The three musketeers

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The Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas the Elder in collaboration with Auguste Maquet . It is the first part of a trilogy about d'Artagnan and his three friends Athos, Porthos and Aramis, who are among the musketeers of the Guard . The following volumes are called Twenty Years Later and The Viscount of Bragelonne or Ten Years Later .


D'Artagnan and the three Musketeers, illustration from 1894

The novel is based on Les Mémoires de d'Artagnan (D'Artagnan's Memories) (1700) by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras and was first published in 1844 chapter by chapter in the newspaper Le Siècle .

In 1845 Dumas wrote the continuation Vingt ans après (twenty years later), in 1847 the third part, Le Vicomte de Bragelonne ou Dix ans plus tard (The Viscount of Bragelonne or ten years later) appeared. The latter was the template for several film adaptations that dealt with the story of the king's twin brother, Philippe, who was imprisoned in the Bastille and wore an iron mask ( Man in the Iron Mask ) to hide his true identity.

The novel has been translated into German many times, first by August Zoller in 1845 .



In April 1625, the young Gascogner d'Artagnan set out for Paris to become a member of the Musketeers of the Guard . In the town of Meung , Rochefort, a spy for Cardinal Richelieu , makes fun of d'Artagnan's horse, which leads to an argument. D'Artagnan is beaten up and Rochefort steals his letter of recommendation. But d'Artagnan sees Rochefort delivering Richelieu's orders to a woman, Lady de Winter. Lady de Winter is also a spy for the cardinal.

In Paris, d'Artagnan presented himself to the captain of the musketeers, Monsieur de Tréville, but the latter could not give him a place in the musketeer's guard, as one had to show particular merits for it or had served in another company. From the window of Tréville, d'Artagnan notices Rochefort on the street and rushes out of the headquarters to catch up with his "man from Meung". On the stairs he crashes into Athos 'shoulder, outside becomes entangled in Porthos's coat and pulls a handkerchief from under Aramis' foot in front of a tavern, which brings him three duels with these musketeers.

Duels are by an edict of King Louis XIII. forbidden, and so the Cardinal Guards, when they surprise the four duelists, try to arrest the musketeers. The Musketeers do not surrender even though they are in the minority. D'Artagnan sided with the Musketeers and, after a hard-won victory, was adopted as a friend by Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Tréville gives d'Artagnan a place in the company of Monsieur des Essarts in the Régiment des Gardes françaises .

The diamond clips

The young Gascogner falls in love with his landlord's wife, Constance Bonacieux. She is the chambermaid of Queen Anna of Austria and mediates between the Queen and the Duke of Buckingham , who comes to Paris because of a letter forged by Richelieu. Buckingham and the Queen meet for a rendezvous and Anna presents Buckingham with twelve diamond clips as souvenirs. In order to convict Anna of adultery and to obtain further information, Richelieu has Monsieur Bonacieux arrested. When this is led away in front of the musketeers' eyes, they recognize the magnitude of the intrigue they have slipped into and swear to each other “one for all, all for one”.

Richelieu convinces the king to give a feast at which the queen should wear the diamond clasp. At the same time he sends Lady de Winter to England to steal two of the clasps from Buckingham so that he can be sure that the Queen cannot wear the clasps on the feast. The Queen instructs Constance Bonacieux to find someone to bring back the brooches. Constance tries first to win her husband over, but Richelieu, who has since been recruited as a spy , reveals her plan to the cardinal. And so the four friends who take on the assignment are pursued by the cardinal's henchmen.

On the way, Porthos is defeated in a duel by an apparently drunk man, Aramis is shot and Athos is accused of counterfeiting . Only d'Artagnan can make his way to England. He reaches the Duke of Buckingham, who has two clasps made within one night, and d'Artagnan returns to Paris with the diamond clasps just in time.

