Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 596
At the beginning of act III, the Count wavers back and forth over whether he will rule in Marceline's favor or in Figaro's. Although Suzanne agrees to meet him that night, the Count does not trust her motivation because he realizes that she has told Figaro of his seduction plan. He decides instead to champion Marceline's cause.
At the trial, a blot over a crucial word renders unclear the exact meaning of the contract between Marceline and Figaro. After numerous readings, the Count decides that Figaro must, within the day, repay Marceline or marry her. Figaro tries to escape the verdict by arguing that he cannot marry without his parents' permission. However, he was stolen by gypsies at birth, so he does not know their identity. He reveals a mark on his arm, leading Marceline to realize that he is her and Bartholo's illegitimate son. Marceline embraces her long-lost son, but Bartholo is disgusted because he dislikes Figaro. Suzanne rushes in with money the Countess gave her to enable Figaro to repay the loan, but Marceline returns it to Figaro as his dowry. The Countess, Suzanne, and Figaro then urge Bartholo to marry Marceline.
Figaro asks Suzanne not to meet the Count, and she agrees. However, when she tells the Countess of her intention, the Countess points out that she needs Suzanne's help so she can have the opportunity to win back her husband's love. The two women write a note to the Count, asking for a meeting under the elm trees. During the double wedding ceremony, Suzanne passes her note to the Count. Figaro observes the Count reading it but does not yet know it is from Suzanne. However, a chance comment alerts him to this fact and the location of the meeting. Figaro grows jealous and angry but, at Marceline's advice, decides to attend the rendezvous secretly.
The Countess, disguised as Suzanne, meets the Count, Cherubino, and Fanchette, who had arranged their own meeting. They hide in the pavilion on the left, where Marceline has also ensconced herself. The Count attempts to seduce "Suzanne," and her complicity angers Figaro, who is observing the pair from afar. He steps forward to stop the Count, the Count flees, and the Countess enters the pavilion...
(The entire section contains 596 words.)
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