The Three Musketeers
is queer. The plot never gets complicated and the action is small but it's fun. The adventures of D'Artagnon over several years and with his stoutest friends, the three musketeers.
But the tone is all over the place and the morality has become completely unsuitable with time.
The beginning two thirds of the story made me think that Alexandre Dumas
was a fictional creation and the whole book a much more recent invention in the style of The Princess Bride
, full of people absurdly talented people, working together, saving the Royal figure and the country! And in some senses, it was set 200 years before the date it was written, so this could be well true. Just that it was a light fictional parody/homage of literature and adventure romps written in the 1800's and has now become a classical work of global, historical renown.
But then everything gets much darker all of a sudden very quickly and the end is a surprising examination of bearing the burden of actions.
Equally the story tells us that the Cardinal is evil and fun adventures will be had opposing him (which happens), in a fun black and white way, but also the King is incompetent unintelligent and morally base, the Cardinal has virtuous qualities and is a figure worthy of respect and moral admiration (at the same time as being a despicable knave). The Duke of Buckingham is the heroic lover of the Queen but also immoral and dangerous, despised by many in his own country. The complexity is good and intriguing, but at the same time it's also confusing because the story is not deep and at the same time seems to be depicting everything with no shades of grey.
And then we have the musketeers frequently acting foolishly and immoral, which the book recognises but pushes it to the limits that I almost lost support for them, wishing for once they wouldn't blow a fortune on booze and be more respectable.
And finally we have immorality on behalf of the musketeers that the book doesn't recognise as immoral. Dueling is banned, because the duelers often kill each other, and the Cardinal has a point in banning it, because good men killing each other at the vaguest social slight isn't a good thing. Equally in modern times we no longer believe unfaithfulness deserves the death penalty with such conviction (whilst it then also being quite okay to have mistresses)