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Old 06-21-2018, 08:19 AM   #91
Bookpossum
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Yes, she is condemned to death by the vigilantes mostly on suspicion of misdeeds rather than because of any clear evidence. The only exception I think is her killing of Constance, and that was pure vindictiveness, so harder to forgive.

I can't remember now if there was proof that it was she who sent D'Artagnan the poisoned wine, though we do know she sent assassins to polish him off. When you think of what D'Artagnan did to her, there was a certain amount of provocation.

I agree with you issybird on Clytemnestra - plenty of provocation there too.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:12 AM   #92
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And yet, still she is dead in the end.
Well, yes. But it was a great ride. I'd have loved to see her triumph once more - if only she had pushed on a little farther! There are echoes of the flight to Varennes where if only the royal family hadn't dawdled so, they might have made it. And as I said, Buckingham was portrayed as mostly a good guy and he ended up just as dead. (Well, he had to, as that's what happened.)

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Yes, she is condemned to death by the vigilantes mostly on suspicion of misdeeds rather than because of any clear evidence. The only exception I think is her killing of Constance, and that was pure vindictiveness, so harder to forgive.
She didn't have much choice when it came to Constance, in order to save her own skin. If Constance hadn't swooned at the critical moment (those women and their fainting fits!), Milady would have hauled her along. And as you pointed out somewhere upthread, Bookpossum, Constance did have to be killed off. It was hard to see her as moral when she was a married woman.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:15 AM   #93
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[...] I also found the prose witty and enjoyable in itself. I suspect a modern translation helped with that. Frequently I had the sense that Dumas was subverting his own story, as when d'Artagnan sold his horse and the beating of Planchet, for two examples already cited. I found that far funnier than the over-the-top antics, which were quite tedious and frequently offensive.
Yes there were times through the first half where I found myself smiling as I was reading, all due to his manner of expression. But in some respects this made it feel all the more discordant to me. I wanted to enjoy myself (I came to this book expecting to enjoy myself), but was sent off balance by the "Don Quixote at eighteen" description and never regained it. It was as if the author could not make up his mind whether this was a farce or a serious story. And I'm not just talking about how the last part was darker, but by the dissonance right through. I wondered if the problem was that he almost had the ability to pull off a comedy, but not quite. Had it been a well executed comedy there is a lot we might have laughed off as being in the style of a The Three Stooges (although I've never really been a fan of slapstick). But, as it was, the smile on my face had a hesitant, nervous, quality to it, always wondering if the next sentence was another one that was going to make me cringe.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:59 AM   #94
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And yet, perversely, I liked the book for the portrayal of Lady de Winter, with her cunning and her refusal to accept the limitations of her position, both in particular and as a woman. She extricated herself from that convent, even from the hangman, and lived a large and powerful life. She was awesome. Events caught up with her, but so they did with Buckingham, as a real-life example. She still did very well by her time, when lives were short and brutish.

Yeah, I know we're supposed to find her evil, but I doubt the modern reader does.
This is a book that seems to need a female-centric retelling--especially Milady's story. Suppose the story she tells Felton is largely true. Suppose she's being persecuted not for anything evil she's done, but merely because she's fought back against cruel and stupid men. Why can't she be the heroine? Why can't there be a version of the story where she triumphs?

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Yes, she is condemned to death by the vigilantes mostly on suspicion of misdeeds rather than because of any clear evidence. The only exception I think is her killing of Constance, and that was pure vindictiveness, so harder to forgive.
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She didn't have much choice when it came to Constance, in order to save her own skin. If Constance hadn't swooned at the critical moment (those women and their fainting fits!), Milady would have hauled her along. And as you pointed out somewhere upthread, Bookpossum, Constance did have to be killed off. It was hard to see her as moral when she was a married woman.
I think the main reason Constance had to be killed off was not that she was married (it would've been easy enough to have her husband conk out), but to show one clear crime that could be attributed to Milady and thereby justify her execution. We have only secondhand reports of her perfidy otherwise, I think.

