D'Artagnan The main character of the novel, d'Artagnan was raised in the French province of Gascony, an area known for its courageous and brave men. The novel begins with his departure from home and his arrival in Paris, taking with him virtually nothing but his good looks, his honesty and integrity, his loyalty to both the king and the cardinal, and his expert swordsmanship. Despite initial blunders and difficulties, d'Artagnan quickly makes friends with the three musketeers, and later he finds himself in a position to do a great service for the queen of France. D'Artagnan's name has become synonymous with a fearless adventurer and a swashbuckling swordsman. At the end of the novel, d'Artagnan's dream of becoming a member of the King's Musketeers is fulfilled, and he is given a commission in the company.
The Three Musketeers
Athos Wounded when d'Artagnan first meets him, Athos will later prove to be the person who wrote his memoirs about these adventurers. He is the most aristocratic of the three musketeers and also the oldest, but d'Artagnan feels closer to Athos than to the other two. Long before Athos reveals that he is the young nobleman who married the wicked Milady (Lady de Winter) during his youth, d'Artagnan is deeply impressed by him. Athos's real name is Count de La Fere.
Aramis He is supposedly passing his time as a musketeer until the queen provides France with an heir, at which time Aramis will enter the priesthood. He was brought up in a monastery, and it was assumed that he would become a priest, but when he was nineteen, he met a young lady and became extremely devoted to her. An officer ordered him never to speak to her again, and so Aramis left the monastery, took fencing lessons for a year, and eventually challenged and killed the haughty officer. Even though we are never told so directly, the lady in question is apparently Madame de Chevreuse, a close friend to the queen. She now lives in exile in Tours.
Porthos The most worldly of the three musketeers, Porthos is extremely proud of his worldly good looks and his fine physique, which he shows off to its best advantage by dressing to impress the women of society, who seem to fully appreciate his good looks and his courtly attentions. He is devoted to good food and comfortable surroundings. At the end of the novel, Porthos gives up musketeering in order to marry an older woman who has inherited a fortune.
The Musketeers' Servants
Planchet d'Artagnan's servant. He is ultimately the sharpest of the servants and serves his master well on many dangerous occasions. Unlike d'Artagnan, Planchet is prudent, but still exhibits moments of great courage and ingenuity. Planchet is able to make a long and dangerous trip to England by himself, and at the end of the novel, he is rewarded for his daring and made a sergeant in the guards.
Grimaud Athos's servant. Because his master is mannerly and rather reticent, Grimaud is also rather reserved. One of the comic incidents in the novel focuses on Athos's forbidding Grimaud to speak unless it is an absolute emergency. A dignified silence passes between them, and thus Grimaud upholds the quiet nobility of his master.
Bazin Aramis's servant. Because Aramis is planning to enter the priesthood, it is only fitting that Bazin should also contemplate a future devoted to the religious life. His utmost desire is to be the servant of a high church official. Bazin believes that Aramis is capable of attaining the rank of cardinal.
Mousqueton Porthos's servant. Like his master, Mousqueton is the most knowledgeable about worldly things. For example, when his master is wounded and is confined to an inn with no money, Mousqueton is able to poach some choice wild game and fish, and he is extremely clever about Western-style roping, a talent he puts to good use when his master needs wine. Cunningly, Mousqueton lassos bottles of wine like an expert and hauls them back to Porthos.
Other Central Characters
Monsieur de Treville The captain of the King's Musketeers, he is an old friend of d'Artagnan's father; thus he will be a special protector of the youthful and impulsive d'Artagnan. He also acts as d'Artagnan's special confidant and advisor and, being genuinely fond of the young man, he watches over him carefully.
Monsieur Bonacieux d'Artagnan's unprincipled landlord who seeks d'Artagnan's help when his young wife is kidnapped; later, he becomes one of the cardinal's toadies, and he even assists in the kidnapping of his own wife.
Constance Bonacieux Bonacieux's wife; she is more than thirty years younger than her husband. Through the influence of her godfather, she has become the queen's linen maid; she is fiercely loyal to the queen. When d'Artagnan first rescues her from the clutches of the cardinal's men, he falls madly in love with her. Consequently, she is able to convince him to go to London in order to save the queen's reputation. Constance eventually realizes that she is in love with d'Artagnan.
Milady, alias Lady de Winter She represents the quintessence of evil in the novel; she is d'Artagnan's wicked nemesis (someone bent on revenge). At first, d'Artagnan is deeply attracted to her physical beauty and charm; however, even after he hears how much she despises him and how she plans to have him murdered, he is still captivated by her loveliness. She acts as the cardinal's personal spy and is responsible for the deaths of (1) a young priest; (2) the duke of Buckingham; (3) de Winter's assistant, John Felton; (4) Constance Bonacieux; and (5) she is probably responsible for her husband, de Winter's, death. In all probability, she is responsible for the deaths of many other innocent, insignificant people who got in the way of her crafty machinations. Milady is finally tracked down by d'Artagnan. the three musketeers, and her brother-in-law, and she is tried and beheaded for her numerous and brutal crimes.
Lord de Winter Lady de Winter's brother-in-law; he suspects that Milady killed his brother in order to inherit vast family properties. When she arrives in England, he knows of her intent to murder Buckingham and himself, so he has her imprisoned. After Felton helps free her and Buckingham is murdered, de Winter joins the others who are determined to punish her. He accuses her of the deaths of his brother, of Buckingham, and John Felton, and he votes for her beheading.
