Study Guide

The Man in the Iron Mask Quotes

  • Friendship

    After the departure of Athos for Blois, Porthos and D'Artagnan were seldom together. One was occupied with harassing duties for the King; the other had been making many purchases of furniture, which he intended to forward to his estate. (2.1)

    This is an ominous hint of the direction their friendship is taking. Porthos, Athos, D'Artagnan, and Aramis used to known as "the Inseparables" in The Three Musketeers. This is not the case in The Man in the Iron Mask.

    "Have you a brother?" said the young man to Aramis.

    "I am alone in the world," said the latter, with a hard, dry voice.

    "But surely there is some one in the world whom you love?" added Philippe.

    "No one!- Yes, I love you." (9.48 – 9.51)

    It seems that Aramis does not love his friends.

    "And this man, who would shed every drop of blood in his veins for me, will not open the smallest corner of his heart. Friendship, I repeat, is nothing but a shadow and a delusion, like everything else that shines in this world." (14.76)

    D'Artagnan is dramatic in an effort to goad Aramis into confessing his plans.

    "And this man, who would shed every drop of blood in his veins for me, will not open the smallest corner of his heart. Friendship, I repeat, is nothing but a shadow and a delusion, like everything else that shines in this world." (14.76)

    Has D'Artagnan become cynical and disenchanted with the beauties of friendship? What do you think? Are there passages elsewhere that might support this conclusion?

    "Look at us, Aramis! We are three out of the four. You are deceiving me, I suspect you, and Porthos sleeps; an admirable trio of friends, don't you think so?- a beautiful relic!" (14.78)

    Is D'Artagnan sarcastic here or does he sincerely believe this? It certainly seems as though D'Artagnan feels that the friends are starting to grow apart.

    "A friend's word is the truth itself. If I think of touching, even with one finger, the son of Anne of Austria, the true King of this realm of France; if I have not the firm intention of prostrating myself before his throne; if, according to my wishes, to-morrow here at Vaux will not be the most glorious day my King ever enjoyed,- may Heaven's lightning blast me where I stand!" Aramis had pronounced these words with his face turned towards the alcove of his bedroom, where d'Artagnan, seated with his back towards the alcove, could not suspect that any one was lying concealed. (14.104)

    Is Aramis being dastardly and outright lying to his buddy, or is he, in a way, being truthful since he considers Philippe to be the true King of France?

    "Your Majesty is doubtless afraid that poor Porthos may probably become a troublesome witness; and you wish to get rid of him."

    "What! in making him a duke?"

    "Certainly; you would assuredly kill him, for he would die from joy, and the secret would die with him."

    "Good heavens!"

    "Yes," said Aramis, phlegmatically; "I should lose a very good friend." (20.34)

    Here "phlegmatically" means "I don't care if you kill Porthos." Not only does Aramis reveal no distress at the prospect of killing Porthos, he's even the one who suggested it.

    "You also are a malcontent; you also, Raoul, have griefs to lay to the King. Follow our example; pass over into Belle-Isle. […]Will you join us?" […] "No, thank you!" (26.38 – 26.39)

    Athos's refusal to join Aramis and Porthos is more evidence that their friendship is not like that of the old days, when the four unquestioningly supported one another and refused to be separated from one another.

    "How good d'Artagnan is!" interrupted Athos, suddenly; "and what a rare good fortune it is to be supported during a whole life by such a friend as he is! That is what you have wanted, Raoul."

    "A friend!" cried Raoul; "I have wanted a friend!"

    "M. de Guiche is an agreeable companion," resumed the count, coldly; "but I believe in the times in which you live men are more engaged in their own interests and their own pleasures than they were in our times. You have sought a secluded life; that is a great happiness, but you have lost your strength in it. We four, more weaned from these delicate abstractions which constitute your joy,- we found in ourselves much greater powers of resistance when misfortune came." (33.34 – 33.36)

    This is a really touching passage about the beauties and benefits of true friendship. Fittingly enough, it is a reflection on past friendships, not current.

    "I have not been a friend for you, Raoul," said Athos.

    "Eh, Monsieur! and in what respect not?"

    "Because I have given you reason to think that life has but one face; because, sad and severe, alas! I have always cut off for you- without, God knows, wishing to do so- the joyous buds which incessantly spring from the tree of youth; so that at this moment I repent not having made of you a more expansive, dissipated, animated man." (33.38 – 33.40)

    Here Athos basically defines a friend as someone with whom you have a lot of fun.

