The Three Musketeers By Alexandre Dumas Summary and Analysis Part 1: Chapters 6-7

Summary

Hearing how the three musketeers and d'Artagnan fought with five of the cardinal's guards and left four of them lying on the ground, King Louis calls in Monsieur de Treville for an explanation. The king pretends to be angry, but he is secretly pleased that his musketeers defeated the cardinal's guards. In particular, he wants to have an audience with d'Artagnan, the young Gascon who fought so daringly.

The next day, the three musketeers and d'Artagnan spend the morning playing tennis. D'Artagnan doesn't know how to play the game, and after retiring to the sidelines, he is insulted by one of the cardinal's most gifted swordsmen, Bernajoux. During a duel, d'Artagnan overpowers the superior swordsman, but he is attacked by others, and soon, musketeers and cardinalists are embroiled in a free-for-all brawl. The three musketeers, however, are able to extract themselves because they have a noontime meeting with the king; unfortunately, His Majesty went hunting that morning after one of the cardinal's men told him that there was a magnificent stag in a neighboring woods.

By the time that Treville is able to have an audience with the king, Louis has heard about this new brawl with the cardinal's guards. Treville is able to prove, though, that the cardinal's men provoked the quarrel and were soundly defeated. The king then has an audience with the three musketeers and d'Artagnan and hears d'Artagnan describe in detail the events of the preceding days. Satisfied, the king rewards d'Artagnan with forty pistoles, which d'Artagnan divides with the three musketeers.

In Chapter 7, d'Artagnan asks for advice concerning how he should spend his share of the forty pistoles; Athos tells him to have a good meal, Porthos tells him to hire a servant, and Aramis tells him to take a mistress. d'Artagnan hires a servant named Planchet, who serves them all a fine meal. We then learn more about the musketeers.

Athos, although handsome and intelligent, lives a quiet life with Grimaud; they virtually never speak to one another. Porthos, however, is different; he is loud and outgoing, and his servant Mousqueton is also loud and rough. Aramis is the most reserved of the three, and his servant, Bazin, is a pious fellow who looks forward to Aramis's entering the priesthood.

When d'Artagnan enters the king's company of guards, under Monsieur des Essarts, the three musketeers often accompany d'Artagnan on his guard duties. Very soon, the four are constantly seen together.

Analysis

As stated earlier in the novel, the only way for a poor young man from Gascony to make his fortune is to have the courage, daring, and bravery to attract the attention of powerful people. Fortunately, fate arranges matters so that d'Artagnan is confronted by members of the cardinal's guard, who have the reputation of being expert swordsmen. The fact that so young a man defeats so experienced and polished a swordsman as the cardinalist Bernajoux attracts the attention of the king himself, who rewards d'Artagnan and requests that the young Gascon be placed in special troops, an honor which will lead to d'Artagnan's later becoming a musketeer.

The modern reader is often perplexed at the blatant disregard for human life that is so often found in this "swashbuckling" type of novel, but it is a common characteristic of the genre; d'Artagnan himself seems to have little or no regard for his own life as long as he dies an honorable death at the hands of someone whom he considers noble.

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