The character “Porthos” would surely ring a bell for some of us who are fond of reading books or novels. He is one of the main characters of the novel “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas. In addition, if you are a keen follower of Dumas’ novels, Porthos is a recurring character in the series “D’Artagnan Romances” wherein “Twenty Years After” and “The Vicomte de Bragelonne” are the respective sequels to “The Three Musketeers”. As a member of the three musketeers, he is considered one of the most formidable of the French king’s musketeers of their time and he is also a friend to d’Artagnan.
It goes without saying that you have to read the novel “The Three Musketeers” to know about Porthos, and the sequels if you want to know about him more. For those who haven’t read the novel yet, you’re in luck as you will be given an idea of who Porthos is as we go along.
Porthos is a member of the elite Musketeer of the Guard, also known as the King’s Musketeers or simply musketeers in the novel. The musketeers are the royal guards of the French monarch while the king is outside of his royal residences. Porthos and his two companions, namely Athos and Aramis are the three most formidable of the French king’s musketeers. In the novel, he is generally described as a heavyset, outgoing man who enjoys wine, women and song (the typical likes of 17th century men). He is the extrovert of the group and he also serves as the comic relief of the novel. More than that, he is a dedicated and loyal friend and musketeer, especially to the young protagonist d’Artagnan. Being the outgoing type or extrovert of the group, he is talkative (talks loudly at that), can be sometimes obnoxious and a good-natured braggart. There’s never a dull moment for the group when he is around.
He can also be considered foppish as regards his choice of clothes. He wears fashionable clothes and is keen on making a fortune for himself. As for his intelligence, he may leave something to be desired, but he compensates this with his strength and gregariousness. Another thing to note of this character is his pursuit of good fortune. At the start of the novel, he has a few lands and wealth to draw from. Eventually, through a financially advantageous marriage (I’ll leave the details hanging for those who have not yet read the novel), he was able to gain significant wealth and elevation of stature.
Overall, Porthos is an interesting character in the novel. Although he can be typically labeled as the brawn of the group, he also brings out life to the musketeers. By knowing Porthos, we can sometimes trace back to as early as the 17th century the typical big, but dimwitted stock characters (from dull, bloated sidekicks to oafish, muscle-bound henchmen) we commonly see in television and cinemas. However, he deviates from the typical “muscle” character by having a childlike spirit and likeable personality and a fancy fashion sense to boot. His search for recognition, wealth and prestige reflects not only the power-hungry middle class of the 17th century French society, but is also still reflective of the modern-day middle class.