    "You have friends in Belle-Isle, M. d'Artagnan; and it is not an easy thing for men like you to march over the bodies of their friends to obtain success."

    […] "Colbert was right," thought d'Artagnan,- "my baton of a marshal of France will cost the lives of my two friends. Only they seem to forget that my friends are not more stupid than the birds, and that they will not wait for the hand of the fowler to extend their wings. I will show them that hand so plainly that they will have quite time enough to see it. Poor Porthos! poor Aramis! No; my fortune shall not cost your wings a feather." (61.110 – 61.112)

    For D'Artagnan, his friends come before fulfilling his ambitions.

    "Athos, Porthos, au revoir! Aramis, adieu forever!" (Death of D'Artagnan.22)

    It seems to be fitting that D'Artagnan's final words are directed to his friends. What's your interpretation of D'Artagnan's final words?

  • Love

    "Have you a brother?" said the young man to Aramis.

    "I am alone in the world," said the latter, with a hard, dry voice.

    "But surely there is some one in the world whom you love?" added Philippe.

    "No one!- Yes, I love you." (9.48 – 9.51)

    Aramis does not love his friends. And does he really love Philippe? He ditches him pretty quickly once he gets found out.

    "Yes, Monsieur, we both love him, but each in a different manner," replied La Valliere, with such an accent that the heart of the young King was powerfully affected by it. "I love him so deeply that the whole world is aware of it, so purely that the King himself does not doubt my love. He is my King and my master; I am the humblest of his servants. But he who touches his honor touches my life. Now, I repeat that they dishonor the King who advise him to arrest M. Fouquet under his own roof." (15.35)

    Is that really the healthiest relationship? In any case, we would argue that La Valliere is probably the only person close to the King who is completely free of any personal or political agenda – she really does love the King and wants what's best for him.

    Athos then employed the heroic remedy. He defended Louise against Raoul, and justified her perfidy by her love. "A woman who would have yielded to the King because he is the King," said he, "would deserve to be styled infamous; but Louise loves Louis. Both young, they have forgotten, he his rank, she her vows. Love absolves everything, Raoul. The two young people love each other with sincerity." (25.33)

    Why does this argument fail to resonate with Raoul?

    "Oh, fear nothing! you are beloved,- you are beloved, Guiche; do you feel the value of these three words? They signify that you can raise your head, that you can sleep tranquilly, that you can thank God every minute of your life. You are beloved; that signifies that you may hear everything,- even the counsel of a friend who wishes to preserve your happiness. You are beloved, Guiche, you are beloved! You do not endure those atrocious nights, those nights without end, which, with arid eye and consumed heart, others pass through who are destined to die. You will live long if you act like the miser who, bit by bit, crumb by crumb, collects and heaps up diamonds and gold. You are beloved! allow me to tell you what you must do that you may be beloved forever." (28.93)

    This passage reveals exactly the kind of torment Raoul has been experiencing since his engagement ended.

    "I am strong against everything, except against the death of those I love. For that only there is no remedy. He who dies, gains; he who sees others die, loses. No; this it is,- to know that I should no more meet upon earth him whom I now behold with joy; to know that there would nowhere be a d'Artagnan any more, nowhere again be a Raoul,- oh! I am old, see you, I have no longer courage. I pray God to spare me in my weakness; but if he struck me so plainly and in that fashion, I should curse him. A Christian gentleman ought not to curse his God, d'Artagnan; it is quite enough to have cursed his King!" (32.69)

    This passage is perhaps Athos's finest; it is full of moving dignity and accurately captures the spirit and tone of the novel.

    "Mademoiselle: Instead of cursing you, I love you, and I die." (32.112)

    Why is Raoul so determined to guilt Louise de la Valliere at every turn? This is very different from the position that if you love someone, you try to do what's best for them. Instead, Raoul and his buddies consistently attempt to remind Louise that she ruined his life.

    Who knows? that dew was, perhaps, the first tears that had ever fallen from the eyes of Aramis! (51.61)

    This can be seen as proof that Aramis really did love his friend Porthos.

    "Never have I suffered so much as now; because then I hoped, I desired,- now I have nothing to wish for; because this death drags away all my joy into the tomb; because I can no longer dare to love without remorse." (60.22)

    Although La Valliere does not love Raoul, she suffers from his death just as much as he suffered from her infidelity.

