Famous quotes explained: « Without the freedom to criticize, there is no genuine praise. » Act V, Scene 3., The Marriage of Figaro, Beaumarchais, 1784.
This quote is taken from the famous monologue by Figaro at the end of the play in which he laments his condition, believing that his future wife, Suzanne, has been lost to his master, Count Almaviva. In this monologue, he criticizes the nobility, birth privileges, and censorship.
This quote was taken up as the motto of the French newspaper Le Figaro, whose name also refers to the impertinence of Beaumarchais’ hero. This association with the character of Figaro and Beaumarchais was intended, at the creation of the newspaper in the 19th century, to attest to the quality of the information provided, the impartiality of the journalists, and especially their independence from power and the powerful.
Thus, this parallelism links blame and praise. Praise is worth nothing in itself if it is commanded, constrained, or courtly. The value of praise lies in the freedom granted to the one who pronounces it. If one is free to blame, to criticize, to choose faults rather than qualities, then when one compliments, their sincerity gives value to the praise. It is because blame is possible that true praise exists. Without the possibility of harsh criticism, under censorship, praise is worth nothing, since one cannot know its sincerity, its honesty. This quote is obviously a defense of freedom of thought, opinion, the press, and writing, and a denunciation of censorship, which Beaumarchais himself was a victim of for The Marriage of Figaro between 1781 and 1784.
Without the freedom to criticize, there is no genuine praise.
Links to Another quotes: Famous quotes explained: « One must eat to live, not live to eat. »The Miser, Act III, Scene V, Molière, 1668. Famous Quotes explained: « In war, it is the war of men; in peace, it is the war of ideas. », Fragments, Hugo, 1885. Famous Quotes explained: « I am weary of museums, cemeteries of the arts. » , Lamartine, Voyage en Orient, 1835. Famous Quotes Explained: « What is well conceived is clearly expressed. And the words to say it come easily. », Nicolas Boileau, The Art of Poetry, 1674. Famous Quotes Explained: « One sees clearly with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes. », The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry, 1943. Famous quotes explained: « Education is given by the family; instruction is owed by the state. », Victor Hugo, Words and deeds, 1876. Famous Quotes explained: « One person is missing, and everything is depopulated. » Méditations poétiques, « L’Isolement », Lamartine, 1820. Famous quotes explained: « To love is to know how to say ‘I love you’ without speaking. » Victor Hugo
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