The Three Musketeers

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For the novel's film adaptations, see The Three Musketeers in film.
The Three Musketeers
Dartagnan-musketeers.jpg
"Athos, Porthos, Aramis & D'Artagnan"
Image by Maurice Leloir, 1894
Author Alexandre Dumas
in collaboration with Auguste Maquet
Original title Les Trois Mousquetaires
Country France
Language French
Genre Historical novel
Publication date
March–July 1844 (serialised)
Followed by Twenty Years After, The Vicomte of Bragelonne

The Three Musketeers (French: Les Trois Mousquetaires [le tʁwa muskətɛʁ]) is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, first serialized in March–July 1844. Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the Musketeers of the Guard. D'Artagnan is not one of the musketeers of the title; those being his friends Athos, Porthos and Aramis, inseparable friends who live by the motto "all for one, one for all" ("tous pour un, un pour tous"), a motto which is first put forth by d'Artagnan.[1]

The story of d'Artagnan is continued in Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. Those three novels by Dumas are together known as the d'Artagnan Romances.

The Three Musketeers was first published in serial form in the newspaper Le Siècle between March and July 1844.

When Alexandre Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers, he also was a practising fencer and like many other French gentlemen of his generation he attended the schools for Canne de combat and Savate of Michel Casseux, Charles Lecour[2] and Joseph Charlemont (who had been a regular fencing instructor in the French army).

Origin[edit]

In the very first sentences of his preface, Alexandre Dumas indicated as his source Mémoires de Monsieur d'Artagnan (1700), a historical novel by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, which Dumas discovered during his research for his history of Louis XIV, printed by Pierre Rouge in Amsterdam.[3] It was in this book, he said, that d'Artagnan relates his first visit to M. de Tréville, captain of the Musketeers, where in the antechamber he met three young men with the names Athos, Porthos and Aramis. This information struck the imagination of Dumas so much—he tells us—that he continued his investigation and finally encountered once more the names of the three musketeers in a manuscript with the title Mémoire de M. le comte de la Fère, etc.. Elated—so continues his yarn—he asked permission to reprint the manuscript. Permission granted:

Now, this is the first part of this precious manuscript which we offer to our readers, restoring it to the title which belongs to it, and entering into an engagement that if (of which we have no doubt) this first part should obtain the success it merits, we will publish the second immediately.

In the meanwhile, since godfathers are second fathers, as it were, we beg the reader to lay to our account, and not to that of the Comte de la Fère, the pleasure or the ennui he may experience.

This being understood, let us proceed with our story.[4]

The book he referred to was Mémoires de M. d'Artagnan, capitaine lieutenant de la première compagnie des Mousquetaires du Roi (Memoirs of Mister d'Artagnan, Lieutenant Captain of the first company of the King's Musketeers) by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras (Cologne, 1700). The book was borrowed from the Marseille public library, and the card-index remains to this day; Dumas kept the book when he went back to Paris.[citation needed]

Following Dumas's lead in his preface, Eugène d'Auriac (de la Bibliothèque Royale) in 1847 was able to write the biography of d'Artagnan: d'Artagnan, Capitaine-Lieutenant des Mousquetaires– Sa vie aventureuse– Ses duels– etc. based on Courtilz de Sandras.[5]

Plot summary[edit]

In 1625 France, d'Artagnan—a poor young nobleman—leaves his family in Gascony and travels to Paris to join the Musketeers of the Guard. At an inn in Meung-sur-Loire, an older man derides d'Artagnan's horse. Insulted, d'Artagnan demands a duel with him. The older man's companions beat d'Artagnan unconscious with a cooking pot and a metal tong that breaks his sword. His letter of introduction to Monsieur de Tréville, the commander of the Musketeers, is stolen. D'Artagnan resolves to avenge himself upon the man (who is later revealed to be the Comte de Rochefort, an agent of Cardinal Richelieu, who is in Meung to pass orders from the Cardinal to Milady de Winter, another of his agents).

Monument to Four Musketeers in Condom, France (by Zurab Tsereteli)

In Paris, d'Artagnan visits de Tréville at the headquarters of the Musketeers, but the meeting is overshadowed by the loss of his letter, and de Tréville politely refuses his application. He does, however, write a letter of introduction to an academy for young gentlemen, which may prepare him for recruitment at a later time. From de Tréville's window, d'Artagnan sees Rochefort passing in the street below and rushes out of the building to confront him, but in doing so he separately causes offence to three of the Musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, who each demand satisfaction; D'Artagnan must duel each of them in turn that afternoon.

