Introduction & Overview of The Marriage of Figaro

This Study Guide consists of approximately 73 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Marriage of Figaro.
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The Marriage of Figaro Summary & Study Guide Description

The Marriage of Figaro Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading and a Free Quiz on The Marriage of Figaro by Pierre Beaumarchais.

Like its author, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro had a long, illustrious history. Completed in 1780, the play would not be acted on the French stage until 1784. Beaumarchais faced many obstacles in producing his comedy. The official French censors, as well as King Louis XVI, opposed the play. The comedy was scandalous in its depiction of a pleasure-seeking, incompetent nobleman who is upstaged by his crafty, quick-witted servant in their quest for the same woman. In its questioning of France's longstanding social class system, which stood as the very basis of France's governing body, it was also revolutionary. The aristocracy who made up the play's appreciative audience understood its subversive nature, yet continued to attend showings in record numbers.

The Marriage of Figaro deserves praise for its important social messages, its subtle wit, comic mastery, and vivacious dialogue; many scholars believe that this play is Beaumarchais's masterpiece. However, the play also holds an important place in the development of French theatre. It is a play in which the aristocracy face their impending decline. The triumph of Figaro, valet to a nobleman, signifies the victory of ability over birthright. As such, Beaumarchais presages the tumultuous events of 1789, the year that brought the French Revolution and the downfall of France's established class system.

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This section contains 214 words
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The Marriage of Figaro from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.