Beaumarchais was the pen name of Pierre-Augustin Caron, born in 1732 in Paris, the son of a clockmaker. His life was a parallel of the title character from his play THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. He rose by his wits, became a soldier, businessman, inventor, musician, and diplomat, was a sometime protégé of Louis XVI, a political intriguer, an advocate of social reform and a gunrunner (to the American revolution), in addition to being a memoirist and playwright. He was the author of forgotten tragedies as well as THE BARBER OF SEVILLE. The royal censor forbade THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, and Beaumarchais lobbied for six years before it was produced. Because of his court connections, he was accused of royalist sympathies during the Terror, but escaped the guillotine and died in 1799 of natural causes.