(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Three years after Figaro, the clever barber, had helped Count Almaviva steal his beloved Rosine from her guardian, Dr. Bartholo, the count has become tired of his wife and has begun to pursue other attractive women, particularly Suzanne, his wife’s maid, who is betrothed to Figaro. Suzanne informs Figaro of the count’s interest, including his plan to send Figaro on a mission to England so that he can pursue Suzanne undisturbed. Figaro vows to prevent this.

Figaro also has trouble from another source. Marceline, the count’s housekeeper, has Figaro’s note for a sum of money she had lent him; if he does not repay the money he will have to marry her. Marceline wants to marry someone, and Figaro, despite the disparity in their ages, seems the likeliest prospect. Bartholo is helping her, mostly to revenge himself on Figaro for having outwitted him.

The count’s young page, Chérubin, is fascinated by all women, especially the countess. When the count learns of this infatuation, he banishes the page from the castle and orders him to join the count’s regiment. Figaro has other ideas. He plans to dress Chérubin in Suzanne’s clothing and send him to keep a rendezvous with the count. Figaro hopes that the count will feel so embarrassed and appear so ridiculous when the trick is exposed that he will stop pursuing Suzanne. Figaro also sends the count an anonymous letter hinting that the countess has a lover. When the count bursts into his wife’s chambers in search of this lover, he finds no one but Suzanne, for Chérubin, who had been there moments earlier, had jumped out of a window. After fabricating several stories to account for strange coincidences, Figaro is delighted when the count has to beg his wife’s forgiveness for his unfounded suspicions.

Figaro does not have the chance to send...

(The entire section is 750 words.)

Act I Summary

(Drama for Students)

The Marriage of Figaro opens on the day of Figaro and Suzanne's marriage. Suzanne informs her fiancé that the Count has offered her a...

(The entire section is 266 words.)

Act II Summary

(Drama for Students)

The Countess, Suzanne, and Figaro agree upon a two-fold plan to thwart the Count and return his affections to his wife: Figaro provokes the...

(The entire section is 244 words.)

Act III, Act IV and Act V Summary

(Drama for Students)

At the beginning of act III, the Count wavers back and forth over whether he will rule in Marceline's favor or in...

(The entire section is 596 words.)