When d'Artagnan prepares himself for the first of the three duels, he realizes that Athos' seconds are Porthos and Aramis, who are astonished that the young Gascon intends to duel them all. As d'Artagnan and Athos begin, Cardinal Richelieu's guards appear and try to arrest d'Artagnan and the three Musketeers for illegal dueling. Although outnumbered, the four men win the battle. D'Artagnan seriously wounds Jussac, one of the Cardinal's officers and a renowned fighter. After learning of this event, King Louis XIII appoints d'Artagnan to des Essart's company of the King's Guards and gives him forty pistoles.

D'Artagnan hires a servant, Planchet; finds lodgings; and reports to Monsieur des Essart. Des Essart's company of Guards is a less prestigious regiment in which he must serve for two years before being considered for the Musketeers. Shortly after, his landlord speaks with him about his wife's kidnapping (she is released presently). D'Artagnan falls in love at first sight with the pretty young wife, Constance Bonacieux. She works for the Queen Consort of France, Anne of Austria, who is secretly conducting an affair with the Duke of Buckingham. The Queen has received a gift of diamond studs from her husband Louis XIII. Anne gives the diamonds to her lover as a keepsake. Cardinal Richelieu, who wants war between France and England, plans to expose the tryst. He persuades the King to demand that the Queen wear the diamonds to a soirée that the Cardinal is sponsoring.

Constance tries to send her cowardly husband to London, but the man is manipulated by Richelieu and does not go. D'Artagnan and his friends intercede. En route they are repeatedly attacked by the Cardinal's henchmen, and only d'Artagnan and Planchet reach London. Before their arrival, d'Artagnan is compelled to assault and nearly kill the Comte de Wardes, who is a friend of the Cardinal, a cousin of Rochefort, and Milady's lover. Although two of the diamond studs have been stolen by Milady, the Duke of Buckingham is able to provide replacements while delaying the thief's return to Paris. D'Artagnan is thus able to return a complete set of jewels to Queen Anne just in time to save her honor. He receives from her a beautiful ring as an expression of her gratitude.

Shortly afterwards, d'Artagnan begins an affair with Madame Bonacieux. Arriving for one of their assignations, he notices signs of a struggle and discovers that Rochefort and M. Bonacieux, acting under the orders of the Cardinal, have assaulted and imprisoned her.

D'Artagnan retrieves his friends, who have just recovered from their injuries, and brings them back to Paris. D'Artagnan meets Milady de Winter officially, and recognizes her as one of the Cardinal's agents from Meung, but this does not deter him. D'Artagnan becomes infatuated with the beautiful lady, but her handmaiden reveals that Milady is indifferent toward him. Entering her quarters in the dark, he pretends to be the Comte de Wardes and trysts with her. He finds a fleur-de-lis branded on Milady's shoulder, marking her as a felon. Discovering his identity, Milady attempts to kill him, but d'Artagnan eludes her. He is ordered to the siege of La Rochelle.

He is informed that the Queen has rescued Constance from prison. In an inn, the musketeers overhear the Cardinal asking Milady to murder the Duke of Buckingham, a supporter of the Protestant rebels at La Rochelle who has sent troops to assist them. Richelieu gives her a letter that excuses her actions as under orders from the Cardinal himself, but Athos takes it from her. The next morning, Athos bets that he, d'Artagnan, Porthos, and Aramis, and their servants can hold the recaptured St. Gervais bastion against the rebels for an hour. They resist for an hour and a half before retreating, killing 22 Rochellese in total. They warn Lord de Winter and the Duke of Buckingham. Milady is imprisoned on arrival in England but seduces her guard, Felton (a fictionalization of the real John Felton), and persuades him to allow her escape and to kill Buckingham himself.

On her return to France, Milady hides in a convent where Constance is also staying. The naive Constance clings to Milady, who sees a chance to avenge herself on d'Artagnan. Milady fatally poisons Constance before d'Artagnan can rescue her.

