Study Guide

The Three Musketeers Society and Class

By Alexandre Dumas

Society and Class

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.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. On one hand we have four young men – Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan – and on the other hand, we have their four servants – Grimaud, Mousqueton, Bazin, and Planchet. What is the master-servant relationship like between each of them? Are the servants similar to their masters? To what extent?
  2. How are appearance and class correlated?
  3. What does it mean to say that Milady is "only a queen while among queens" (56.4)?
  4. To what extent do the royal institutions carry any power? Cardinal Richelieu and the Duke of Buckingham, for instance, are the true powers behind the thrones in their respective countries. Are the royals just figureheads? What role do they play in the novel?

Chew on This

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.

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