from exile, he is a Spanish noble and ambassador known as Duke of Alameda.
In film and television 
Actors who have played Aramis on screen include:
- Harold M. Shaw, in The Three Musketeers: Parts I and II (1911)
- C.N. Mortensen, in The Three Musketeers (1916)
- Pierre de Guingand, in Les trois mousquetaires (1921)
- Eugene Pallette, in The Three Musketeers (1921)
- Gino Corrado, in The Iron Mask (1929)
- Jean-Louis Allibert, in Les Trois Mousquetaires (1933)
- Onslow Stevens, in The Three Musketeers (1935)
- Robert Coote, in The Three Musketeers (1948)
- Keith Richards, in The Three Musketeers (1950)
- Judd Holdren, in Lady in the Iron Mask (1952)
- Jacques François, in Les Trois Mousquetaires (1953)
- Paul Hansard, in The Three Musketeers (1954)
- Paul Campbell, in The Three Musketeers (1956) and Le Avventure dei tre moschettieri (1957)
- Tim O'Connor, in The Three Musketeers (TV movie) (1960)
- Jaques Toja, in Les Trois Mousquetaires: La Vengeance de Milady (1961) and Les Trois Mousquetaires: Les Ferrets de la Reine (1961)
- Roberto Risso, in D’Artagnan contro i tre moschettieri (1963)
- Gary Watson, in The Three Musketeers (1966)
- John Woodvine, in The Further Adventures of the Three Musketeers (1967)
- Roger Sterckx, in Die Drie Musketiers (1968)
- Colin Fox, in The Three Musketeers (1969)
- Georges Mansart, in Les Quatre Charlots Mousquetaires (1971)
- Richard Chamberlain, in The Three Musketeers (1973), The Four Musketeers (1974), and The Return of the Musketeers (1989)
- Igor Starygin, in D'Artanyan i Tri Mushketyora (1978), Mushketyory 20 let spustya (1992), and Tayna Korolevy Anny ili Mushketyory 30 Let Spustya (1993)
- Lloyd Bridges, in The Fifth Musketeer (1979)
- Eiko Yamada, in Anime San Jushi (1987)
- Charlie Sheen, in The Three Musketeers (1993)
- Sami Frey, in Revenge of the Musketeers (1994)
- William Richert, in an early 1998 film of The Man in the Iron Mask
- Jeremy Irons, in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
- Thomas Beckett, in Three Musketeers (1999)
- Callum Blue, in Young Blades (2001) (unaired TV series pilot)
- Nick Moran, in The Musketeer (2001)
- Allan Corduner, in La Femme Musketeer (TV miniseries) (2003)
- Grégori Derangère, in D'Artagnan et les trois mousquetaires (2005)
- Nick Jonas, in The Three Musketeers (Disney TV series JONAS)
- Luke Evans, in The Three Musketeers (film in 3D) (2011)