Le Mariage de Figaro Presents a Thoroughly Pessimistic View of Human Relations?

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‘Le mariage de Figaro presents a thoroughly pessimistic view of human relations’ Discuss.

Le marriage de Figaro is the second in a trilogy of plays written by Beaumarchais, it was written in 1778, as a follow up to Le Barbier de Seville. The play was very well received by the general public. King Louis XVI, however thought that it misrepresented the aristocracy. He had reportedly said that ‘This play must never be given. The man mocks everything that should be respected in the government. The bastille would have to be torn down before the presentation of this play could be anything but a dangerous folly.’(Madame de Campan, 1849, cited in Carlson, 1966) All of this negative press however regarding the production of the play on added to the desire of the population to see it, as Cook says ‘ by banning the play and then allowing it to go ahead, the King was proving, if only to the nobility, that his authority could be questioned.’(1992) As this play is the second of a trilogy the some characters are already known, Beaumarchais wanted the characters to appear to have changed or matured from the first book, and the addition of other characters helps achieve this. In Le mariage de Figaro there are many different interactions and relations between all of the characters, some of which appear at first glance to be negative. This essay will look at these relationships and how they may be perceived by the reader.
The play starts off with Figaro, the counts valet, and Suzanne, the countess’ maid talking about their impending nuptials, from the very first scene it is obvious that they are in love. Keffallonitis says ‘Figaro est sincèrement amoureux de Suzanne. Dès la première scène de la pièce, les deux domestiques apparaissent comme un couple uni par l’amour.’(1999). As the count has designs on Suzanne, he attempts to do everything in his power to stop the wedding from taking place. In order to do this he tries to exercise the ‘droit de seigneur’ in which a young girl



Bibliography: Beaumarchais, Pierre (1999) Le Mariage de Figaro, Barcelona ; Gallimard. Carlson, Marvin (1966) The theatre of the revolution, New York; Cornell university press. Cook, Malcolm (1992) Beaumarchais, Le Mariage de Figaro, Bristol ; Bristol Classical Press. Descotes,Maurice (1974) Les grands rôles du théâtre de Beaumarchais, France ; Presses Universitaires de France. Gourgues, Leo las (1979) ‘Le mariage de Figaro : characters, intrigue and structure.’, Australian journal of French studies, 16 (2), Pg 295-299. Kefallonitis, Stavroula (1999) connaissance d’une œuvre, Beaumarchais - Le Mariage de Figaro, Rome ; Bréal. Lemonnier-Delpy, Marie-Françoise (1987) Nouvelle étude thématique sur <<Le mariage de Figaro>> de Beaumarchais, Paris ; Sedes Niklaus,Robert (1995)Beaumarchais Le Mariage de Figaro, Valencia ; Grant & Cutler Ltd. Pugh, Anthony R. (1968) A Critical commentary on Beaumarchais’s ' Le Mariage de Figaro’, London ; Macmillan and co Ltd. Ratermanis, J.B, and Irwin, W.R (1961) The comic style of Beaumarchais, Seattle; University of Washington Press.

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