Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Gascony. Region of southwestern France between the Atlantic coast, the Garonne River, and the western Pyrenees. In making the hero, d’Artagnan, a Gascon, Alexandre Dumas early establishes the region’s association with boastfulness and flamboyance. He repeatedly demonstrates that d’Artagnan deserves his Gascon reputation for passion, daring, and astuteness. Characterized as an idealistic outsider first encountering the corruption of the capital and the court, d’Artagnan eventually tells the Englishman Lord Buckingham, “The Gascons are the Scotchmen of France.” Other admirable Gascons in the novel include Captain de Treville and Porthos of the king’s musketeers.


*Paris. France’s capital is the scene of much of the action of the novel. Dumas’s representation of the seventeenth century capital combines striking historical accuracy with some nineteenth century anachronisms. Most of the court scenes take place in the Louvre, the royal residence before Versailles (begun in 1661). A Romantic-Gothic atmosphere dominates the fictionalized city, which emerges most memorably as a place of ambush, midnight assignation, kidnapping, eavesdropping, and dueling.

Beyond the Louvre, Dumas’s detailed naming of streets makes it possible to retrace many of d’Artagnan’s movements through Paris on modern maps. Sometimes, however, Dumas calls a seventeenth century street by its nineteenth century name or mentions a building erected years after the story takes place. He also errs by identifying d’Artagnan’s lodging on the rue des Fossoyeurs with a number; Parisian houses started using numbers later, in 1775.


*Meung (muhn). City located on the Loire River, between Orléans and Tours, in which the novel opens. For d’Artagnan’s first appearance en route to the glittering capital where he dreams of making his fortune, Dumas chooses a site resonant with chivalry, his...

(The entire section is 811 words.)

Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

Many of the characters who appear in The Three Musketeers were real people who are depicted reasonably accurately in the novel,...

(The entire section is 491 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The story is set in seventeenth-century France. Dumas's portrait of the time, which was already two centuries past when he wrote about it, is...

(The entire section is 188 words.)

Literary Style

(Novels for Students)

Complicated Story Line
The Three Musketeers, like other romances originally published in serial form, does not...

(The entire section is 734 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Three Musketeers draws on the literary conventions of the three genres to which it belongs: the romantic, the Gothic, and the...

(The entire section is 276 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Because The Three Musketeers takes place in the seventeenth century and was written almost 150 years ago, the standards and customs of...

(The entire section is 496 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Novels for Students)

1600s: Medicine is in its infancy and still consists mostly of the use of herbs and other traditional medicines, many of...

(The entire section is 258 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. The title of the book is The Three Musketeers, but the story seems to be mostly about d'Artagnan, who does not become a musketeer...

(The entire section is 315 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. How does d'Artagnan's character change from the beginning of the novel to the end? What episodes reveal these changes?

2. At...

(The entire section is 273 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Research the code of chivalry and the ideals it upholds. How do the Musketeers advocate this code? Find several events in which their actions...

(The entire section is 121 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Because of the huge success of The Three Musketeers, Dumas wrote two sequels to it. Both of them are set much later than the original...

(The entire section is 614 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Novels for Students)

Charlie Sheen as Aramis, Kiefer Sutherland as Athos, and Oliver Platt as Porthos in the 1993 film version of the novel Published by Gale Cengage

Over sixty films and spin-offs have been made based on the novel. The most notable were filmed in 1933, directed by Colbert Clark and Armand...

(The entire section is 66 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

Dumas's The Man in the Iron Mask (1848-1850) tells the tale of a mysterious political prisoner in the late 1600s.


(The entire section is 115 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Hemmings, F. W. J. The King of Romance: A Portrait of Alexandre Dumas. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1979. This is the best of the more...

(The entire section is 279 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Foote-Greenwell, Victoria, "The Life and Resurrection of Alexandre Dumas," in Smithsonian, July 1996,...

(The entire section is 177 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Hemmings, F. W. J. Alexandre Dumas: The King of Romance. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1979. Illustrations and copious endnotes. Chapter 9, “The Novelist,” discusses The Three Musketeers at length and describes Dumas’ transition from playwright to novelist.

Maurois, Andre. Alexandre Dumas: A Great Life in Brief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1955. Short but still authoritative and dramatic biography by the distinguished French author, dealing primarily with Dumas père. Several chapters discuss aspects of The Three Muske-teers.

Maurois, Andre. The Titans: A...

(The entire section is 251 words.)