The Musketeers apprehend Milady before she can reach the protection of Cardinal Richelieu. They bring an official executioner, put her on trial and sentence her to death. After her execution, the four friends return to the siege of La Rochelle. The Comte de Rochefort arrests d'Artagnan and takes him straight to the Cardinal. When questioned about Milady's execution, d'Artagnan presents her letter of pardon as his own. The Cardinal laughs at this arrogance, but he is impressed with d'Artagnan's wilfulness. Secretly glad to be rid of the treacherous Milady, the Cardinal destroys the letter and writes a new order, giving the bearer a promotion to lieutenant in de Treville's company of musketeers, leaving the name blank. D'Artagnan then offers the letter to Athos, Porthos, and Aramis in turn, but each refuses it proclaiming d'Artagnan the most worthy among them.

The siege of La Rochelle ends in 1628. Aramis retires to a monastery, Porthos marries his wealthy mistress, and Athos serves in the Musketeers under D'Artagnan until 1631, when he retires to his mansion in the countryside.

The four Musketeers meet again in Twenty Years After.

Important characters[edit]

Musketeers
  • Athos – The last Musketeer to be introduced. He seems immune to romantic feeling, though we learn late in the novel that this hasn't always been the case. He becomes a father figure to d'Artagnan.
  • Aramis – A deeply religious younger Musketeer.
  • Porthos – A dandy, fond of fashionable clothes.
  • d'Artagnan – He is not one of the "Three Musketeers" in the sense that although he is in fact a musketeer, he is attached to des Essarts' company instead of de Treville's. The novel is about him becoming one of the musketeers.
Musketeers' servants
  • Planchet – a young man from Picardy, he is seen by Porthos on the Pont de la Tournelle spitting into the river below. Porthos takes this as a sign of good character and hires him on the spot to serve d'Artagnan. He turns out to be a brave, intelligent and loyal servant.
  • Grimaud – a Breton. Athos is a strict master, and only permits his servant to speak in emergencies; he mostly communicates through sign language.
  • Mousqueton – originally a Norman named Boniface; Porthos, however changes his name to one that sounds better. He is a would-be dandy, just as vain as his master. In lieu of pay, he is clothed and lodged in a manner superior to that usual for servants, dressing grandly in his master's old clothes.
  • Bazin – from the province of Berry, Bazin is a pious man who waits for the day his master (Aramis) will join the church, as he has always dreamed of serving a priest. Also, he enchants many ladies.
Others
  • Milady de Winter – A beautiful but evil spy of the Cardinal and Athos's ex-wife. D'Artagnan has a brief relationship with her, but comes to his senses about her demise.
  • Rochefort is essential to the plot. Following their duel on the road to Paris, d'Artagnan swears to have his revenge. He loses several opportunities, but their paths finally cross again towards the end of the novel.
  • Queen Anne of Austria – The unhappy Queen of France.
  • M. de Tréville – Captain of The Musketeers, and something of a mentor to d'Artagnan, though he has only a minor role.
  • Constance Bonacieux – The Queen's seamstress and confidante. After d'Artagnan rescues her from the Cardinal's guard, he immediately falls in love with her. She appreciates his protection, but the relationship is never consummated.
  • George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
  • Monsieur Bonacieux – Constance's husband. He initially enlists d'Artagnan's help to rescue his wife from the Cardinal's guards, but when he himself is arrested, he and the Cardinal discover they have an understanding. Richelieu turns Monsieur Bonancieux against his wife, and he goes on to play a role in her abduction.
  • Kitty – A servant of Milady de Winter. She dislikes her mistress, and pities d'Artagnan.
  • John Felton – Assigned to guard Milady. However, she makes him fall in love with her, and he helps her escape.

Editions[edit]

Les Trois Mousquetaires was translated into three English versions by 1846. One of these, by William Barrow (1817-1877), is still in print and fairly faithful to the original, available in the Oxford World's Classics 1999 edition. To conform to 19th-century English standards, all of the explicit and many of the implicit references to sexuality were removed, adversely affecting the readability of several scenes, such as the scenes between d'Artagnan and Milady.

The most recent and now standard English translation is by Richard Pevear (2006), who in his introduction notes that most of the modern translations available today are "textbook examples of bad translation practices" which "give their readers an extremely distorted notion of Dumas' writing."[6]

Adaptations[edit]

The Three Musketeers is a musical with a book by William Anthony McGuire, lyrics by Clifford Grey and P. G. Wodehouse, and music by Rudolf Friml. The original 1928 production ran on Broadway for 318 performances. A 1984 revival ran for 15 previews and 9 performances. In 2003 a Dutch musical 3 Musketiers premiered, which went on to open in Germany (both the Dutch and German production starring Pia Douwes as Milady De Winter) and Hungary.

