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The Marriage of Figaro

             De Beaumarchais' The Marriage of Figaro (1785), a strong sense of social unrest and preference due to right of birth made the perfect storm of events leading up to the French Revolution. This erotic comedy was in direct correlation with the political state at the time, an in some respects paved the way for a revolutionary change in society. In The Marriage of Figaro women are portrayed as smart, witty and committed. On the other hand the men are portrayed as unintelligent, envious and sex-driven. .
             In The Marriage of Figaro, the character Figaro is pivotal to all the substance of the play. Beaumarchais uses Figaro's monologue in act five to uphold the belief that achievements should be the proverbial 'ladder' used in ascending the social hierarchy. "Because you are a great nobleman you think you are a great genius. Nobility, fortune, rank, position! What have you done to deserve such advantages?" (5.6.22-23) This shows that Beaumarchais uses Figaro to convey his feelings of political and social unrest that have long vexed him. In addition, he convicts the conscience of the Count that adds to the revelation of one's faults and the betterment of the social problems they are encountering. .
             Marceline is another character used by Beaumarchais to display thoughts of progressivity and ideas concerning the treatment of women in society. In act three, Marceline brings up the issue of the double standard in sexual ethics and the price she paid for an indiscretion of her youth. "You men, lost to all sense of obligation. Who stigmatise with your contempt the playthings of your passions – your unfortunate victims! It's you who ought to be punished for the errors of youth" (3.30.11-14) This shows that Beaumarchais is extremely aggressive in his assessment of the state of women when he unveils the root of their economic means of oppression. Also women rights were seen as an after thought pre-Revolutionary France, however with such a vocal feminist such as Marceline speaking her mind, we begin to see the effect that these ideals can have on a women audience during this time period.

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