Luigi Pirandello

May 10, 2006

Luigi Pirandello.jpg

Italian dramatist
Awarded Nobel Prize in 1934

Themes in Writing:
There are as many truths as there are points of view
Difficulty of achieving a sense of identity
Impossibility of authentic communication between people
Overlapping frontiers of appearance and reality
The most “real” life is that which changes from moment to moment, exhibiting a fluidity that renders difficult and perhaps impossible any single formulation of either character or situation
Explores social, psychological, and metaphysical levels of identity

Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921/1925)


Father-  I want to try to show that one can be thrust into life in many ways, in many forms: as a tree or stone, as water or a butterfly- or as a woman.  It might even be as a character in a play.

Father-  But isn’t that the cause of all the trouble? Words! We all have a world of things inside ourselves and each one of us has his own private world.  How can we underrstand each other if the words I use have the sense and the value that I epect them to have, but whoever is listening to me inevitably thinks that those same words have a different sense and value, becausee of the private world he has inside himself too.  We think we understand each other: but we never do.

Father-  This is the real drama for me; the belief that we all, you see, think of ourselves as one single person: but it’s not true: each of us is several different people, and all these people live inside us.  With one person we seem like this and with another we seem very different.

Producer-  I know perfectly well that we’ve all got a life inside us and that we all want to parade it in front of other people.  But that’s the difficulty, how to present only the bits that are necessary in relation to the other characters

Father-  A character, my dear sir, can always ask a man who he is, because a character really has a life of his own, a life full of his own specific qualities, and because of these he is always ‘someone.’ While a man… can be an absolute ‘nobody.’

Father-  I only want to make you see that if we have no other reality outside our own illusion, perhaps you ought to distrust your own sense of reality: because whatever is a reality today, whatever you touch and believe in and that seems real for you today, is going to be-like the reality of yesterday- an illusion tomorrow.

Son-  There’s nothing of us inside you and you actors are only looking at us fromthe outside.  Do you think we coud go on living with a mirror held up in front of us that didnt’ only freeze our freflection for ever, but froze us in a reflection that laughed back at us with an expression that we didn’t even recognise as our own?

Father-  What do you mean, make-believe? It’s real! It’s real, ladies and gentlemen! It’s reality!


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