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I actually listened to David Clarke's excellent Librivox version. Don't be fooled by his first few sentences. His French accent and voices are great.
Thanks--I'll try that one when I'm fully recovered from The Three Musketeers!
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:06 AM   #95
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Yes there were times through the first half where I found myself smiling as I was reading, all due to his manner of expression. But in some respects this made it feel all the more discordant to me. I wanted to enjoy myself (I came to this book expecting to enjoy myself), but was sent off balance by the "Don Quixote at eighteen" description and never regained it. It was as if the author could not make up his mind whether this was a farce or a serious story. And I'm not just talking about how the last part was darker, but by the dissonance right through. I wondered if the problem was that he almost had the ability to pull off a comedy, but not quite.
It could be as simple as that a story that tries to be all things to all readers doesn't succeed at any of them, or that while some hybrids work (adventure/romance, humor/adventure, etc.), there is a limit to how many slashes you can pull off at one time. Black humor can take in a lot, but there was an earnestness about this that black humor doesn't permit. Or, as you said, Dumas didn't quite have the talent. Comedy is harder than drama.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:12 AM   #96
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I've never, after four tries, been able to finish TTM. And I have, absolutely, tried. I simply can't.

It's not particularly the treatment of the women, although it's despicable by the standards of any point in time, after the cave.

...

I simply don't see, time period or otherwise, what "Chivalry" or "honor" exists in the book. Nor humor, unless you're partial to the sort of crude, mean-spirited humor that infects 12-y.o. boys. (And out of which they grow, hopefully.)

"Romantic heroes?" In whose book, no pun intended? I see absolutely nothing romantic about any of them, in any sense of the word. I find them pretty loathsome, all in, on all fronts.

...


The behavior that is so odious isn't related to the time period. We're not talking about that, in any way, manner, shape or form. I think most of us can look past behavior that's related to a point in time; we can read Mark Twain, etc.

I simply can't tell myself that the decidedly non-heroic antics of this gang is based in that. It seems, rather, to be based in an utterly narcissistic, nearly-sociopathic disregard for the lives, the quality of live, the feelings or existence of anyone beyond themselves. The only reason, IMHO, that this book has survived as it has is because the "high points" of the book--the alleged honorable swordfights, working for the "good guys" etc., are what get remembered and what are portrayed in the myriad movies, all of which ignore completely the more-disgusting, and more-telling, behavior of our "heroes."

I have thousands of books in my home, more on my Kindles, and I can count on one hand the number that I've never finished. This counts as one of them.

FWIW.
I completely agree, Hitch. This was the third or fourth time I've tried to read T3M, and it's the last time I'll even try. I just don't find anything whatsoever in their behaviour that is in any way laudable or even excusable. And it isn't just the period in time -- the treatment of others is reprehensible at any point in history.

I'm really sorry we had to read this particular Dumas. His others are not as bad, if my memory serves me correctly. In fact, I quite enjoyed both The Count of Monte Cristo and The Man in the Iron Mask when I read them many years ago.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:38 AM   #97
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I completely agree, Hitch. This was the third or fourth time I've tried to read T3M, and it's the last time I'll even try. I just don't find anything whatsoever in their behaviour that is in any way laudable or even excusable. And it isn't just the period in time -- the treatment of others is reprehensible at any point in history.

I'm really sorry we had to read this particular Dumas. His others are not as bad, if my memory serves me correctly. In fact, I quite enjoyed both The Count of Monte Cristo and The Man in the Iron Mask when I read them many years ago.
Someday, I'm going to force myself to finish it, simply because I can't abide anything in the category of "unfinished business." But between non-fiction reading, for my biz (and life) of which I do a lot, and fiction (so many books, so little time), it's going to have to wait until I have enough time not to begrudge the time spent plowing through the very last of it.

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Old 06-21-2018, 10:46 AM   #98
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This is a book that seems to need a female-centric retelling--especially Milady's story. Suppose the story she tells Felton is largely true. Suppose she's being persecuted not for anything evil she's done, but merely because she's fought back against cruel and stupid men. Why can't she be the heroine? Why can't there be a version of the story where she triumphs?
I was thinking along much the same lines. I'm not sure a retelling could viably save her from murder (it would no longer be the same story), but it may make the tragedy of her death more apparent and perhaps find a way of interpreting the death as a form of a triumph. I am not sure it is necessary to change that much (such as making the story she tells Felton true), but simply have her choices made more apparent - because it seems to me that women in those times had precious few choices.

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I think the main reason Constance had to be killed off was not that she was married (it would've been easy enough to have her husband conk out), but to show one clear crime that could be attributed to Milady and thereby justify her execution. We have only secondhand reports of her perfidy otherwise, I think.[...]
I was thinking that maybe Dumas had killed her off to get ready for the sequel (leaving d'Artagnan free for a new romance), but I see the sequel is set twenty years later so it would have been easy to have bumped her off between books. With that excuse out of the way, I think your explanation makes the most sense to me.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:52 AM   #99
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I'm with issybird in that I quite enjoyed it, accepting all it's many flaws. I certainly didn't hate it like some here seem to. It helped to listen to it, I think, rather than read it myself. I thought that much of the time Dumas was trying for humour or irony, even if it didn't always succeed, and incidents like D'Artagnan selling his horse didn't bother me at all. You give a kid something in the expectation that they will do with it as they will, in my experience.


