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Thread: Man in the Iron Mask

  1. #1
    Lady - Janey
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    Summary

    Aramis becomes General of the Jesuit Order. <br><br>He goes to visit a prisoner in the Bastille, who it turns out is the kings twin brother, bribes the Governor and has him freed.<br><br>Tries to switch Phillippe with Louis XIV the King at a fete at Fouquet's house with the help of Porthos who doesn't know anything about the plot. (Fouquet - is Minister of Finance.)<br><br>Succeeds and has Louis replace Philippe in the Bastille.<br><br>Aramis tells Fouquet what he has done. <br><br>Fouquet goes and frees Louis and when Louis sees Philippe he condemns him to an iron mask on the Island St Marguerite. <br><br>Aramis and Porthos flee. <br><br>They go to visit Athos and Aramis tells him what they'vedone.<br><br>Athos's son Raoul is broken hearted because his girlfriend has gone off with Louis XIV.<br><br>Raoul and Athos go south because Raoul is leaving for war in Africa. They visit the Island St Marguerite where they see D'Artagnan who bought Philippe there.<br><br>Raoul, Athos and D'Artagnan leave St Marguerite.<br><br>Raoul goes off to war in Africa where he commits sucide.<br><br>Aramis and Porthos hide at Belle Isle. Louis sends D'Artagnan to capture them.<br><br>They escape but Porthos is crushed to death by falling rocks.<br><br>Aramis escapes to Spain. <br><br>Athos dies of a broken heart. <br><br>Louis becomes a better king. <br><br>He makes D'Artagnan Marshall of France. <br><br>Aramis returns to France as a Spanish Ambassador.<br><br>D'Artagnan is killed by a cannon in a battle. <br><br><br>

  2. #2
    Theresa
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    Man in the Iron Mask

    Can someone please email me a summery of the book? I would really like to know about the book.<br><br>Thanks<br><br>[email protected]

  3. #3
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    Louis didn't become a better king, Aramis had him replaced once he boarded the boat and the captain recognized him as the general of the Jesuits. That is why the king wouldn't see D'Artagnan right away and the king told D'Artagnan to "judge me from this day forward." D'Artagnan's audience with the king rendered him "bewildered, mute, undecided for the first time in his life. He had just found an adversary worthy of him."

    Why else four years later would the king allow Aramis to even eat at his same table. Would you want to eat with a man that had designs of ruining you with a state secret as delicate as the man in the iron mask?

    I like that Dumas didn't digest everything for the reader. I admit, I had to re-read portions of the Louis XIV chapter over to get the subtle changes in the king. Dumas was a genius.

  4. #4
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    Summary

    Louis didn't become a better king, Aramis had him replaced once he boarded the boat and the captain recognized him as the general of the Jesuits. That is why the king wouldn't see D'Artagnan right away and the king told D'Artagnan to "judge me from this day forward." D'Artagnan's audience with the king rendered him "bewildered, mute, undecided for the first time in his life. He had just found an adversary worthy of him."

    Why else four years later would the king allow Aramis to even eat at the same table. Would you want to eat with a man that had designs of ruining you with a state secret as delicate as the man in the iron mask?

    I like that Dumas didn't digest everything for the reader. I admit, I had to re-read portions of the Louis XIV chapter over to get the subtle changes in the king. Dumas was a genius.

  5. #5
    Heart Strutter Brigitte's Avatar
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    Your summary does not say what happens to Philippe or Louis in the end.

  6. #6
    Resident Suicidalist lordoftheview's Avatar
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    Then read the book and find out.
    With the nature I know I possess, I shall die as I have lived, sad, surly with others, a burden to myself. - "Les Compagnons de Jehu", Alexandre Dumas

  7. #7
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    Can anyone tell me if there's an actual book of The Man In the Iron Mask that actually tells the entire story in a regular book format. You know when it shows diction of the characters??? I would really like to read this novel!

  8. #8
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alayne View Post
    Louis didn't become a better king, Aramis had him replaced once he boarded the boat and the captain recognized him as the general of the Jesuits. That is why the king wouldn't see D'Artagnan right away and the king told D'Artagnan to "judge me from this day forward." D'Artagnan's audience with the king rendered him "bewildered, mute, undecided for the first time in his life. He had just found an adversary worthy of him."

