The Three Musketeers
How we cite our quotes:
This must be, then, an affair of importance; and what is the most important affair to a woman of twenty-five! Love. (11.36)
This passages reflects D’Artagnan’s view of women as being creatures made entirely for love intrigues. Such a one-dimensional view is complicated by the introduction of Milady later in the novel.
"Yes, and France is about to pay for her king’s refusal with a war. I am not allowed to see you, Madame, but you shall every day hear of me. What object, think you, have this expedition to Ré and this league with the Protestants of La Rochelle which I am projecting? The pleasure of seeing you. I have no hope of penetrating, sword in hand, to Paris, I know that well. But this war may bring round a peace; this peace will require a negotiator; that negotiator will be me. They will not dare to refuse me then; and I will return to Paris, and will see you again, and will be happy for an instant. Thousands of men, it is true, will have to pay for my happiness with their lives; but what is that to me, provided I see you again! All this is perhaps folly--perhaps insanity; but tell me what woman has a lover more truly in love; what queen a servant more ardent?" (12.29)
For the Duke, proof of his love requires grand gestures – like conquering a nation. Let’s call this the ultimate extension of the "mine is bigger than yours" competition. The Duke and the Queen’s love affair is similar to Constance and D’Artagnan’s, only it takes place on a much grander scale.
"Yes," said he, "yes, Anne of Austria is my true queen. Upon a word from her, I would betray my country, I would betray my king, I would betray my God. She asked me not to send the Protestants of La Rochelle the assistance I promised them; I have not done so. I broke my word, it is true; but what signifies that? I obeyed my love; and have I not been richly paid for that obedience? It was to that obedience I owe her portrait." (21.31)
For the Duke, his love for Queen Anne is Priority Number One. Do we ever see him waver from the stance expressed here?