The Barber of Seville Themes

The Barber of Seville Themes


There are several different kinds of love featured in The Barber of Seville.

Firstly, there is love at first sight. Both the Count and Rosine seem to experience this; the Count falls in love with her immediately, before speaking even one word to her or knowing anything about her, and follows her back to her home town of Seville just for the opportunity to meet her. Rosine has fallen in love with him also, despite knowing nothing about him, and despite the fact that he has followed her from city to city and is now standing outside her house hoping to meet her. Their love is immediate, yet sudden and unexplained.

The Count also fears unrequited love, in other words, that he will love Rosine but she will not reciprocate his feelings. In their first conversation she reassures him that his love is requited.

Rosine's guardian is also in love with Rosine, but his is a possessive love. He wants to keep her so that nobody else can have her. It is a selfish love because he plans on tricking her into marriage because he knows that she does not want to marry him. He also lies about the Count in order to convince her to marry him. This is not a positive kind of love and shows that the feeling can drive people to behave in a self-centered way, showing that love comes in all forms depending on whom is experiencing it.


The theme of disguise is extremely strong throughout the play. It is chiefly seen through the Count who uses it as way to get what he wants, in that it is only by disguising himself as another character that he gets into Rosine's house and to speak to her in the first place. His disguises always have a higher purpose than just becoming somebody else; he becomes Lindor, the student, to make sure that Rosine falls in love with him for his character and not for his money. He also becomes the piano teacher so that he can have contact with her even when the Doctor is present in the home. The theme shows disguise as a necessary part of carrying out a plan successfully and in this play it is also a useful tool in aligning the audience with the characters.


Figaro has been friends with the Count for a long time and therefore his loyalties lie with him. In the same way, Brazile is loyal to the Doctor. The theme of loyalty is interesting in the play because it illustrates that friendship and loyalty often blind people to what is right and wrong. For example, Brazile knows that the Count is a far better choice for Rosine than the Doctor is, but he still tells the Doctor that the Count has managed to sneak into the house disguised as a music teacher. In the same way, Figaro is wholly loyal to the Count even though he has his doubts about the strength of his love in the long term, and the reasons behind his obsession with Rosine.


The play is an opera and so music of course features prominently but it is also a theme throughout. The characters share their feelings through sung conversations and a large part of the courtship between the Count and Rosine takes place during her music lesson; the Count plays the piano and accompanies Rosine whilst she sings, and their music acts as a lullaby soothing the Doctor to sleep, giving them the opportunity to kiss passionately. Brazile, the Doctor's "sidekick", is also a music teacher and usually plays the piano for her lessons. Throughout the play the theme of music recurs over and over and also offers a backdrop for the romance itself.

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