The Marriage of Figaro was played for the first time in 1784, 5 years before the French Revolution. Beaumarchais was not a revolutionary; however, because of its insolence and incisive criticism of the Old Regime, his comedy was considered dreadful by Louis XVI. Despite censorship and Beaumarchais' brief imprisonment, the play was a success. Beaumarchais loved women and the Marriage is the story of many women: the naïve Fanchette, the ardently "feminist" Marceline, the witty Suzanne, Figaro's fiancée, and the noble Rosine. The feminist diatribe delivered by Marceline should disabuse many of the notions that women's rights are a product of the nineteenth or even twentieth century. The main target of Beaumarchais' attack is the aristocratic system, which grants privileges on the basis of birth. But more than just a battle between master and servant, the play is a battle between men and women.
Providence Forum: Language and Humanities, Vol.16, pp.99-115 靜宜人文學報