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The Barber of Seville

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The Barber of Seville

In The Barber of Seville, there are several characters that play an important role throughout the story. One character is Rosine, the rich woman that is in love with a mysterious, charming gentleman. Another is a man named Dr. Bartholo, the evil and demanding ward that protects Rosine from anything that walks. And there is also Don Bazile, a music teacher for Rosine that sticks by Bartholo’s side. However, when a person really searches for the true main character(s), two people come to mind: Count Almaviva and Figaro. This is because without them, there would not be a main plot and the story would not be complete. Although they seem as the perfect duo, a person may find them to be different in some ways. When reading, the two characters show many similarities and differences between their personality and motives.

Count Almaviva’s character holds a very clever and daring personality. This is because of his different identities throughout the story, along with his risky actions to have Rosine’s hand in marriage. It should be known that Count Almaviva is a man of great wealth, but he does not want to come off as some snobby, rich guy when he meets his lover. Thus, he must change his identity, so she does not lose interest. At the beginning of the story, Count Almaviva disguises himself as a poor student named Lindor (Beaumarchais 41). Thinking that Lindor is a real person, Rosine is flattered by him and gives a written note (Beaumarchais 45). As he sings back to Rosine, “I am Lindor, a name as yet unknown to rank or fame. Wealth too, alas, I cannot proffer. My love for you is all I have to offer” (Beaumarchais 51, 52). This is a clever way for Count Almaviva to make Rosine want him as much as he wants her. His secretive identity is also a daring way to approach Rosine. This is because her ward, Dr. Bartholo, knows of the real Count Almaviva and his love for Rosine. Knowing this, Dr. Bartholo wants to make marriage arrangements just in case Count Almaviva would show up. He says, “Keep him at a distance? I mean to marry her before she knows the fellow exists” (Beaumarchais 62). Count Almaviva is being daring coming into his house being disguised as someone else.

Figaro, the barber of Seville, has a similar personality compared to Count Almaviva. He is not as secretive, but still has a clever way of achieving tasks just like the Count did. Figaro agreed to be the wingman of Count Almaviva at the beginning of the story. Figaro sets up the whole plan to get Count to Rosine. In the story, Figaro says, “…Present yourself at the Doctor’s house in trooper’s uniform with a billeting notice. He’ll have to take you in, and you can leave the rest to me” (Beaumarchais 49). As the story goes on, Figaro distracts Dr. Bartholo so the Count and Rosine can show their affection. As Figaro is shaving Dr. Bartholo, he tries to block the view of Rosine and Count Almaviva. As he is standing in the way, Dr. Bartholo says, “Hey! It seems as if you are deliberately trying to keep in front of me so that I can’t see…” (Beaumarchais 90). Figaro sets up clever plans so Count Almaviva can execute them with his clever, down low identity. This is one way that Figaro and Count Almaviva are alike.

Unlike the Count, Figaro is also the boastful type. “Largo al Factotum” is sung by Figaro at the beginning of the opera. This aria is mainly about Figaro’s job and the work he has done for all the people. The term “factotum” refers to a servant and comes from the Latin language that literally means “to do everything.” In the aria, Figaro sings: “…Ahimè, che furia! Ahimè, che folla! Uno alla volta, per carità! Ehi, Figaro! Son qua. Figaro qua, Figaro là, Figaro su, Figaro giù…,” which translates to: “Oh, what a crowding! Oh, what a fury! One at a time, please, for charity's sake! "Hey, Figaro!" – I'm here. Figaro here, Figaro there, Figaro up, Figaro down” (Il Barbiere di Sivilgia). As the audience or reader may see, Figaro has a very boastful personality, unlike Count Almaviva.

Another difference that can be pointed out is the motives of the two characters, or what really motivates them to do something. It is obvious that Count Almaviva is interested in marrying Rosine. The whole story is based around their love and affection for one another. Like it was stated above, Count Almaviva took some daring leaps to get to Rosine. Marrying the love of his life is his only motivation in The Barber



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