Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Figaro and Suzanne’s bedroom

Figaro and Suzanne’s bedroom. Room that Figaro and Suzanne hope to share after their marriage. The minimal furniture reflects the fact that the marriage has not yet taken place. It also emphasizes the poverty of the couple, which makes them susceptible to Marceline’s machinations.

Countess’s bedroom

Countess’s bedroom. The luxurious appointments emphasize the differences of class that separate the characters and cause Figaro’s struggles. The use of bedrooms, private places linked to secrecy, also coincides with the numerous plots in which the characters engage.

Throne room

Throne room. This setting further stresses the power of the count with the portrait of the king representing his aristocratic connections. A secondary scene involving the count and Figaro’s proposed trip to England serves both to mock the English and to show how Figaro’s trickery will aid him.


Gallery. Public room that allows the characters to spy on one another, creating new problems. The festive decorations reflect the joy of Figaro and Suzanne, who seem to have overcome the obstacles to their marriage.


Park. Outdoor setting that functions as the location of Figaro’s famous revolutionary monologue. This is especially appropriate in that, outside the château, Figaro seems to gain increased freedom.

Historical Context

(Drama for Students)

France on the Brink of Revolution
Throughout the 1700s, France was the largest and most powerful nation in Europe. French...

(The entire section is 670 words.)

Literary Style

(Drama for Students)

Figaro's lengthy monologue in act V breaks up the quick pace of the comedy. In the first part of the monologue, Figaro...

(The entire section is 562 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Drama for Students)

1780s: In the mid-1780s, France is a monarchy ruled by King Louis XVI. The king holds absolute power.

Today: France...

(The entire section is 244 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Drama for Students)

Beaumarchais originally set The Marriage of Figaro in France in the 1780s. Do you think changing the setting to Spain lessens any of...

(The entire section is 188 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Drama for Students)

Mozart wrote a four-act opera, Le Nozze di Figaro, based on The Marriage of Figaro. It was first performed in 1786. Numerous...

(The entire section is 26 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Drama for Students)

Brereton, Geoffrey, French Comic Drama from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century, Methuen & Co. Ltd.,...

(The entire section is 231 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Cox, Cynthia. The Real Figaro: The Extraordinary Career of Caron de Beaumarchais. London: Longmans, 1962. Focuses primarily on Beaumarchais’ many activities other than writing. In her discussion of his ventures into diplomacy, Cox notes Beaumarchais’ success as an intriguer and interprets the character of Figaro as a self-portrait. Includes illustrations and a good bibliography.

Grendel, Frédéric. Beaumarchais: The Man Who Was Figaro. Translated by Roger Greaves. London: MacDonald and Jane’s, 1977. Interprets Figaro as Beaumarchais’ alter ego and The Marriage of Figaro as the pinnacle of his career. Believes Beaumarchais was a reformer, not a revolutionary, and traces his chameleon-like adaptability to the fact that he was secretly a Protestant in Catholic France. Includes illustrations and a selected bibliography.

Ratermanis, J. B., and W. R. Irwin. The Comic Style of Beaumarchais. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1961. Interesting scene-by-scene analysis of The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, analyzing what makes the comedy work on stage, especially in the context of the decline of comic dramatic writing in eighteenth century France. Uses theories of Henri Bergson and others on the nature of humor.

Sungolowsky, Joseph. Beaumarchais. New York: Twayne, 1974. Concise biographical treatment, with a useful chronology, notes, selected bibliography, and detailed analysis of all the plays.

Wood, John. Introduction to “The Barber of Seville” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” translated by John Wood. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1964. Excellent concise discussion of the plays and their social context. The edition also includes Beaumarchais’ own notes on the characters and their costumes.