    Why else four years later would the king allow Aramis to even eat at the same table. Would you want to eat with a man that had designs of ruining you with a state secret as delicate as the man in the iron mask?

    I like that Dumas didn't digest everything for the reader. I admit, I had to re-read portions of the Louis XIV chapter over to get the subtle changes in the king. Dumas was a genius.
    I think we are on the wrong track, here… I don’t think it was Dumas’ intention at all to ‘change’ Louis XIV into his own twin brother and to make Louis change dramatically and become ‘a better king’, as it were…
    Firstly, the mystery of the ‘man in the iron mask’ is a ‘mystery’ not made up by Dumas, but by Voltaire, based on a true prisoner who was in the Bastille and before on the island of Ste-Marguerite (the island Philippe is sent to after the whole hoax went wrong). There was and still is a lot of speculation about the identity of the prisoner. Dumas took the one of the twin of Louis XIV, but made him a younger twin, rather than the older twin according to some speculation. Now it is believed that the prisoner was a valet of a former state prisoner, incarcerated for another reason which he was eventually released for, but the valet knew too much and was kept in prison. However, the mask wasn’t used for the reason that the face wasn’t to be seen. It is now believed that the mask was only put on him especially for the purpose of creating a mystery and some importance for Mr de Saint-Mars, who was the keeper on Ste-Marguerite, but lost his two principle state prisoners (Mr Fouquet and another) and wanted to feel important and took one of them to the Bastille with a mask, when he got the post of governor of the prison. Ever since then there has been speculation.

    Anyway, I don’t think in the book, Louis XIV was changed again into his twin after the first attempt, because there is no talk of the prisoner anymore. But not only for that, though… I have several reasons: firstly Louis XIV is supposed to turn out a powerful king who stabilised France after civil wars and weak kings who used prime ministers as Richelieu and even worse Mazarin. Secondly, the character of Louis, before there is talk of Aramis plotting against him, does develop and doesn’t abruptly change apart from when the plot is carried out in Vaux during Fouquet’s party. Thirdly, d’Artagnan knows from the beginning of the plot that there is something going on. Admittedly, he says that Philippe is as noble and only lacks him (d’Artagnan) and Fouquet, but he has an oath, and as featured several times in the book, he will serve the king and no-one else. It is therefore impossible that the king would have been replaced, because d’Artagnan would have done something against that. Fourthly, Philippe was a weak, manipulated figure. It is impossible that he would have become so powerful and that Aramis would have gone away to Spain and not have become his prime minister…

