Le Nozze di Figaro and the Sunset of Ancien Régime Legacy on Modern Legal Culture

The purpose of this paper is focused on the character of the Count of Almaviva as representative of the transition from the Ancien Régime to the Nouveau Régime. From the private law perspective, the Count exploits Figaro’s promise of marriage to Marcellina in the event of the breach of a debt incurred some time before. Despite his conflict of interest because he is the master, the Count tries to mislead the judgement of his subordinate, unsuccessfully, due to the parent-child relationship between Marcellina and Figaro themselves. However, he does not give up and the final double exchange of role keeps him in a ridicolous situation to obtain forgiveness from his wife, the Countess, quite a proto-feminist in this opera. From the public law perspective, the crisis of the figure of the Count of Almaviva clearly represents the decline of aristocracy itself. None of his subjects are afraid of him. For instance, Cherubino escapes the mandatory enrollment in the Count’s regiment by dressing up as a girl. This as not only of scenic value, but it could represent a crisis of social roles on the eve of the French Revolution. The Marriage of Figaro represents an indispensabile inspiration for historical and multidisciplinary reflections to analyze the paradigm shifts which occurred in the late XVII Century and the legacy they have left on today’s legal culture. Link

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