The primary friendship featured in The Three Musketeers is between four young gentlemen devoted to the King. Their friendship allows them to combine forces and defeat evil powers that might otherwise prevail. Friendship is thus portrayed in an immensely positive light in The Three Musketeers – the friends never argue, and they are always there to share with each other and support each other.
Out of the three Musketeers, D’Artagnan is closest friends with Athos.
The Man from Meung, also known as the Comte de Rochefort, and D’Artagnan are likely to become friends.
Love takes an intensely idealized romantic form in The Three Musketeers as the heroes typically fall in love at first sight with a beautiful woman. Beautiful women in the novel are meant to be worshiped and protected; a man proves his love for a woman with the most extravagant acts he can imagine. This bears little resemblance to the way love is pictured in other novels where love is a potential source of friction or misery. In The Three Musketeers a woman’s love is a goal that many of the male characters work towards.
The Duke loves the idea of being in love with the Queen of France; he doesn’t actually love her.
D’Artagnan truly loves Constance Bonacieux.
Despite being loved by both the Cardinal and the Duke of Buckingham, Queen Anne lacks the power to improve her life.
In the world of The Three Musketeers, gentlemen are typically very proud and do not take insults lightly. A casual misunderstanding frequently results in a duel; in order to preserve their pride, men will fight to the death. Wounded pride is not always so easily resolved, however, and the desire for vengeance is one of the driving engines of the novel.
Athos is by far the proudest of the four friends.
The Cardinal’s pride is responsible for his attack on La Rochelle.
The characters in this novel come from a number of different class backgrounds ranging from servant to king, but nobody disputes their place in the social hierarchy. Rather, they all understand the limitations that class places on their ambition and work within that framework. Also, being a member of the royalty does not necessarily correlate with power. In the novel, members of the monarchy are portrayed as figureheads while real power rests elsewhere.
In The Three Musketeers, there is no correlation between class and money. You can be dirt poor but still belong to the upper class, while you could conversely be very wealthy but not considered as one of the elite.
As mentioned earlier, revenge is one of the engines propelling the novel forward. Whether insults are real or perceived, characters take immediate steps to redress the issue. No one in The Three Musketeers likes getting hurt; when they are injured or insulted, they make sure they get even.
Milady exacts her revenge by using others because she lacks the physical strength to exact it by force.
Revenge has nothing to do with Athos’s determination to try and sentence Milady. He is motivated purely by justice.
Ambition in The Three Musketeers is circumscribed by a character’s position on the social ladder. The characters as a whole, however, are quite an ambitious bunch. Thus the moments when they put their ambitions on hold are particularly telling moments, as well as the moments when their ambitious sides are let loose.
Aramis is not serious in his ambition to be a priest.
Aramis is serious in his ambition to be a priest.
In The Three Musketeers, life is given a very casual treatment. It’s definitely not a good thing when someone dies, but the survivors sure don’t spend much time crying about it. Glory, honor, and love are all presented as being more important than life, and as ideals worth dying for. The Three Musketeers is a work of historical fiction in which the main characters’ lives are frequently influenced by sweeping historic events. The contextualization might indicate that an individual life is not valuable outside of higher and grander ideals. That’s not to say that the main characters don’t enjoy life. On the contrary, they do, but they willingly and frequently risk their lives throughout the course of the novel.
Life is treated as secondary to love, honor, and glory in The Three Musketeers.
Loyalty in The Three Musketeers is rarely earned and always blindly absolute. It is also a highly respected and coveted quality. Loyalty is a prized currency in the world of The Three Musketeers, where characters must count on the loyalties of others in order to secure their own protection. Loyalty is typically demonstrated by extremely daring and life-risking acts, and the compensation is usually not commensurate.
Loyalty in The Three Musketeers is always blind.
Loyalty in The Three Musketeers is always to a cause, and never to a person.