The Marriage of Figaro Themes

The Marriage of Figaro Themes

Unrequited Love

The main theme of this play is love, in all its forms. A key one of these forms is unrequited love. Many of the characters are wildly attracted to, and occasionally in love with, other characters who do not reciprocate their feelings. This begins with the Count, who is desperately trying to convince Suzanne to begin an affair with him, despite the fact she is shortly to marry the man she genuinely loves, and despite the fact she has rebuffed his advances multiple times. Marceline is in love with Figaro, although he is many years her junior and has no interest in her whatsoever. Dr Bartholo has always been interested in Rosine but was not reciprocated; Bazile is in love with Marceline but she barely notices him.

Love in General

While unrequited love is the main thematic aspect of love in the play, the broader theme of love is also paramount. After all, the title lets us know that the play is about a wedding which is an occasion that celebrates love. The main characters, Figaro and Suzanne, are in love and happy, and also completely faithful to each other. Their selfless and committed love is another way in which the theme of love is portrayed in the play.

Social Propriety

There is a huge emphasis on social propriety in the play, reflecting the time in which it was written. There are several examples of this; one is the way in which a man was frightened of being discovered alone with a woman. Another is that Suzanne's uncle, on discovering that Figaro was illegitimate forbade her to marry him; in order to remedy this, Figaro's birth mother, Marceline, marries his father, Doctor Bartholo, thus legitimizing Figaro and making it acceptable for him to marry Suzanne. Throughout, society's rules are shown in many ways.

Family

The importance of family is one of the themes of the play in that it is something that is incredibly important to Figaro because he does not know who his family is. He doesn't even have a last name because the identity of his father is a mystery. Marceline is in love with Figaro but ultimately recognizes him as her son, probably explaining the strange pull she feels toward him, and she is overjoyed to be reunited with him again. She and Figaro's father ultimately marry and provide a parental unit that is acceptable to all. Family also features in the storylines of other characters, for example, Suzanne, is protected by her uncle who is both guardian and a protector of her reputation which was everything in the time that the play is written.

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