And I may be alone in being the only one who cheered Milady's death. Yes, she was undoubtedly the best character in the book, and the story only really took off once she appeared, but her murder of the put-upon Constance, so unnecessary, was what did it for me. She richly deserved her fate.

Last edited by orlok; 06-21-2018 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:53 AM   #100
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Someday, I'm going to force myself to finish it, simply because I can't abide anything in the category of "unfinished business." But between non-fiction reading, for my biz (and life) of which I do a lot, and fiction (so many books, so little time), it's going to have to wait until I have enough time not to begrudge the time spent plowing through the very last of it.

Hitch
Life is too short to spend one additional minute on it! I used to ALWAYS finish a book. Now? I just let go of it and move on to the next. There are some books I will force myself to finish because I know there's value there, even if I'm not necessarily enjoying it. But this book does not meet that criteria!
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:20 AM   #101
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This is a book that seems to need a female-centric retelling--especially Milady's story. Suppose the story she tells Felton is largely true. Suppose she's being persecuted not for anything evil she's done, but merely because she's fought back against cruel and stupid men. Why can't she be the heroine? Why can't there be a version of the story where she triumphs?
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I was thinking along much the same lines. I'm not sure a retelling could viably save her from murder (it would no longer be the same story), but it may make the tragedy of her death more apparent and perhaps find a way of interpreting the death as a form of a triumph. I am not sure it is necessary to change that much (such as making the story she tells Felton true), but simply have her choices made more apparent - because it seems to me that women in those times had precious few choices.
For me, her story already was one where she triumphed, her death notwithstanding. Although I admit I'd have liked her to get away, just to imagine further intrigues and a future standoff. Again perversely, I could appreciate the cruelty of her death because if there was any sense in which I regarded the Musketeers as men of any principle whatsoever, that was the end of it.

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I think the main reason Constance had to be killed off was not that she was married (it would've been easy enough to have her husband conk out), but to show one clear crime that could be attributed to Milady and thereby justify her execution. We have only secondhand reports of her perfidy otherwise, I think.
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I was thinking that maybe Dumas had killed her off to get ready for the sequel (leaving d'Artagnan free for a new romance), but I see the sequel is set twenty years later so it would have been easy to have bumped her off between books. With that excuse out of the way, I think your explanation makes the most sense to me.
I have to agree that Catlady's explanation makes sense. I always had Constance pegged as someone who'd be sacrificed as there wasn't a story going forward and because morality was mostly incumbent on a woman, so I wasn't surprised by her death nor did I think of it in terms of Lady de Winter's evilness. She was just the agent for bumping her off, a necessary death.
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:28 AM   #102
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This is a book that seems to need a female-centric retelling--especially Milady's story. Suppose the story she tells Felton is largely true. Suppose she's being persecuted not for anything evil she's done, but merely because she's fought back against cruel and stupid men. Why can't she be the heroine? Why can't there be a version of the story where she triumphs?
Let's not forget how Milady is branded--by the revenge-seeking brother of her seduced priest, whose name escapes me. Allegedly the brand is for theft--but she wears it due to revenge. She's branded as a felon, even though she's never spent time in prison. (Remember, the fleur-de-lis means, you're a CONVICT.) She's not a murderess, at this point in time; she's simply a girl-child (after all, at the time of TTM, she's all of what, 22?) who seduces a priest, convinces him to abscond and take the chalices or whatever. Now, for this, mind you, basically, Athos HANGS HER. Because she's branded a thief. Tough divorce. Nobody can tell me that this is anything but his wounded pride, taking angry revenge. It's certainly a far cry from anything remotely resembling justice.

Let us also not forget that throughout the entire book, the "romantic" comings and goings of the boys are great merriment, are they not? Isn't it just hilarious, how they betray their lovers, get them to steal for them, fool them into thinking that they're well-loved, but are merely used and discarded, sans any thought of consequence? It's just such a kick, right? Ho-ho-ho, so clever of Porthos, to fool his simpering, foolish mistress into stealing those jewels! (or whatever it was, can't remember now).

So, Milady deserves to be branded, to be hung, for basically doing the same thing--having an affair with a priest, whom she convinces to steal the chalices--while the lads are heroes and jolly good fellows, boys being boys, for doing exactly the same rollicking, fun things???? "Hale fellow, well met, let's go string up the b**ch!"