    This might become a little long, but I’ll try to keep it short. All the reasons I have to reject the fact that Dumas ended the book with the replacement of Louis by Philippe as Louis XIV, are intertwined, so I will try to explain...
    In the beginning, Louis XIV, like his father, is dominated by a prime minister. He tries to help his cousin (‘king’ Charles II of England), but sadly fails in persuading Mazarin in doing so. When finally Mazarin dies, Louis tries to pull all power to himself, but no-one believes that he should be a king in his own right. Fouquet still runs the country and is continually using money in his own interest. Colbert (accountant (?) of the king) is ambitious and rather wants to get rid of Fouquet so he can become prime minister himself. So he tries anything to manipulate the king into getting rid of Fouquet. D’Artagnan in the meantime has become greatly frustrated with his ‘boss’ because he regards him as a useless person, like the former king Louis XIII. The king sees him in turn as a peculiar servant, because he does things without explicit orders, but things that are wanted. On the other hand d’Artagnan would like to see the king take charge of his life and of the kingdom. The king finally takes charge, or a hesitating attempt to do so anyway, when he says goodbye to his first love: Mlle Mancini.
    King Louis is manipulated by Colbert into taking charge of his finances and taking money from Fouquet. Thus Aramis sees his plans to start a civil war from Belle-Île slip and offers the enforced island to the king in an attempt to bring him in a better mood towards Fouquet, because that’s where the money is. (remember that Aramis was part of the Fronde in Twenty Years After!) Then he comes up with another plan (the replacement of Louis by Philippe as king Louis XIV) in order to gain power to run the country. Aramis is determined to gain power and become a Mazarin, but his first chance was taken away. If he now manipulates Philippe into the role of king, he can run the country himself because Philippe doesn’t know anything about politics, the country, economics etc. and so needs Aramis to tell him what to do. At the time of the party at Vaux (the huge castle of Fouquet that does exist!), d’Artagnan is very important because he feels that there is something wrong. The night before Fouquet was the devil himself and suddenly he is released (on Aramis’ orders). On top of that Aramis has suddenly become a favourite to great amazement of d’Artagnan. In the end, in Nantes, Fouquet is arrested anyway and Aramis and Porthos are besieged at Belle-Île. When d’Artagnan is not allowed to come inside the cabinet of the king and gets angry and resigns, the king famously says ‘tell him it’s fine’. D’Artagnan doesn’t understand and it was mentioned here that the fact that d’Artagnan wasn’t allowed in was a reason to believe that the king had been replaced, but I think it rather has to do with the fact that, when d’Artagnan bows his head, it says: ‘and d’Artagnan had found an adversary worth him’. I believe that Louis, in the meantime has learned so much of d’Artagnan, that he, in turn knows what d’Artagnan is going to do, lets him think and then has him brought to him with the end we know.
    The relationship between Louis and d’Artagnan is a peculiar one. D’Artagnan is anxious for Louis to become a ‘good boss’, like Richelieu: someone who masters him, is consequent and is generous with money. When d’Artagnan urges Louis to do the right thing, Louis mistakes it for rebellion or disobedience. The most notable moment is when Athos is arrested because he speaks out for his son, Bragelonne. D’Artagnan tells the king bluntly that he was wrong in arresting Athos because he has another opinion than himself. Yet, the king cannot find anything wrong in d’Artagnan’s conduct, because after all, Athos is in the Bastille. D’Artagnan manipulates the situation so much, that he bluntly tells the king that he is a bad one and that he wants to join Athos in prison ‘because he will be bored’. When the king still doesn’t free Athos, he even threatens to commit suicide. That situation shows d’Artagnan as a person who knows people so much that he can manipulate them into doing things, even going as far as to threaten with suicide, because he knows that the king will never allow that and that he will be forced to release Athos. From a weak king who is dominated by Mazarin, Louis changes into a king who operates out of private motives. Colbert realises this and manipulates the king into arresting Fouquet by firstly dropping that letter which Fouquet wrote to Louise earlier in the story. Only after bringing Fouquet in unfavourable circumstances concerning Louise, Colbert shows him the fraud with money. So the arrest of Fouquet is mainly based on private motives (the courtship of Louise) rather than justice (fraud).
    However, Louis at some stage changes dramatically. I think, the real moment is when d’Artagnan is with the king and when Louis gets the letter that there are 106 dead at Belle-Île and that the rebels have escaped. Louis there realises that d’Artagnan was right in that the operation would cost more people than it was worth. In that scene both d’Artagnan and Louis are humbled because they both realise that they are as good as each other: Louis as good as d’Artagnan because he knew what the latter was going to do and accounted for it by giving his lieutenants certain orders that go against what d’Artagnan will intend to do, and d’Artagnan as good as Louis because he has found an adversary who mastered him... In that scene there is no real winner: Louis realises he was wrong in besieging Belle-Île because the rebels have escaped and he lost 106 men, and d’Artagnan realises Louis is becoming a better king for admitting it and mastering him by accounting for his conduct and foreseeing it so that the siege went through. The scene after that with the friends of Fouquet will really enhance the positive picture of Louis as a noble king.