King Louis XIII The king of France — but not a very strong or effective king. He resents Cardinal Richelieu, but he recognizes his dependence on this powerful man.
Queen Anne, or Anne of Austria The king's Spanish queen; she is romantically involved with the duke of Buckingham, a powerful politician in England. Since France is at war with England, Buckingham is an enemy of France; nonetheless, Anne is in love with him, and it is her intrigue with Buckingham which causes d'Artagnan to go on his first adventure to London to retrieve a gift that the queen made to the duke. Despite her love for the masterful Buckingham, Anne is faithful and loyal to her husband, the weak and incapable king of France.
Cardinal Richelieu Historically, he was one of the most powerful diplomats of his time, controlling both individual people and nations with his clever and astute machinations. In this novel, he is presented as the antagonist to the queen — primarily, we are led to believe, because she rejected his romantic advances. Richelieu has spies throughout the country, constantly monitoring the activities of the musketeers, yet he clearly respects their bravery and courage — especially d'Artagnan's, to whom he offers a commission, a lieutenancy.
George Villiers, duke of Buckingham Next to the King of England, he is the most powerful man in England; just as the cardinal controls France, so the duke controls England. These two powerful men once vied for the love of Queen Anne, but since the duke won, he has been an enemy to the cardinal — in matters of politics and love. Buckingham is reputed to be the most handsome man in Europe, besides being one of the most powerful and wealthy, and he is willing to use all of his power, wealth, and influence simply to be near the queen. His love for Anne is so great that he would make any compromise for her. The cardinal knows about this devotion and uses it to his advantage. Buckingham is killed by John Felton, a puritan fanatic.
John Felton A neurotic puritan whom Milady is able to manipulate by pretending to be a "persecuted puritan." Felton's blind devotion to his religion renders him impossible to judge the greatness of Buckingham or to look upon Buckingham as anything but a libertine who should be put to death. Felton is Milady's instrument whereby she can bring about the duke's death.
"The Man from Meung" (Count de Rochefort) This man, the personal representative of the cardinal, is also d'Artagnan's nemesis. He is the man who steals d'Artagnan's introduction to Treville while d'Artagnan is on his way to Paris, and it is de Rochefort who continually appears at various places at unexpected times. He is the man who is twice in charge of abducting Constance Bonacieux, and he is the man who finally tries to arrest d'Artagnan for the cardinal, who ultimately orders the two men to become friends.
Bernajoux One of the most gifted swordsmen in the cardinal's guards. He insults d'Artagnan at a tennis game, and during the ensuing duel, he is defeated by d'Artagnan, thereby making d'Artagnan's name known throughout Paris.
Count de Wardes He first appears as a man with permission to cross the English Channel when the ports have been closed by the cardinal's order. D'Artagnan wounds de Wardes, and later, in Paris, d'Artagnan discovers through Milady's maid, Kitty, that Milady is in love with the count. d'Artagnan then poses as the count in order to make love to Milady.
The Executioner of Lille Athos discovers this man in his laboratory, piecing together a human skeleton. He shows him the piece of paper which the cardinal once gave to Milady, authorizing its bearer to demand any request. When Athos returns with the executioner, the man is wearing a mask and a large red cloak.
During the "trial scene," the executioner reveals that Milady seduced his fifteen-year-old brother into stealing church relics. Both were caught, but Milady escaped, and the boy was convicted as a common criminal; thus the executioner of Lille had to burn the fleur-de-lis onto the shoulder of his own young brother — all because of Milady's evil power. The executioner vowed to find Milady and brand her — and eventually he found her and branded her. Afterward, the brother escaped, hoping to find Milady, and the executioner had to serve out his brother's prison term. Meanwhile, Milady seduced the lord of the province (Athos; de La Fere) and spurned the runaway priest. Dejected, the young man surrendered to the authorities, and during his first evening in jail, he hanged himself.
Monsieur de La Porte The queen's gentleman-in-waiting; he is also Constance Bonacieux's godfather. Because of his influence, Constance becomes the queen's linen maid.
Kitty Milady's lovely and attractive maid who is infatuated with d'Artagnan and, consequently, helps him get revenge against Milady.
Chancellor Seguier The man whom the king assigns to search the queen's room and her person, believing that she has written a love letter to the duke of Buckingham.
Monsieur des Essarts The captain of the king's guards and d'Artagnan's superior, who urges d'Artagnan to volunteer for important missions.
Madame Coquenard Porthos's mistress; she is about fifty — very rich and very miserly. Porthos uses his good looks and charm to get her to buy him equipment for the siege of La Rochelle.
Brisemont Milady's hired assassin who fails in his attempt to kill d'Artagnan, but because his life is spared, he becomes d'Artagnan's devoted servant until he accidentally tastes the poisoned wine sent by Milady and dies, thus saving d'Artagnan's life.
The Queen's Ladies-in-Waiting
Madame de Chevreuse has been exiled to Tours because the king thinks that she is conspiring against him; she is Aramis's beloved.
Madame de Lannoy is one of the cardinal's spies; she reports all of the queen's activities to him; in this way, the cardinal knows about the diamond tags which the queen gave to Buckingham.
Madame Bois-Tracy is a trusted friend of the queen.