    "I love madly, I love to the point of coming to tell it, impious as I am, over the ashes of the dead; and I do not blush for it,- I have no remorse on account of it. This love is a religion. Only, as hereafter you will see me, alone, forgotten, disdained; as you will see me punished with that with which I am destined to be punished, spare me in my ephemeral happiness, leave it to me for a few days, for a few minutes. Now, even at the moment I am speaking to you perhaps it no longer exists. My God! This double murder is perhaps already expiated!" (60.25)

    La Valliere is in a pickle. She's caused the death of two men but still ardently loves the King, who she can tell is soon going to move on to a new mistress. This makes her one of the novel's most tragic characters.

  • Memory and the Past

    "Look at us, Aramis! We are three out of the four. You are deceiving me, I suspect you, and Porthos sleeps; an admirable trio of friends, don't you think so?- a beautiful relic!" (14.74)

    This is the first indication in the novel that we're dealing with men whose time for glory is effectively over.

    "I can only tell you one thing, d'Artagnan, and I swear it on the Bible: I love you just as much as formerly. If I ever distrust you, it is on account of others, and not on account of either of us. In everything I may do and succeed in, you will find your share. Will you promise me the same favor?" (14.79)

    Aramis invokes his past with D'Artagnan to allay suspicions. This is dastardly.

    This last endearment was tender as in youth, as in times when the heart was warm and life happy; and then Porthos mounted his horse. (26.63)

    Talk about glorifying the past.

    "War is a distraction. We gain everything by it; we can lose only one thing by it,- life; then so much the worse!"

    "That is to say, memory," said Raoul, eagerly; "and that is to say, so much the better!" (27.75 – 27.76)

    Raoul hopes war will distract him from his memories of Louise la Valliere.

    In the heart of the poor young man it aroused emotions easily to be understood, thus to return to Paris among all the people who had known and loved him. Every face recalled to him who had endured so much, a suffering; to him who had loved so much, some circumstance of his love. Raoul, on approaching Paris, felt as if he were dying. Once in Paris, he really existed no longer. (28.2)

    Returning to Paris brings up bittersweet memories for Raoul. He has sentimental attachments around the city and clearly has a very difficult time dissociating his experience of Paris from his experience of La Valliere.

    "Biscarrat!" reflected the bishop. "It seems to me-"

    "Try to recollect, Monsieur," said the officer.

    "Pardieu! that won't take me long," said Porthos. "Biscarrat- called Cardinal- one of the four who interrupted us the day on which we formed our friendship with d'Artagnan, sword in hand." (46.26 – 46.28)

    It is deeply fitting that Porthos and Aramis receive this blast from the past; it gives the novel a cyclical quality as it invokes the time detailed in The Three Musketeers.

    "I believe in the times in which you live men are more engaged in their own interests and their own pleasures than they were in our times. You have sought a secluded life; that is a great happiness, but you have lost your strength in it. We four, more weaned from these delicate abstractions which constitute your joy,- we found in ourselves much greater powers of resistance when misfortune came." (33.36)

    D'Artagnan points out the ways that friendships were stronger in the past, indicating that times have changed.

    "Hush, Messieurs! you disturb the King."

    D'Artagnan sighed.

    "All is over!" said he; "the Musketeers of the present day are not those of his Majesty Louis XIII. All is over!" (52.72 – 52.74)

    A sign that the old school way of doing things is rapidly disappearing – D'Artagnan's powerful role as an officer of the Musketeers is becoming a thing of the past.

    "Great they will be, I feel; but if by chance I should not think them so? I have seen war, Sire; I have seen peace; I have served Richelieu and Mazarin; I have been scorched with your father at the fire of Rochelle, riddled with thrusts like a sieve, having made a new skin ten times, as serpents do. After affronts and injustices, I have a command which was formerly something, because it gave the bearer the right of speaking as he liked to his King." (53.64)

    In this excerpt from D'Artagnan's speech to the King, D'Artagnan looks to the past to see exactly what he will be losing in the future if he bows to Louis's will.

  • Family

    He was a man of great taste in elegant stuffs, embroideries, and velvet, being hereditary tailor to the King. The preferment of his house reached as far back as the time of Charles IX; from whose reign dated, as we know, fancies in bravery difficult enough to gratify. The Percerin of that period was a Huguenot, like Ambroise Pare. (3.1)

    This demonstrates the importance of heritage in King Louis XIV's court.

