Three Musketeers Study Guide

Three Musketeers By Alexandre Dumas

D'Artagnan has always dreamed of becoming a Musketeer of the Guard in Paris. Fortunately for him, his father has contacts and makes arrangements including a letter of introduction. When the leter is stolen by a mysterious gentleman on the road to Paris, d'Artagnan's reception once he arrives is chillier than he had hoped.

In a series of incidents, d'Artagnan is challenged to duels by three musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. When the first duel is interrupted by Cardinal Richelieu's guards, the four unite to fight the guards off, and d'Artagnan wins the respect of the musketeers. With their help, he becomes a soldier in the Royal Guard.

He then falls in love with his landlord's wife, Constance Boncieux. The two help the Queen of France and the Duke of Buckingham have an affair, where they see the queen give the duke some diamonds originally given to her by her husband, Louis XIII. When Cardinal Richelieu's spies inform him of the gift, he arranges a ball where she would be expected to wear the diamonds. Constance convinces d'Artagnan and the musketeers to go to England and retrieve them from the Duke so as to save the Queen's honor. They succeed, but all three musketeers are badly injured by the Cardinal's agents along the way.

The next night, Constance is kidnapped. The four try to find her and fail. Meanwhile, d'Artagnan is introduced to Milday de Winter, an agent of the Cardinal who he quickly develops a crush on. He learns that she is a felon, and that she had been married to Athos earlier in her life. When she learns that he knows her secret, she determines to have him killed.

In avoiding the many attempts she makes, one of the assassins drops a valuable tip: the name of the inn where Milday was to pay him for his killing. The Musketeers stake out the inn, and overhear the Cardinal asking Milday to assassinate the Duke of Buckingham, writing her a blanket pardon for any sins (basically Church-sanctioning the murder). Athos confronts his ex-wife and takes the pardon away.

Milady is imprisoned on arrival in England, but seduces her jailor and convinces him to help her assassinate the Duke. She escapes to France and hides in the monastery where Constance has been hidden. She realizes as Constance talks to her that d'Artagnan will arrive any minute to save Constance, so she poisons Constance and slips away. Constance dies in d'Artagnan's arms minutes later.

The four are joined by Lord de Winter, Milady's brother-in-law, and they all set out to get revenge on Milady. They pin her down, take her to court for her crimes, and she is beheaded. On their way back, they meet the Count of Rochefort, who has an order to arrest d'Artagnan. He does so, and takes the boy directly to the Cardinal.

D'Artagnan wastes no time in telling the Cardinal that Milady has already been summarily dealt with, and presents the Cardinal with the blanket pardon, using it to absolve himself of his crimes. The Cardinal, impressed with d'Artagnan's resourcefulness, writes a lieutenant's commission with the Musketeers - with no name written on it. He then formally introduces d'Artagnan to Rochefort and asks the two to be on good terms.

D'Artagnan offers the commission to each of the three musketeers, but they all decline for their own reasons, and tell him he should take it for himself. In the end, he does, fulfilling his lifelong dream.

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