In the meantime, Constance has been kidnapped by Richelieu. Before d'Artagnan starts looking for her, however, he tries to find his friends again. These are still where he left them: Porthos is injured, Aramis ready to enter a monastery - from which d'Artagnan, however, thanks to a letter from his lover, Madame de Chevreuse , dissuades him - and Athos is locked in a cellar, very drunk. They return to Paris together, where Monsieur de Tréville tells them that their respective troops will take part in the siege of La Rochelle . While the three musketeers and the guards hunt for their equipment, d'Artagnan meets Milady's brother-in-law, Lord de Winter, with whom he is dueling. He lets him live, and Lord de Winter invites him to his sister-in-law. D'Artagnan courted Milady, and at first she was friendly. D'Artagnan uses the darkness and pretends to be her lover, de Wardes. He spends a night with her, but also wants to keep her love under his name and for that reason forges a letter from De Wardes. Milady then spends the night with d'Artagnan and tries to incite him to revenge on de Wardes. But d'Artagnan confesses to sneaking out of bed, whereupon Milady tries to kill him. In the fight tearing her nightgown, and d'Artagnan sees the stigma of the lily on her shoulder.

He realizes that Milady is Athos' wife, whom he believed to have hanged himself several years ago when he discovered the lily on her shoulder after their wedding.

La Rochelle

At first, d'Artagnan finds himself with his regiment in front of La Rochelle, without his three comrades, who as musketeers always have to be close to the king . The king was sick and can therefore not yet take part in the siege. D'Artagnan is almost killed in an ambush that Milady instigated as revenge. He also barely escapes a second attempt at murder with poisoned wine, but one of Milady's henchmen dies from it at the same moment that the musketeers finally reach the camp. You realize how dangerous Lady de Winter is.

One evening Athos, Porthos and Aramis follow Richelieu to an inn where he meets Lady de Winter. The cardinal asked her to negotiate with Buckingham to prevent the English from interfering in the war, and if the duke was not ready, she should kill him. He gives her a license to do this . In return, she demands d'Artagnan's head. The musketeers overhear the conversation through a broken stovepipe, and Athos recognizes his wife's voice. When the cardinal has left the inn, Athos returns to Lady de Winter and demands that she hand over the charter.

Since they cannot speak openly in the camp, the three musketeers and d'Artagnan organize a riotous picnic in a bastion near La Rochelle. Under the fire of the enemy, they decide to write to Lord de Winter, Milady's brother-in-law, and tell him Lady de Winter's plans for him to arrest her when she arrives in England. Aramis also writes a letter to his mistress to ask the Queen about Constance Bonacieux's whereabouts. Back at the camp, they are celebrated as heroes, and d'Artagnan finally becomes a musketeer.


Lady de Winter is actually arrested by her brother-in-law when she arrives in England, but she is able to seduce her guard John Felton and get him to stab Buckingham. She returns to France and hides in the same monastery in which Constance Bonacieux sought protection. After the siege of La Rochelle, the Musketeers - who are now four - go in search of Constance, whose whereabouts they learned from Madame de Chevreuse. But they are too late, Lady de Winter poisoned the young woman in revenge on d'Artagnan and has fled. Constance dies in d'Artagnan's arms.

Athos swears revenge and orders the executioner of Lille to kill Lady de Winter. As proof that he has the right to judge them, he shows the executioner the cardinal's charter. The musketeers and Lord de Winter, who followed Lady de Winter, find the murderess in Armentières and unanimously convict her. The hangman cuts off her head and sinks her body in the Lys . Back in Paris, Richelieu wants to punish the musketeers for their deeds, but they also show him his own license. He then gave them a lieutenant's license for a position with the Musketeers. The name is still available. After his friends refuse to answer d'Artagnan's questions, Athos d'Artagnan's name finally writes on the paper.

D'Artagnan duels Rochefort and eventually becomes friends with him. The friends part ways, however: Porthos marries a wealthy widow, Aramis enters a monastery, and Athos withdraws to a county that he has inherited. Only d'Artagnan remains with the Musketeers as a lieutenant .

Twenty years after that

The search for the lost friends

Twenty years after the events described in the three musketeers , d'Artagnan, still lieutenant of the musketeers, sets out at Mazarin's orders to look for his friends. It is the time of the Fronde and Mazarin tries to surround himself with loyal and above all battle-hardened men. But only Porthos, Chevalier du Vallon de Bracieux et de Pierrefonds, agrees to follow d'Artagnan. He is now a widower and bored on his property. He welcomes any change, all the more since d'Artagnan promises him the title of baron if he serves Mazarin faithfully. Aramis, Chevalier d'Herblay and Abbé in a convent in Noisy-le-Sec , declares that he is too remote to take up arms again, but d'Artagnan discovers that he is the lover of Madame de Longueville, a frondeuse, with whom he will also have a son at the end of the novel. Athos, Comte de la Fère et de Bragelonne, lives with his son, Raoul de Bragelonne, on the estate that he inherited. He, too, refuses to enter Mazarin's service, but does not explain to d'Artagnan that he and Aramis were enlisted by Rochefort for the Fronde and the liberation of the Duke of Beaufort.


