d'Artagnan is a fictional character created by Alexandre Dumas who first appears as the protagonist in the novel The Three Musketeers. Like several of Dumas' characters, he is loosely based on a real person - Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan.
The real d'Artagnan's life was used as the basis for Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras' (1644-1712) novel Les mémoires de M. d'Artagnan. Alexandre Dumas in turn used de Sandras' novel as the main source for his d'Artagnan Romances (The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne), which cover d'Artagnan's career from his humble life's beginnings in Gascony to his death at Maastricht. Although Dumas knew that de Sandras' version was heavily fictionalised, in the preface to The Three Musketeers he affected to believe that the memoirs were real, in order to make his novel more believable.
The character is initially a hotheaded youth, and tries to engage the Comte de Rochefort and the three musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis in single combat. He quickly becomes friends with the musketeers, and has a series of adventures which put him at odds with Cardinal Richelieu, then First Minister of France. In the end, Richelieu is impressed by d'Artagnan, and makes him a Lieutenant of the Musketeers. This begins his long career of military service, as detailed in the sequels to Dumas' famous novel.
Another Comte d'Artagnan, Pierre de Montesquiou (1645–1725), contributed the idea that Dumas' d'Artagnan should become a Marshal of France.
In other works
French poet Edmond Rostand wrote the play Cyrano de Bergerac in 1897. After one of the play's famous scenes, in which Cyrano defeats Valvert in a duel while completing a poem, d'Artagnan approaches Cyrano and congratulates him on his fine swordsmanship.
Baroness Emma Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel series has a character named Baron Charles de Batz, a scheming, Machiavellian royalist who is willing to betray Sir Percy Blakeney to advance his own agendas. The name was probably selected as an in-joke, as the character is the polar opposite of the hero of the d'Artagnan series.
In a manga, Belmonde le Visiteur, d'Artagnan is the name of the main antagonist, along with his friends the musketeers.
Actors who have played d'Artagnan on screen include:
- Aimé Simon-Girard, in Les Trois Mousquetaires (1921)
- Douglas Fairbanks, in The Three Musketeers (1921), and The Iron Mask (1929)
- Walter Abel, in The Three Musketeers (1935)
- Don Ameche, in The Three Musketeers (1939)
- Warren William, in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)
- Gene Kelly, in The Three Musketeers (1948)
- Cornel Wilde, in At Sword's Point (1952)
- Laurence Payne, in The Three Musketeers (TV serial) (1954)
- Maximilian Schell, in The Three Musketeers (TV movie) (1960)
- Gerard Barrais, in Les Trois Mousquetaires (French) (1963)
- Jeremy Brett, in The Three Musketeers (TV serial) (1966)
- Sancho Gracia, Los Tres Mosqueteros (TV Series) (1971)
- Michael York, in The Three Musketeers (1973), The Four Musketeers (1974), The Return of the Musketeers (1989), and La Femme Musketeer (TV miniseries) (2003)
- Mikhail Boyarsky, in d'Artagnan and Three Musketeers (1978) and its sequels (1992, 1993, 2009)
- Louis Jourdan, in The Man in the Iron Mask (TV Movie) (1977)
- Cornel Wilde, in The Fifth Musketeer (1979)
- Chris O'Donnell, in The Three Musketeers (1993)
- Philippe Noiret, in d'Artagnan's Daughter (1994)
- Gabriel Byrne, in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
- Justin Chambers, in The Musketeer (2001)
- Hugh Dancy, in Young Blades (2001)