    If there be one saying more true than another, it is this: great griefs contain within themselves the germ of their consolation. This painful wound inflicted upon Raoul had drawn him nearer to his father; and God knows how sweet were the consolations that flowed from the eloquent mouth and generous heart of Athos. (25.28)

    If Raoul hadn't been dumped, he might not have spent so much time with his dad.

    Philippe did not raise his eyes towards Heaven, nor stir from the spot, where he seemed nailed to the floor, his eye intently fixed upon the King, his brother. He reproached him by a sublime silence with all his misfortunes past, with all his tortures to come. Against this language of the soul Louis XIV felt he had no power; he cast down his eyes, and led away precipitately his brother and sister, forgetting his mother, sitting motionless within three paces of the son whom she left a second time to be condemned to death.

    Philippe approached Anne of Austria, and said to her in a soft and nobly agitated voice, "If I were not your son, I should curse you, my mother, for having rendered me so unhappy." (24.84 – 24.85)

    Clearly this family has strange dynamics. We speculate 1) that Louis does not love his mother, 2) that Louis is capable of feeling guilty about locking up his own brother, and 3) Philippe takes it easy on his mother.

    As for Athos, he was too well acquainted with that tender but inflexible soul; he could not hope to make it deviate from the fatal road it had just chosen. He could only press the hand of the duke held out to him. (27.91)

    It is a testament to the quality of Athos's character and his ever-present dignity that he doesn't create a giant scene when his only son wants to go into the war go die.

    "I have given you reason to think that life has but one face; because, sad and severe, alas! I have always cut off for you- without, God knows, wishing to do so- the joyous buds which incessantly spring from the tree of youth; so that at this moment I repent not having made of you a more expansive, dissipated, animated man." (33.40)

    Here Athos critiques his own parenting, saying that he didn't let Raoul have enough fun. Is that really the issue here? If Raoul was more fun, would he be alive by the end of the novel?

    "I feel fatigued; it is the first time, and there is a custom in our family." (45.17)

    Dumas uses Porthos's family to explain why the man's strength might falter.

    "Sire," continued Pélisson, "the accused leaves a wife and a family. The little property he had was scarcely sufficient to pay his debts, and Madame Fouquet since the captivity of her husband is abandoned by everybody. The hand of your Majesty strikes like the hand of God. When the Lord sends the curse of leprosy or pestilence into a family, every one flies and shuns the abode of the leprous or the plague-stricken." (54.58)

    King Louis did not realize his actions may affect the innocent. Does this demonstrate he is a bad king?

    "I have lived without having any children" (55.9)

    Porthos's lack of children, as well as friends' similar lack of children, signals that the values, ideals, and way of life they uphold will perish with them.

    "What is the matter?" asked his father, tenderly.

    "What afflicts me is the death of Porthos, our so dear friend," replied Raoul. "I suffer here for the grief you will feel at home." (56.26 – 56.27)

    Athos and Raoul are so close that they really can communicate across time and space.

  • Principles

    "A friend's word is the truth itself. If I think of touching, even with one finger, the son of Anne of Austria, the true King of this realm of France; if I have not the firm intention of prostrating myself before his throne; if, according to my wishes, to-morrow here at Vaux will not be the most glorious day my King ever enjoyed,- may Heaven's lightning blast me where I stand!" (14.104)

    Aramis is lying through his teeth. This is not honorable at all.

    "Sire, you would be dishonoring yourself if you were to give such an order."

    "Dishonor myself?" murmured the King, turning pale with anger. "In truth, Mademoiselle, you put a strange eagerness into what you say." (15.33 – 15.34)

    Invoking honor is a sure-fire way to win an argument.

    "Monseigneur," replied the Gascon, touched by his eloquent and noble tone of grief, "will you- I ask it as a favor- pledge me your word as a man of honor that you will not leave this room?" (19.111)

    The word of a man of honor can always be trusted.

    "He was my guest; he was my King!"

    Aramis rose, his eyes literally bloodshot, his mouth trembling convulsively. "Have I a man out of his senses to deal with?" he said.

    "You have an honorable man to deal with." (21.203 – 21.205)

    The rules of hospitality dictate that the host is responsible for the guests. Aramis has deeply dishonored Fouquet, and that's the primary reason Fouquet sides with the King.

