The Marriage of Figaro Literary Elements

The Marriage of Figaro Literary Elements


Five-Act Comedy



Setting and Context

Castle on the outskirts of Seville, in Andalucia, Spain

Narrator and Point of View

The narrator is third person and the point of view is Figaro's, but also includes the points of view of Suzanne and Rosine, as all three share the same point of view about the Count and his constant philandering

Tone and Mood

Funny and farcical, rather a "goofball" comedy in some senses. There is good natured foreshadowing about the discovery of secret rendezvous but all is in good spirits and fun.
However the play itself was said to be a more serious foreshadowing of the the French Revolution

Protagonist and Antagonist

Figaro is the protagonist. The Count is the antagonist to all the character. Marceline is the antagonist to Figaro in particular

Major Conflict

There is conflict between the Countess and the Count because he is constantly trying to start affairs behind her back and is always looking for a way in which to make it appear that he would have grounds for divorce


The Count is humiliated by Rosine and begs for her forgiveness when he realizes that she might not love him anymore. The wedding of Figaro and Suzanne is the climax promised from the start of the play


The play foreshadows the French Revolution in that much in it denounces the aristocracy and the way in which they conduct themselves


Figaro tells the Count that he has a flawed character, which is an understatement because he is incapable of honesty or loyalty and is constantly trying to induce women into affairs that they do not want


The first play, The Barber of Seville, is alluded to when Suzanne writes the Count a letter as a song on manuscript paper, which alludes to his habit of communicating with Rosine this way when he was courting her


The imagery is mostly visual and also in some ways imaginary in that the audiences are given a visual image of a female that is either not a female at all or a female taking on the identity of another. There is therefore a constant changing set of images of the characters


The Count sees nothing wrong at all with pursuing other women whilst he is married but objects strongly to his wife doing the same thing. This sensibility is entirely paradoxical


There is a parallel between the way in which Marceline feels about Figaro in this play and the way in which the doctor felt about Rosine in the Barber of Seville, in that both characters are really too old for the object of their affections and are trying to force or trap them into a marriage, preferring a marriage that is unwanted to no marriage at all


No examples in this play

Use of Dramatic Devices

The audience is "in cahoots" with the characters who are tricking the Count and are fully aware of all of the costume tricks and this makes a great sense of camaraderie and accentuates the farce

The soliloquy of Figaro although directed towards the Count also shows that this is a political statement by the author masquerading as a comedy

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