The four friends found themselves in different camps and after the liberation of the Duke of Beaufort there was a first, less friendly meeting because d'Artagnan and Porthos had originally been sent by Mazarin to recapture the Duke. This is foiled by Athos and Aramis. After some back and forth, however, the friends make up over dinner, but stay in the different camps. Their meal of reconciliation is also interrupted by Grimaud, who informs them that Milady's son has come to France. On his way he had stabbed the former executioner of Lille and is now probably trying to kill his friends. This son is called Mordaunt, which the friends don't know. He had been sent by Cromwell to Mazarin to help in the fight against I. Karl to ask.


In Paris the movement of the Fronde rumbled, barricades were erected and the threats against Mazarin became more and more demanding, so that he finally fled with the Queen to St. Germain. Their escape is actively supported by Porthos and d'Artagnan. At the same time, Henriette d'Angleterre asks for help for her husband, King Charles I, who is threatened by Cromwell and the English parliamentary army. She turns to Lord de Winter, Athos and Aramis, who accept the assignment and travel to England. For his part, Athos' son Raoul entered the service of the Prince of Condé at the age of 15 and was on a campaign .

In St. Germain, where the court has withdrawn, Mazarin d'Artagnan delivers a telegram with the order not to open it until he is in London. In order to get there, he should go to Boulogne and enter the service of Mordaunt. Mordaunt, distrusted by d'Artagnan and Porthos from the start, leads them to Cromwell and finally to the Battle of Newcastle. There the Scottish royal army with Charles I, Athos, Aramis and Lord de Winter faces the rebels of Cromwell. But the king is abandoned by his army and sold for half the pay that was still to be paid to him. The former musketeers and de Winter devise a plan to save the king, but it fails and the king is captured. Athos and Aramis are also prisoners of war, but fortunately in the hands of d'Artagnan and Porthos, who were also on the battlefield with Mordaunt. Lord de Winter is shot by his nephew, Mordaunt, and the four friends recognize Lady de Winter's son in this cruel avenger.


Mordaunt is now their common enemy and d'Artagnan and Porthos turn against Mazarin's orders by freeing Athos and Aramis from Cromwell's English camp. Now the four friends are reunited and Athos manages to convince them to plan a rescue operation for Charles I. A first attempt on the way to London fails, so they hire themselves out as workers for the scaffolding on which Charles I is to be beheaded. But even this attempt is thwarted, by Mordaunt, who offers himself as the executioner - because part of the plan provided that the executioner should be kidnapped from London. After the death of Karl I, the friends follow the supposed executioner and challenge him to a duel in his house , but Mordaunt escapes. Exhausted and sad, Athos, Aramis, Porthos and d'Artagnan now make their way home to France , but the crew of the boat they rented for the crossing was bribed by Mordaunt. He embarks with them and several tons of powder .

In the middle of the sea, the friends notice that the ship is full of powder and at the last moment they can escape to a launch . The ship explodes, set on fire by Mordaunt, who is the only one of the crew to jump into the water in time. There he tries to convince Athos to take him on board the launch. But when the count reaches out to help him, Mordaunt pulls him into the water. Athos has no choice but to stab him.

Captivity and hostage-taking

Back in France, the friends split up because Athos and Aramis are Frondeure and d'Artagnan and Porthos rebels - they have defied Mazarin's will. Athos and Aramis travel to Paris to tell Henriette the bad news, then go in search of Porthos and d'Artagnan, who have disappeared. In fact, they were arrested by Mazarin and sent to Rueil prison. Athos asks for an audience with the queen to ask for the release of his friends - with the result that he too is arrested. But the three of them can free themselves and they manage to take the cardinal, who was just inspecting his hoarded money in Rueil , hostage . For his release, d'Artagnan was granted the captain's license by Mazarin, Porthos the title of baron, Aramis that the king became the godfather of Madame de Longueville's son - and Athos Chevalier de l'ordre at the request of Porthos, because Athos had for himself himself asked nothing.

Then they part ways, Athos returns to Bragelonne, d'Artagnan as captain to the musketeers, Porthos to his barony and Aramis to his monastery.