    In the epilogue, d’Artagnan and Louis are really put on the same level: even during a hunt, Louis practises politics. He is still king and now tells Colbert what to do and when to start negotiating with the Spanish ambassador, rather than Colbert manipulating him into arresting someone. He even promises his sister-in-law to get her lover Mr de Guiche back if she and another woman get England to join France in a war with the Dutch. If Monsieur (his brother) objects he tells him to back off. This is a very long way away from the weak king who got carried away in his anger and got Athos arrested because he wanted his son to marry Louise, Louis’ mistress; who was manipulated by his sister-in-law to court Louise and to stop courting her in order to divert the attention of Louis’ mother and his wife; who was sent packing by Mazarin concerning the million necessary for the restoration of his cousin Charles II of England and concerning his first love Mlle Mancini. The epilogue even mentions the fact that the queen (after the death of Anne of Austria) confronted the king with the fact he had a mistress. In stead of going to ask his mistress for help (like he did with his sister-in-law) he just replied: ‘Do I not sleep with you every night, Madame? What should you wish more?’ He will get rid of Mr de Lorraine for his sister-in-law in stead of getting rid of Mr de Guiche for his brother… The most striking thing is when the scene is described: Mme de Montespan is now the king’s mistress. Before Mlle de Tonnay-Charente (one of the friends of Louise and Montalais), Louis allowed her to marry. Athos argued that as well for Louise, but then the king didn’t want to hear of it. When Louis asks d’Artagnan: ‘why haven’t I seen you?’ and d’Artagnan answers: ‘you weren’t awake this morning when I started my shift’. They are really portrayed as friends on the same level. The fact that Aramis joins them at the table is a sign that the king is now clement enough to forgive someone for what they did, like he did with Fouquet: he is now in prison and was not sent to the parliament, because they would have sentenced him to death.
    So I do not believe that Aramis was there because Louis XIV is actually Philippe… If that had been the case, Aramis would never have left for Spain, because Philippe needed him to succeed as king. Fouquet wouldn’t have been put in prison because Aramis would have advised Philippe into keeping him, because Fouquet and Aramis together gained huge amounts of money. If Aramis had wanted to get rid of Fouquet, in order to gain all the money himself (which he would certainly be capable of!), he wouldn’t have spared him but rather have led him to parliament where he would have been sentenced to death. Probably d’Artagnan wouldn’t have been kept on because d’Artagnan noticed straight away that something was wrong and that ‘Louis wasn’t himself’. So they wouldn’t have kept him on, because if d’Artagnan is capable of a restoration in England (capable of kidnapping the head of government and bringing him across the Channel to Holland) then he is certainly capable of getting Louis out of prison and Philippe back in it.
    Above all, Philippe, as Louis XIV, wouldn’t have ended up a powerful king who made sure ‘all strong heads bowed’, but rather a king like his father Louis XIII. There are people who claim that The Vicomte de Bragelonne is a book that features the fight of Louis XIV to become the king he was: powerful, all-knowing and ruthless. He reigned his country with an iron fist and also kept his courtiers under control with his Swiss Guard who spied for him and so he knew everything that happened faster than anyone else in the palace. He made his minister Colbert (minister of finance) and Le Tellier (minister of war) fight for his regard. The old Roman politics of ‘divide and conquer’ were very much present…
    The times that were featured in The Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After were times of weak kings, the class of low nobility (the class like Athos) who challenged the king to give power to them so that they could do what they wanted. You can see that in the first book: duels were forbidden but no-one takes notice and they just fight on the street; no-one actually punishes them for it. D’Artagnan is greatly in favour of duelling and ‘the old times’, and repeatedly challenges Louis XIV on that, asking him after he has delivered Athos to the Bastille: ‘you want great men or lap-dogs?’ What does this mean? D’Artagnan and his class of low nobility are attempted to be kept in check during the times of Louis XIII and Richelieu, by forcing them to attend court rather than fight (divide and conquer!). Of course this is a long process and when Richelieu dies it is really left to rot, in Twenty Years After, civil war is looming with the Fronde, a challenge of the authority of the monarchy by the parliament and certain members of nobility. Mazarin was in the meantime cardinal and prime minister, virtually running the country, and then there was the regent, a woman of Spanish descent. Mazarin was hugely unpopular because taxes were too high and he was accused of being avaricious, and on top of everything he was a foreigner. The fact that Louis XIV was only 5 when he became king, was of course a reason for others to challenge his kingship and they fed the Fronde which features in Twenty Years After. Note that Aramis is part of that! At the end of the Vicomte Louis XIV manages to ‘bow the great heads’, including d’Artagnan, after a long fight. When d’Artagnan thinks ‘the musketeers of now are no longer the same’ when they shut up ‘because they disturb the king’, he really says that there is finally respect for that person, rather than the laughing stock that Louis XIII was. D’Artagnan, by the end, has (finally) a lot of respect for his king, but his king, in turn, has lots of respect for d’Artagnan. In a way, Louis XIV and d’Artagnan become like Athos and Grimaud, not quiet, but a master who doesn’t even need to ask for service anymore and a servant who knows what his master will want; a master who understands his servant without words and vice versa; a master who is well-liked because he is ‘soft for the small and tough for the strong’ and a servant who greatly respects his master because he is consequent, generous and grateful; a master who trusts his servant with his life and a servant who trusts that his master will not bring him into unnecessary danger. In the beginning d’Artagnan tries to be Grimaud, but Louis sees that as disobedient because he didn’t give an order, whereas in the end Louis asks that question: ‘Why didn’t I see you this morning’. D’Artagnan famously replies ‘Because you weren’t awake when I started my shift this morning.’ And then, Louis replies: ‘Still the same.’ Of course, the king knows that a soldier starts his shift much earlier than he does, and so it is a quite stupid and pointless question. His reply shows that he has had this reply a lot of times and that he didn’t really have to ask, but also that he values him as a person and misses him when he is not there. Louis XIV calls him for the first time ‘friend’ after their discussion about his resignation, when d’Artagnan humbles himself by bowing his head. After that d’Artagnan begs for compassion ‘on his knees’ for Porthos (and Aramis), whereas at the times Athos was arrested, he manipulated Louis in releasing him by threatening to commit suicide. Indeed, now he respects his king’s judgement and knows he will be compassionate and feels humble enough to beg for forgiveness, before he didn’t respect his judgement and demanded justice. A very subtle difference but a capital one! The epilogue also shows the gratefulness of Louis XIV for d’Artagnan’s service. D’Artagnan, in those four years that have passed, has become a count. Unlike the start of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, d’Artagnan has moved up on the ladder! At the end of Twenty Years After, he obtains the title of captain of the king’s musketeers, yet at the start of the Vicomte, it has been taken away by Mazarin and he has become lieutenant again. For a soldier it is an unbelievably bad experience to be degraded, but other than that, it shows the fact that Mazarin wasn’t to be trusted. On the other hand in the epilogue of the Vicomte, the opposite has happened. D’Artagnan not only gained and kept the title of captain of the king’s musketeers, but has now also obtained a highly noble title, higher than the barony of Porthos and a title that was ambitioned by him. It really shows that Louis XIV is generous, more generous than Mazarin, and grateful for the services of d’Artagnan, enough to give him a noble title and also to contemplate making him Marshal of France with the next campaign.
    The fact that Aramis is allowed to sit at the table to dine with the king not only shows that Louis is a clement king, but it can also be viewed In the light of diplomacy. Aramis had fled to Spain as the governor of the Jesuite Order, and had gained the title of Duke of Alameda and was sent by the Spanish king as ambassador to France. France had an interest in gaining the neutrality of Spain for a war against Holland. Firstly because they wouldn’t want to be attacked on two fronts (the north from Belgium, under Spanish rule then, and the south, Spain itself). For a war with Holland they had to pass through either Belgium (to the south of Holland) or through Germany. The Spanish army had a substantial fleet, which was a certain danger on the sea in case of war. Secondly the French certainly didn’t want the two Habsbourg branches (the Spanish one and the Austrian one) against them. There was the Spanish king who was from the Habsbourg family, but more importantly, the Holy Roman Emperor was also a member of the same (extended) family! So there was a chance that if Spain was upset, Germany would also become equally upset. So it was vital for France to befriend the Spanish ambassador for diplomatic reasons. Refusing to eat with him because he was once a rebel didn’t really come in question as that could have been seen as a diplomatic incident and could have caused war. If not, then certainly a treaty about neutrality would have been out of the question and France could have been crushed between Germany and Spain.