    "If you had killed me, d'Artagnan, I should have had the good fortune to die for the royal house of France; and it would be an honor to die by your hand,- you, its noblest and most loyal defender." (32.5)

    What does an "honorable" death look like? This passage indicates that the type of man who kills you must be of high quality in order for you to die honorably.

    "I am dishonored!" thought the Musketeer; "I am a miserable wretch!" Then he cried, "For pity's sake, M. Fouquet, throw me one of your pistols that I may blow out my brains!" But Fouquet rode on. (40.40)

    According to the Musketeers' code, if you cannot fulfill your duty, the honorable thing to do is kill yourself. D'Artagnan manifests that behavior here.

    D'Artagnan raised himself up, looking round with a wandering eye. He saw Fouquet on his knees, with his wet hat in his hand, smiling upon him with ineffable sweetness. "You are not gone, then?" cried he. (40.47)

    A less honorable man would have run away. This is an indication of the type of hold the concept of "honor" has over these men.

    "We shall gain the consciousness, Monsieur, of not having made eighty of the King's Guards retire before two rebels. If I listened to your advice, Monsieur, I should be a dishonored man; and by dishonoring myself I should dishonor the army. Forward, men!" (48.122)

    Even if the captain would have liked to stand down, honor dictates that eighty men cannot retreat before two.

    "Captain," said Biscarrat, "I beg to be allowed to march at the head of the first platoon."

    "So be it," replied the captain; "you have all the honor of it. That is a present I make you." (48.124 – 48.125)

    It is an honor to be the first to die in battle.

    "I shall go as I am, Captain," said Biscarrat, "for I do not go to kill, I go to be killed."

    And placing himself at the head of the first platoon with his head uncovered and his arms crossed, "March, gentlemen!" said he. (48.128)

    This proves Biscarrat is a truly honorable man, for he compensates for the lives of his companion by being among the first to die.

  • Old Age

    "What must have been," he thought, "the youth of those extraordinary men, who, even as age is stealing fast upon them, still are able to conceive such plans, and to carry them out without flinching!" (22.2)

    Here youth is glorified. Fouquet could have understood the men as benefiting from experience that old age gives, but instead chooses to imagine their youth as even more powerful.

    This last endearment was tender as in youth, as in times when the heart was warm and life happy; and then Porthos mounted his horse. (26.63)

    In contrast to aging, youth is seen as the highlight of one's life.

    "Alas! we are no longer the young invincibles of former days. Who knows whether the hatchet or the iron bar of this miserable coaster has not succeeded in doing that which the best blades of Europe, balls, and bullets have not been able to do in forty years?" (31.28)

    This is one of the first acknowledgments of the four friends' mortality.

    "I am strong against everything, except against the death of those I love. For that only there is no remedy. He who dies, gains; he who sees others die, loses. No; this it is,- to know that I should no more meet upon earth him whom I now behold with joy; to know that there would nowhere be a d'Artagnan any more, nowhere again be a Raoul,- oh! I am old, see you, I have no longer courage. I pray God to spare me in my weakness; but if he struck me so plainly and in that fashion, I should curse him. A Christian gentleman ought not to curse his God, d'Artagnan; it is quite enough to have cursed his King!" (32.69)

    Yet another testament to the fact that life becomes increasingly complicated when one ages, and approaches certain death

    "I believe in the times in which you live men are more engaged in their own interests and their own pleasures than they were in our times. You have sought a secluded life; that is a great happiness, but you have lost your strength in it. We four, more weaned from these delicate abstractions which constitute your joy,- we found in ourselves much greater powers of resistance when misfortune came." (33.36)

    This statement reflects Athos's age.

    She praised him; she blamed him; she bewildered him. She showed him the inside of so many secrets that for a moment Colbert feared he must have to do with the devil. She proved to him that she held in her hand the Colbert of to-day, as she had held the Fouquet of yesterday. (36.4)

    Madame de Chevreuse has not missed a beat with age. It has only made her tougher.

    Age, which had been kept back by the presence of the beloved object, arrived with that cortege of pains and inconveniences which increases in proportion as its coming is delayed. Athos had no longer his son's presence to incite him to walk firmly, with his head erect, as a good example; he had no longer in those brilliant eyes of the young man an ever-ardent focus at which to rekindle the fire of his looks. [,,,] The Comte de la Fere, who had remained a young man up to his sixty-second year; the warrior who had preserved his strength in spite of fatigues, his freshness of mind in spite of misfortune, his mild serenity of soul and body in spite of Milady, in spite of Mazarin, in spite of La Valliere,- Athos had become an old man in a week from the moment at which he had lost the support of his latter youth. (41.1)

    Having a kid may have kept Athos young. We would also like to point out here that Raoul is Athos's one weakness.