The Viscount of Bragelonne or Ten Years Later

In the third volume, Louis XIV has already ascended the throne. D'Artagnan as his captain is bored in Versailles , where his master celebrates one party after another. Aramis is now spinning an intrigue in the background: In his new role as Superior General of the Jesuits, he wants to replace the irresponsible king with his twin brother. To this end, he secured the help of Porthos and the finance minister Fouquet , who, however, failed at the crucial moment and ruined the plan. Ultimately, this costs him his office and his freedom; his successor is the scheming Colbert . Another storyline includes Athos' son Raoul, who loves a lady-in-waiting, Louise de la Vallière. Unfortunately, the king makes her his mistress and brings father and son, equally loyal and full of respect for his person, into a conflict of conscience. After discovering Aramis' plan, the king orders d'Artagnan to track down those responsible; In the end, however, he succeeds in rehabilitating his friends. Three of the four heroes of the story die at the end of the third volume. Porthos is killed by the collapse of a cave into which he and Aramis fled from the hostile men of the king, but before that he can save Aramis' life. Athos dies of grief when his son is killed in Africa. D'Artagnan is killed by a ricochet during the siege of Maastricht in Holland , shortly after the King appointed him Marshal of France . At the end of the story, only Aramis, now the Spanish ambassador and holder of the highest order, is still alive.

The characters and their historical background




Dumas makes Portau a loyal comrade, strong as a bear, sometimes a bit rough and very impulsive, who does not know how to express himself as neatly as, for example, Athos, nor does he or Aramis' wisdom, but has a good heart.


Dumas made Athos a mysterious, very calm and considered man with a great past. In the novel The Three Musketeers , Athos comes from a large noble family who own lands in Berry . He also attributes him a son, Raoul, the Viscount de Bragelonne, who emerges from an illegitimate love affair with Madame de Chevreuse .

Film adaptations


All parts have been filmed several times, of which the following should be emphasized:

TV Shows

There have been several television series based on the novel:




In 2003 the musical 3 Musketiers, de Musical celebrated its premiere in Rotterdam . Rob & Ferdi Bolland contributed music and lyrics. Paul Eenens took over the direction of the musical, which tells of d'Artagnan's adventures in a slightly modified form. Other venues were Berlin , Stuttgart and Tecklenburg . The Austrian premiere took place on July 23, 2010 on the Staatz Felsenbühne .

radio play

Audio books


The motto of the three musketeers "One for all, all for one" ( French: "Un pour tous, tous pour un" ) has been quoted in many areas, for example in politics (especially with regard to social policy ), in team sports , as a children's book Title , in climate protection initiatives, self-help groups , military alliances , insurance companies and in advertising . It is the (unofficial) motto of the Swiss Confederation and is in the Latin version Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno in the dome of the Bern parliament building .

Motifs from the story of the three musketeers, inspired by successful film adaptations, have often been used for advertising films. Examples:

The Wicküler brewery advertised in the 1960s with a spot with the motto "Men like us - Wicküler beer" . To this day (2017) a drawing of the three can be seen on every beer bottle.

The actors of the US television program Mickey Mouse Club or the members in the local MM clubs were called Mouseketeer ( word game , in German about "Mausketier").

From 1976 to 1977 Pabel-Verlag published a 65-issue booklet novel series The Four Musketeers . It was freely written after Dumas by Susanne and Udo Wiemer and published under the pseudonym Jean Lafitte .

In 2008, the eight Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire was released, starring the film's 18-year-old hero Jamal Malik on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? had to answer the all-important question of who was the third musketeer besides Athos and Porthos. From the four possible answers he randomly chooses Aramis and wins 20 million rupees.

In 2011, Carlsen Verlag published the graphic novel The Three Musketeers - Notes by Young D'Artagnan by Nicolas Juncker, who tells the story from D'Artagnan's personal perspective.

Individual evidence

  1. Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras: Mémoires de Monsieur d'Artagnan, capitaine lieutenant de la première compagnie des Mousquetaires du Roi, Chez Pierre Marteau, Cologne 1700, preview in the Google book search
  2. Latest edition: Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers . From the French by August Zoller, Fischer Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2010. ISBN 978-3-596-90308-5 .
  3. My lady dictionary

Web links

Commons : The Three Musketeers  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Les Trois Mousquetaires  - Sources and full texts (French)