1995 saw the release by publisher U.S. Gold of Touché: The Adventures of the Fifth Musketeer by video game developers Clipper Software, a classic point-and-click adventure game.[7] In 2005, Swedish developer Legendo Entertainment published the side-scrolling platform game The Three Musketeers for Windows XP and Windows Vista. In July 2009, a version of the game was released for WiiWare in North America and Europe under the title The Three Musketeers: One for All!.[8] In 2009, Canadian developer Dingo Games self-published The Three Musketeers: The Game for Windows and Mac OS X. It is the first game to be truly based on the novel (in that it closely follows the novel's story).[9] 2009 also saw the publication of the asymmetric team board game The Three Musketeers "The Queen's Pendants" (Настольная игра «Три мушкетера») from French designer Pascal Bernard[10] by the Russian publisher Zvezda.[11]

Three Musketeers, Issue #1, Classic Comics, published 1941

The Young Blades television series is a sequel to the novels, centered on the son of d'Artagnan; similarly, Albert the Fifth Musketeer is an animated sequel. Three Musketeers is an anime series adaption, while The Three Musketeers was an animated adaption that aired as part of Hanna-Barbera's The Banana Splits Comedy-Adventure Hour & The Banana Splits & Friends show.

The Three Musketeers was adapted as a serial by the BBC in 1954 and 1966. The Musketeers, a 2014 series by Adrian Hodges, is another BBC adaptation.[12]

Publisher Albert Lewis Kanter (1897–1973), created Classic Comics for Elliot Publishing Company in 1941 with its debut issues being The Three Musketeers. The Three Mouseketeers was the title of two separate series produced by DC Comics; the first series was a loose parody of The Three Musketeers.

In 1939, American author Tiffany Thayer published a book entitled Three Musketeers (Thayer, 1939). This is a re-telling of the story in Thayer's words, true to the original plot but told in a different order and with different points of view and emphasis from the original. The Khaavren Romances by Steven Brust are fantasy novels heavily influenced by The Three Musketeers and its sequels—indeed they are almost a rewriting of the Dumas novels in a fantasy setting.

See The Three Musketeers in film for the numerous appearance of the characters in film.

In 2010, Anuman Interactive launched The Three Musketeers, a hidden object game on PC and MAC. Players follow d’Artagnan in his quest to become a king’s musketeer.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers, chapter 9. 
  2. ^ "They held public demonstrations and their classes included nobility, aristocrats and personalities such as Eugene Sue, Alphose Karr, Theophile Gautier and the author of The Three Musketeers, Alexander Dumas.". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  3. ^ "Les Trois Mousquetaires by Alexandre Dumas - Free Ebook : Author's Preface". Gutenberg.org. 2004-11-04. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  4. ^ Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers, Author's Preface. 
  5. ^ Editions de La Table Ronde, Paris, 1993 ISBN 2-7103-0559-3
  6. ^ Dumas, Alexandre The Three Musketeers, Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, "A Note on the Translation", page xxi
  7. ^ Touché: The Adventures of the Fifth Musketeer, Moby Games
  8. ^ "The Three Musketeers: One for All! (WiiWare)". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  9. ^ The Three Musketeers: The Game, Moby Games
  10. ^ "Pascal Bernard - Board Game Designer". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "Звезда. Настольные игры. Сборные модели и миниатюры." (in Russian). Zvezda. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  12. ^ Strecker, Erin (August 1, 2012). "One for all: BBC announces new show 'The Musketeers'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  13. ^ "HdO Adventure series | GamesIndustry International". Gamesindustry.biz. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 

References[edit]

  • Cooper, Barbara T., "Alexandre Dumas, père", in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 119: Nineteenth-Century French Fiction Writers: Romanticism and Realism, 1800–1860, edited by Catharine Savage Brosman, Gale Research, 1992, pp. 98–119.
  • Hemmings, F. W. J., "Alexandre Dumas Père", in European Writers: The Romantic Century, Vol. 6, edited by Jacques Barzun and George Stade, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1985, pp. 719–43.
  • Foote-Greenwell, Victoria, "The Life and Resurrection of Alexandre Dumas", in Smithsonian, July 1996, p. 110.
  • Thayer, Tiffany, "Three Musketeers", New York: Citadel Press, 1939. (On the hard cover, the title is printed as "Tiffany Thayer's Three Musketeers".)
  • Discussion of the work, bibliography and links
  • Bibliography and references for The Three Musketeers

External links[edit]