    "Come, let us see what stops you?" said the King, kindly. "You have given in your resignation; shall I refuse to accept it? I admit that it may be hard for an old captain to recover his good-humor."

    "Oh!" replied d'Artagnan, in a melancholy tone, "that is not my most serious care. I hesitate to take back my resignation because I am old in comparison with you, and I have habits difficult to abandon. Henceforward, you must have courtiers who know how to amuse you,- madmen who will get themselves killed to carry out what you call your great works. Great they will be, I feel; but if by chance I should not think them so?" (53.64)

    This is an issue that transcends old age – the King is essentially asking D'Artagnan to stop thinking for himself.

    "When will it be my turn to depart?" said he, in an agitated voice. "What is there left for man after youth, after love, after glory, after friendship, after strength, after riches?" (60.36)

    This is D'Artagnan's first time in the novel reflecting upon his inevitable death. Also, old age is clearly not being appreciated. After youth, love, glory, friendship, strength, and riches, D'Artagnan implies that it is time to die.

    "The Duc d'Alameda?" said d'Artagnan, reflecting in vain.

    "I!" said an old man, white as snow, sitting bent in his carriage, which he caused to be thrown open to make room for the Musketeer.

    "Aramis!" cried d'Artagnan, struck with stupor. And, inert as he was, he suffered the thin arm of the old nobleman to rest trembling on his neck. (Epilogue.61 – Epilogue.62)

    Although they are the only two out of the four Musketeers left alive, they have not bothered to maintain their former closeness. Old age may have ravaged the friendship.

  • Loyalty

    "Look at us, Aramis! We are three out of the four. You are deceiving me, I suspect you, and Porthos sleeps; an admirable trio of friends, don't you think so?- a beautiful relic!" (14.78)

    Despite the rifts in their relationship indicated by this passage, the friends actually remain deeply loyal to each other.

    "A friend's word is the truth itself. If I think of touching, even with one finger, the son of Anne of Austria, the true King of this realm of France; if I have not the firm intention of prostrating myself before his throne; if, according to my wishes, to-morrow here at Vaux will not be the most glorious day my King ever enjoyed,- may Heaven's lightning blast me where I stand!" Aramis had pronounced these words with his face turned towards the alcove of his bedroom, where d'Artagnan, seated with his back towards the alcove, could not suspect that any one was lying concealed. The earnestness of his words, the studied slowness with which he pronounced them, the solemnity of his oath, gave the Musketeer the most complete satisfaction. (14.104)

    Aramis does indeed feel loyalty to Philippe.

    "Yes, Monsieur, we both love him, but each in a different manner," replied La Valliere, with such an accent that the heart of the young King was powerfully affected by it. "I love him so deeply that the whole world is aware of it, so purely that the King himself does not doubt my love. He is my King and my master; I am the humblest of his servants. But he who touches his honor touches my life. Now, I repeat that they dishonor the King who advise him to arrest M. Fouquet under his own roof." (15.35)

    La Valliere is probably the only person close to the King who is completely free of any personal or political agenda – she really does love the King and wants what's best for him. One could say she is the only person in King Louis's court who is truly loyal.

    "Warn the Prince, and then- do what? Take him with me? Carry this accusing witness about with me everywhere? War, too, would follow,- civil war, implacable in its nature! And without any resource- alas, it is impossible! What will he do without me? Without me he will be utterly destroyed! Yet who knows? let destiny be fulfilled! Condemned he was, let him remain so, then! (21.231)

    Clearly Aramis feels no real loyalty to Prince Philippe.

    "Yes, and leave Porthos behind me, to talk and relate the whole affair to every one,- Porthos, who will suffer, perhaps! I will not let poor Porthos suffer. He is one of the members of my own frame; his grief is mine. Porthos shall leave with me, and shall follow my destiny. It must be so." (21.231)

    This demonstrates Aramis's loyalty to Porthos.

    "You are not gone, then?" cried he. "Oh, Monsieur! the true King in loyalty, in heart, in soul, is not Louis of the Louvre or Philippe of Ste. Marguerite; it is you, the proscribed, the condemned!" (40.47)

    Fouquet has demonstrated time and again that he is truly a great, honorable, and loyal man.

