1. Defining the play
17th century Paris..
The primary friendship featured in The Three Musketeers is between four young gentlemen devoted to the King. Their friendship allows them to combine forces and defeat evil powers that might...
D’Artagnan arrives in Paris with almost no money, hoping to become a Musketeer. A penniless youth arrives in the city who has a lot of pride and mad sword fighting skills, so let’s see how he makes out in the sophisticated world of 17th century Paris..
2.2 Rising action
D’Artagnan fights with the Musketeers against the Cardinal’s Guards, and makes friends with said Musketeers. D’Artagnan’s pride leads him to challenge three different Musketeers to a duel. He schedules them back-to-back, but before the first fight can commence, the Cardinal’s Guards ride up and attempt to arrest them. (Dueling is illegal, but everyone does it anyway). The four men decide to take a stand and resist arrest. It ends up being quite a good fight, with the Musketeers plus D’Artagnan victorious. A friendship is born. This is the Conflict stage because the conflict has been firmly established between the royalists and the cardinalists. Being on the side of the royalists, D’Artagnan gets to make friends with other royalists, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the greater conflict that frames the novel. 2.3 Climax
D’Artagnan’s trickery of Milady. D’Artagnan sleeps with Milady pretending to be the Comte de Wardes, then sleeps with her as himself. Milady pressures him to kill the Comte de Wardes. Believing that she loves him for himself and not his prowess with the sword, D’Artagnan confesses that he had pretended to be the Comte de Wardes.
Milady is furious and tries to kill D’Artagnanback to the Queen. (That person would be D’Artagnan.) Our penniless youth’s life has gotten complicated in a hurry. 2.4 Falling action
Our four young heroes arrive minutes too late to save Constance’s life, but they do manage to track down, try, and execute Milady. The problem is resolved. D’Artagnan and his friends are safe from Milady’s perfidy. 2.5 Resolution
D’Artagnan is promoted to lieutenant in the Musketeers. All the loose ends are wrapped up. Porthos gets married, Athos continues to serve in the Musketeers until he inherits some land, and Aramis enters the priesthood. D’Artagnan makes a new friend, and Monsieur Bonacieux disappears.
3.1 Major character
This story is D’Artagnan’s coming-of-age. When we first meet him, he’s riding a ridiculous yellow Béarnaise pony, has barely any money, and shoots dagger glances at anyone who looks at him cross-eyed. By the end of the novel, he’s a lieutenant in the service of His Majesty’s Musketeers. He’s made three best friends, saved the Queen’s honor, watched his true love die, and help execute a terrible criminal. Out of all the characters in the novel, D’Artagnan is the most central and the one whose personality evolves the most. •Milady
Milady is initially an antagonist due to her work as an agent for the Cardinal. Later in the novel, she is revealed as a full-fledged antagonist in her own right, perhaps even more dangerous than the Cardinal himself. We learn that she once broke Athos’s heart, attempted twice to murder D’Artagnan, succeeded in murdering Constance Bonacieux, and convinced John Felton to assassinate the Duke of Buckingham. We further learn that she once seduced a certain priest who fled with her, stole for her, faked being her brother, and eventually committed suicide. Her powers of destruction in The Three Musketeers are incredible, and there are some not-so-veiled allusions to her being a deadly siren (refer to the Character Analysis for more on this). •Cardinal Richelieu
D’Artagnan’s status as a royalist automatically makes the Cardinal his enemy. Although the Cardinal is the King’s most trusted adviser...