    I don’t think Philippe would be plausible as Louis XIV, because he cannot become a powerful king. Aramis was intending a second Louis XIII: useless, nice ornament, possible to manipulate. Taking Aramis’ motifs into account it is totally impossible that Philippe would have replaced Louis as Louis XIV. D’Artagnan respects his oath to his king, even at the point when he says that Philippe only lacks him and Fouquet. D’Artagnan is a person who is never wrong in his judgement and therefore it is impossible for him not to notice that Philippe has become Louis.
    The last thing that I want to say on this is in connection with the cypress branch Mme de Montespan gives Louis XIV in return for the feather of the bird during the hunt in the epilogue. A cypress tree is a tree that stands for sacrifice, that we need to sacrifice in order to achieve, but that our sacrifices are always paid back. The cypress tree that stands on the graves of Athos and Bragelonne is a token of the sacrifice Athos had to make in his wife Milady, so that he could gain a son in d’Artagnan and later he could give all love to a real son, Bragelonne. Louise had to sacrifice Raoul for Louis (she will gain several children of him!). It might seem far-fetched but Louis himself had to sacrifice his pride and infallibility to be able to be a good king. In a certain way he needs to act in a vulnerable way to show he is capable of that; he needs to trust others. And indeed, he needs to give up his claim on Mlle de Tonnay-Charente and marry her off to Mr de Montespan in order to gain awe from his courtiers (which of course doesn’t mean that he won’t have children with her!). Ultimately of course he has to ‘share’ this woman with Mr de Montespan. D’Artagnan has had to sacrifice his ways of nobility (his youth) in order to attain his highest ambition: gain the title of marshal. Porthos’ love of money and fine things has meant that he didn’t have children, which he greatly regrets. Bragelonne’s refusal of marrying anyone else than Louise means that he eventually will have to die. If he had sacrificed that all-consuming view of love, he wouldn’t have had to die and could have had a loving wife in Miss Grafton. However, maybe he really got that view off Athos, who was in a really bad way (The Three Musketeers) until he really had someone to give his love to (Twenty Years After). He did his great deeds in search of relief, I believe, much like the heroic suicide of Raoul. I suppose the siege of La Rochelle where the four musketeers resisted a whole army was a kind of Gygelli for Athos. However, Athos now had d’Artagnan to love as a son and his friends to support him. It is sad to see that Athos never was the same if Raoul wasn’t there. When Raoul dies, he has no reason to live. Athos couldn’t get over Milady, bad as she may have been, and only got partly cured when he could love Raoul. When he says goodbye to Raoul, he knows it is the last time he will see him, like it is when he says goodbye to Aramis and Porthos. Aramis is really the only one who doesn’t sacrifice, but he will not go to the same place in afterlife where the rest will meet again. Nevertheless, he will always have to live with the feeling of guilt towards the death of Porthos, which he ultimately caused because of the excess of trust in his own ambitions. The last words of the book are: ‘Athos, Porthos, see you – Aramis, until never, farewell! Of the four valiant men of whom we have told the story, there was only one corps left: God had taken their souls back.’ It proved my theory that d’Artagnan was really the coming together of all the qualities of his friends: nobility and pragmatism of Athos, true friendship and devotion of Porthos and cunningness, ambition and intelligence of Aramis. Yet, intelligence, ambition and cunningness will not come to any good if one doesn’t try to be pragmatic and noble of principle like Athos, and also not if one is not devoted to another cause than himself, like Porthos. I think d’Artagnan is ambitious, cunning and intelligent, but puts it to a noble purpose. He is devoted to a cause, his king, and will do anything to please him, however not as blindly as Porthos. The fact that Athos/nobility is dead, Porthos/blind devotion is crushed under the remains of a cave and that Aramis has had to flee the country is very significant as all those trades on their own will not guarantee you a favourable position in the new times that are coming. What is really required is nobility in character, intelligence, ambition and devotion all in one. With that, one can gain the regard of the king and fulfil one’s ambitions, but one needs to make the sacrifice of judgement, because that is what the king ultimately makes. The king Louis XIV will have the last word in everything: manipulation, change of mind, blind devotion will guarantee you anything. Like the last judgement it is eventually God/Louis XIV who will decide your fate, but in order to be able to judge Louis XIV needs to trust to be able to be served.
    The image of the cypress branch in the end doesn’t match the situation if Louis has been replaced by his twin brother Philippe. The cypress branch indicates final conclusion and success through sacrifice. What did Philippe sacrifice other than prison? His mother, who he had cursed ‘if she wasn’t [his] mother’? His ambition he didn’t have, apart from having freedom? Philippe didn’t have anything to sacrifice in order to become king Louis XIV, the original king, Louis himself, did have to sacrifice a lot in order to become what he turned out to be.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide ŕ ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scčne VII)

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