    "Hush, Messieurs! you disturb the King."

    D'Artagnan sighed.

    "All is over!" said he; "the Musketeers of the present day are not those of his Majesty Louis XIII. All is over!" (52.72 – 52.74)

    This is a sign that the Musketeers of the present day lack the type of loyalty to their captain that the Musketeers of yesteryear possessed.

    "Great they will be, I feel; but if by chance I should not think them so? I have seen war, Sire; I have seen peace; I have served Richelieu and Mazarin; I have been scorched with your father at the fire of Rochelle, riddled with thrusts like a sieve, having made a new skin ten times, as serpents do. After affronts and injustices, I have a command which was formerly something, because it gave the bearer the right of speaking as he liked to his King." (53.64)

    Although D'Artagnan's loyalties to the King are unquestionable, he has also expected to retain the right to question his sovereign.

  • Justice and Judgment

    "Oh, God!" said Fouquet, "thou dost sometimes bear with such injustice on earth that I understand why there are wretches who doubt thy existence! Stay, M. d'Herblay!" and Fouquet, taking his pen, wrote a few rapid lines to his colleague Lyonne. (6.183)

    Fouquet tries his best to right any wrongs he can.

    "They are fond of these dodges," he said, with his mouth full; "they seize a man, some fine day, maintain him for ten years, and write to you, 'Watch this fellow well,' or 'Keep him very strictly.' And then, as soon as you are accustomed to look upon the prisoner as a dangerous man, all of a sudden, without cause or precedent, they write, 'Set him at liberty'; and add to their missive, 'Urgent.'" (7.85)

    Baisemeaux points out that they live in an unjust society.

    "He was my friend, Sire," replied Fouquet, nobly.

    "An unfortunate circumstance for you," said the King, in a less generous tone of voice.

    "Such friendship, Sire, had nothing dishonorable in it so long as I was ignorant of the crime."

    "You should have foreseen it." (23.46 – 23.49)

    The King has a poor sense of justice.

    Fouquet turned pale. "I will take the liberty of observing to your Majesty that any proceedings instituted respecting these matters would bring down the greatest scandal upon the dignity of the throne. The august name of Anne of Austria must never be allowed to pass the lips of the people accompanied by a smile."

    "Justice must be done, however, Monsieur." (23.64 – 23.65)

    Justice is defined by King Louis XIV. He decides what it is and who is treated in a just manner.

    Philippe read the following words, hastily traced by the hand of the King:-

    "M. d'Artagnan will conduct the prisoner to the ile Ste. Marguerite. He will cover his face with an iron mask, which the prisoner cannot raise without peril of his life."

    "It is just," said Philippe, with resignation; "I am ready." (24.96 – 24.98)

    Why on earth does Philippe think this is just? What does this tell us about Philippe's character?

    Swearing and grumbling, he had recourse to the syndic of his brotherhood at Antibes, who administer justice among themselves and protect one another; but the gentleman had exhibited a certain paper, at the sight of which the syndic, bowing to the very ground, had enjoined obedience upon the fisherman, and abused him for having been refractory. They then departed with the freight. (31.3)

    Justice is dispensed with arbitrarily. There are plenty of people in this novel who are above the law.

    "Do you ask their pardon of me?"

    "Upon my knees, Sire!"

    "Well, then, go and take it to them, if it be still time. But do you answer for them?" (53.67 – 53.70)

    This is evidence of an unjust system – basically, who you know will get you a free pass, but if the wrong people have it in for you (as in the case of Fouquet), you are doomed.

    "D'Artagnan," said the King, with a smile beaming with kindness, "I could have M. d'Herblay carried off from the territories of the King of Spain, and brought here alive to inflict justice upon him. But, d'Artagnan, be assured I will not yield to this first and natural impulse. He is free; let him continue free." (54.14)

    Again, proof that justice is dispensed arbitrarily under King Louis XIV.

    The young woman raised her head with a solemn air. "A day will come," said she, "when you will repent of having judged me so harshly. On that day, it will be I who will pray God to forgive you for having been unjust towards me. Besides, I shall suffer so much that you will be the first to pity my sufferings."60.31)

    That day comes in the Epilogue.

    "Poor woman!" muttered d'Artagnan, as he helped the attendants to carry back to her carriage her who from that time was to suffer. (Epilogue.85)

    Is this a just fate for La Valliere or perhaps excessive suffering?