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I think the main reason Constance had to be killed off was not that she was married (it would've been easy enough to have her husband conk out), but to show one clear crime that could be attributed to Milady and thereby justify her execution. We have only secondhand reports of her perfidy otherwise, I think.
She's imprisoned by deWinter, because he suspects that she poisoned his brother, and his justification for this is that he's been informed that Athos is alive, which renders her marriage to Sheffield invalid, and the child a bastard, for all intents and purposes. He takes the law into his own hands--because he has sweet FA for any type of proof--and tosses her in the clink. Again, Milady is adjudged to be eeeeeevvvvvviiiiiillllllll, sans any type of actual court, evidence, etc. But he suspects her, so, sure, what the hell, imprison her! After all--she's evil, and a man has told him so!

Sure, she kills Constance. No argument. She deserves to die for that. But in terms of the rest? She's living in a time frame when a woman's choices in life were marriage, convent, prostitution. She's doing what she can, to stay alive and NOT be a street prossy. I don't approve of her killing of poor Constance, of course--but she definitely gets the short end of the stick, throughout, repeatedly, and D'artagnan is hardly blameless in this.

I don't think that there's a way to write a female-centric retelling that gets Milady off the hook on the Constance angle--I don't see a "Mists of Avalon" version of TTM emerging anytime soon. Unless you significantly change the boys themselves, and turn them into decent human beings--which is, let's face it, more than a "retelling," and show Constance's alleged poisoning to be something else, NOT at the feed of LdW, which is not possible without just throwing over the book completely...you can't get there from here. By this time, any shreds of humanity remaining in LdW are pretty thoroughly stamped out. She does murder Constance in cold blood, just to revenge herself upon D'Artagnan. That is unforgiveable, in any environment. But I suspect that most people, having been dealt the cards that Milady was dealt, might be pretty damn blackhearted by that point, too.

Oh, well. Back to work, for me. Enough fun yammering about the 4 Sociopaths and their "pranks."

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Old 06-21-2018, 12:34 PM   #103
Catlady
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I don't think that there's a way to write a female-centric retelling that gets Milady off the hook on the Constance angle--I don't see a "Mists of Avalon" version of TTM emerging anytime soon. Unless you significantly change the boys themselves, and turn them into decent human beings--which is, let's face it, more than a "retelling," and show Constance's alleged poisoning to be something else, NOT at the feed of LdW, which is not possible without just throwing over the book completely...you can't get there from here. By this time, any shreds of humanity remaining in LdW are pretty thoroughly stamped out. She does murder Constance in cold blood, just to revenge herself upon D'Artagnan. That is unforgiveable, in any environment. But I suspect that most people, having been dealt the cards that Milady was dealt, might be pretty damn blackhearted by that point, too.
Oh, I think you can get Milady off the hook for Constance. Let's assume a version of the story in which Milady escapes execution and writes an account of her life, which is preserved for years, and finally found by someone who decides to correct the record and publish the "real story," not the self-justifying one the musketeers told.

In Milady's version, the musketeers are the criminals and they lie about Constance's death--perhaps she dies accidentally, perhaps she stays in the convent. They lie about Milady's execution because they are embarrassed that she outwitted them.

Okay, maybe it's more a reinvention than a retelling, but since the musketeers are already clearly a pack of thugs, why believe their story? All that's needed is to turn up their deceit and lawlessness a little bit more.
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:12 PM   #104
Hitch
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Oh, I think you can get Milady off the hook for Constance. Let's assume a version of the story in which Milady escapes execution and writes an account of her life, which is preserved for years, and finally found by someone who decides to correct the record and publish the "real story," not the self-justifying one the musketeers told.

In Milady's version, the musketeers are the criminals and they lie about Constance's death--perhaps she dies accidentally, perhaps she stays in the convent. They lie about Milady's execution because they are embarrassed that she outwitted them.

Okay, maybe it's more a reinvention than a retelling, but since the musketeers are already clearly a pack of thugs, why believe their story? All that's needed is to turn up their deceit and lawlessness a little bit more.

Well, yes--if we change the story rather extremely, sure. I was thinking more that we had to color within the lines, (somehat like MoA), but what the hell? Why not? As you say, the boys are hardly such paragons of virtue that their rendition of the story is beyond reproach.

:-)

Hitch
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:42 PM   #105
Catlady
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Well, yes--if we change the story rather extremely, sure. I was thinking more that we had to color within the lines, (somehat like MoA), but what the hell? Why not? As you say, the boys are hardly such paragons of virtue that their rendition of the story is beyond reproach.

:-)

Hitch
Coloring within the lines is overrated!
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