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The Man in the Iron Mask is a name given to a mysterious prisoner in seventeenth century France. The identity of this prisoner has never been established, and this mysterious individual has intrigued writers and others since the early 1700s.
Alexander Dumas wrote about him in one of his novels, which has been adapted into several movies. Once it was believed that the story was only a myth, a literary fiction but it is now accepted that the unknown prisoner was a historical figure. The name of the inmate was kept an official secret, and this has spawned a debate as to his real identity. The riddle of the identity of the Man in the Iron Mask is something that has fascinated writers of the stature of Voltaire. This article will examine the background to the story and narrate what is known for a fact about this mysterious prisoner. Then it will offer an overview of some of the main theories on the identity of the convict and the reasons as to why he was incarcerated.
[[File: Man in the Iron Mask.jpg|200px|thumb|left|A 19th-century drawing of the Man in the Iron Mask]]