Study Guide

Fouquet in The Man in the Iron Mask

By Alexandre Dumas


Here's the most salient fact about Fouquet: he single-handedly saved King Louis even when it was in his best interest not to do so. Unfortunately, he gets arrested anyway. Let's forget that allegation about millions that may or may not be missing from the government treasury. His only real crime, as far as we can see, is that he can throw better parties than the King. According to Athos, "Monsieur Fouquet is an honest man." (26.29) We trust Athos, because it seems clear that Fouquet is being unfairly targeted by the jealous king and the zealous Colbert, who Fouquet as standing in the way of their visions of progress. This last part may be true – clearly Colbert accomplishes quite a lot while Fouquet languishes in jail, but is one man's life really a fair price to pay?

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