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Uploaded by tobyandgabby on Dec 12, 2001

Beaumarchais lived a marvelous, enriched life, arguably one of the most intriguing of the eighteenth century. His was “a career that began in the most obscure of bourgeois existence (Perla 32).” He was born in a lower-class Protestant family, gaining his titles through hard work rather than winning them by birth alone. He noted in the preface to Tarare that “not all men are advantageously placed to carry out great things: we are born who we are and we become what we can be (24).” This theme, which he echoed through his whole life, is found in many of his written works.

He was a genius with immeasurable vigor and ambition, having held several positions of distinction in his life. Over his sixty seven years he was an accomplished musician and songwriter, a master clock maker, a jurist, a businessman, an editor, a tradesman, a ship owner, a secret agent, diplomat, architect, an engineer- but he was first and foremost a thinker, and a great intellectual to emerge at France’s Enlightenment.

He was a man of intense profound thought- he was a true philosophe. Beaumarchais was a well known pamphleteer, essayist and literary scholar, coveting the power of the literature and its ability to change society. It is interesting to note that John Wood affirms playwrighting, this paper’s focus, to have been only a “protean activity” for Beaumarchais, but still “an essential expression of his personality (2).”

This is not to say that Beaumarchais thought lightly of writing for the theatre. One could not take lightly an art form of such power and influence that it always met with violent opposition from the establishment. Beaumarchais knew the theatre to be the most potent realm to present his platform. He defiantly brought ideas to France that challenged those in power without apology. Louis XVI, showing he was no great fool, recognized the danger of the poet’s words and enforced everything in his power from censorship to imprisonment to keep Beaumarchais’s works from being presented for the public.

The American Revolution became a cause for Beaumarchais, where he could serve France and the great notion of liberty, in the spirit of the Enlightenment. His commitment to America’s cause was true and just. It is his influence with the French Revolution that we question. Although his writing reflected the sentiment of the American Revolution and the famous Tennis Court Oath, it is questionable whether Beaumarchais...

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Uploaded by:   tobyandgabby

Date:   12/12/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   11 pages (2,409 words)

Views:   1294

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