The Three Musketeers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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)
Media type Print (Hardcover)
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 are 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 Lecour2 and Joseph Charlemont (who had been a regular fencing instructor in the French army).

Origin

In the very first sentences of his preface, Alexandre Dumas indicated as his source Mémoires de Monsieur d'Artagnan, printed by Pierre Rouge in Amsterdam. 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, as the godfather is a second father, 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 history.3

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.4

Plot summary

In 1625 France, d'Artagnan—a poor young nobleman—leaves his family in Gascony and travels to Paris with the intention of joining the Musketeers of the Guard. However, en route, at an inn in Meung-sur-Loire, an older man derides d'Artagnan's horse and, feeling insulted, d'Artagnan demands to fight a duel with him. The older man's companions beat d'Artagnan unconscious with a 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 refuses his application to join. 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' counterparts are actually Porthos and Aramis. But just as he and Athos begin to fight, Cardinal Richelieu's guards appear; they try to arrest d'Artagnan and the three Musketeers for illegal dueling. Although outnumbered, the four men win the battle that follows. In the course of events, d'Artagnan duels with and 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 guards and gives him forty pistoles (gold coins).

D'Artagnan hires a servant, Planchet, finds lodgings, and, by decree of the King, joins Monsieur des Essart's company of Guards, a less prestigious regiment in which he must serve for two years before being considered for the Musketeers. Shortly after his landlord comes to see him to talk about his wife's kidnapping (she is released presently), he falls in love at first sight with his landlord's 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 just received a gift from her husband Louis XIII, and trying to console her lover, she gives him the diamonds as a keepsake. Cardinal Richelieu, who tries to start a war between France and England, wants to reveal that. Quickly he organizes an event and persuades the king into demanding that his wife wear the diamonds at this opportunity.

Constance doesn't succeed in sending her cowardly husband, who has been manipulated by Richelieu, to London, but d'Artagnan and his friends decide to help. On their mission they are frequently attacked by the cardinal's henchmen and therefore only d'Artagnan and Planchet arrive in London (although Planchet does not accompany d'Artagnan to see Buckingham). In the process of getting to England, d'Artagnan is compelled to assault and nearly kill the Comte de Wardes, a friend of the Cardinal's, cousin to de 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 façade of honor and receives from her a beautiful ring as an expression of her gratitude. Shortly afterwards, d'Artagnan attends a tryst with Madame Bonacieux, but she does not open her door. He notices signs of a struggle, and, asking about, discovers that de Rochefort and Monsieur Bonacieux, acting under the orders of the Cardinal, have assaulted and imprisoned her.

D'Artagnan looks after his friends, who have just recovered from their injuries. He brings them back to Paris and meets Milady de Winter officially. He recognizes her from Meung as one of the Cardinal's agents, but this does not deter him. D'Artagnan quickly develops a love on the beautiful lady but learns from her handmaiden that she is in fact quite indifferent toward him. Later, though, after attending a tryst with her while pretending to be the Comte de Wardes (the lights are out), he also discovers a fleur-de-lis branded on Milady's shoulder, marking her as a felon. D'Artagnan eludes her attempt on his life and is ordered to the siege of La Rochelle.

Milady continually fails to kill d'Artagnan, and he is informed that the Queen has managed to save Constance from prison. In an inn, the musketeers overhear the Cardinal asking Milady to murder the Duke of Buckingham (who supports the Protestant rebels at La Rochelle and in fact had organized a landing at Île de Ré with 6,000 men a few months earlier specifically to encourage the rebellion in the city). He even gives her a categorical pardon in written form, but Athos takes it from her. The next morning, Athos, in search of a quiet place to talk, makes a bet that he, d'Artagnan, Porthos, and Aramis, and their servants, Grimaud, Planchet, Mosqueton, and Bazin, can hold the St. Gervais bastion (captured by des Essart's company shortly beforehand) for an hour. They get away after an hour and a half, killing 22 Rochellese in total, and finding a way to warn Lord de Winter and the Duke of Buckingham. Milady is imprisoned on arrival in England but soon seduces her guard, Felton (a fictionalization of the real John Felton), and persuades him both to allow her escape and to kill Buckingham, which he does.

On her return to France Milady hides in a convent, where she discovers Constance Bonacieux is also staying. The naive Constance clings to Milady, who sees a chance to get back at d'Artagnan who has crossed her plans with his friends more than once, and fatally poisons Constance before d'Artagnan can retrieve her.

The Musketeers manage to find Milady before she can be rewarded and sheltered by Cardinal Richelieu. They come with an official executioner, put her to trial and sentence her to death. After her execution the four friends return to the siege of La Rochelle. They encounter the dodgy gentleman who has bothered d'Artagnan all the way. The Count of Rochefort arrests d'Artagnan and takes him straight to the Cardinal. When asked about Milady's fate, d'Artagnan can save himself by delivering the Cardinal's endorsement, which had been written for Milady and certifies that the deeds of the carrier are by all means approved by the Cardinal. This does not in and of itself protect him, as it only makes the Cardinal laugh. However, impressed with d'Artagnan's cheek and boldness, and secretly glad to be rid of the treacherous Milady, the Cardinal tears the letter of endorsement up and writes a new order, giving the bearer a promotion to lieutenant in de Treville's company of guards. The Cardinal states that anyone can take the order, but to keep in mind it was intended for d'Artagnan. He takes it to Athos, Porthos, and Aramis in turn, but each refuses it, proclaiming d'Artagnan the more worthy man.

The siege of La Rochelle ends in 1628, which also marks the end of the book. 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 now four Musketeers meet again in Twenty Years After.

Important characters

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

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."5

Adaptations

Theatre

A stage adaptation of The Three Musketeers by English-born playwright and author Peter Raby premiered at Canada’s Stratford Festival in 1968. Written specifically for the Festival’s distinctive thrust stage, Raby’s play has been revived in three subsequent Stratford seasons: 1988, 2000 and 2013.

Musical theatre

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. Composer George Stiles, lyricist Paul Leigh and playwright Peter Raby have produced another version (under the title The 3 Musketeers, One Musical For All), which opened at the American Musical Theatre of San José on 10 March 2001. There are a number of little known opera versions by composers Xyndas in 1855, Visetti in 1871, Dionesi in 1888, de Lara in 1921 and Benatzsky in 1929

Films

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

Records

The story was dramatized, simplified (among other changes, the character of Milady was omitted), and recorded on four 12" 78rpm shellac Columbia records, with Errol Flynn as d'Artagnan, narrating how he became a musketeer, with opening, closing and bridging music provided by Carmen Dragon's orchestra, and sound effects. The three musketeers are incapacitated in a gun fight with Richelieu's men on side 4 and do not return until the final scene on side 8.

Games

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.6 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!.7 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).8 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 Bernard9 by the Russian publisher Zvezda.10

Television

Comics

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

Other

Influence on later works

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. For example, the book opens with the scene of Milady's youth and how she came to be branded, and more development of her early character, making her later scheming more believable and understandable. Thayer's treatment of sex and sexual politics is more explicit than typical English translations of the original, occasionally leading to consternation when this book found its way to library children's sections and school libraries. The modern Chinese author Jin Yong is also said to have been influenced by his works. 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 also

Notes

References

  • 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

Editions

Misc







Creative Commons License