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Six Characters in Search of an Author

Luigi Pirandello

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

The Father  -  A fattish man in his fifties with thin, reddish hair, a thick moustache, and piercing, blue oval eyes. Along with the Step-Daughter, he is the Character who most fervently insists on the staging of the Characters' drama.

Read an in-depth analysis of The Father.

The Step-Daughter -  Dashing, impudent, and beautiful. The Step-Daughter also seeks the realization of the Characters' drama to revenge herself on her Father. She is seductive, exhibitionistic and dangerously cruel, performing wildly to lure both the acting company and the author who would give her life. She is obsessed with the spectacle of the Characters' drama and that of her own self-image.

Read an in-depth analysis of The Step-Daughter.

The Mother  -  Dressed in modest black and a thick widow's veil. The Mother's face is "wax- like," and her eyes always downcast. She bears the anguish of the Characters' drama, serving as its horrified spectator. She is the consummate figure of grief. Particularly agonizing to her is the aloofness of her estranged Son, whom she will approach to no avail throughout the play.

Read an in-depth analysis of The Mother.

The Son  -  A tall, severe man of twenty-two. The Son appears contemptuous, supercilious, and humiliated by the other Characters. Having been grown up in the country, he is estranged from his family and, in his aloofness, will cause the elimination of the step-children within the Characters' drama. Ironically, he ultimately appear as witness to the two younger children's demise. His role as a character is his ashamed refusal to participate in the spectacle. He protests to the Manager that he is an unrealized character.

Read an in-depth analysis of The Son.

The Manager  -  Somewhat slow-witted and of fiery temper. The Manager is largely a comic figure who agrees to play the role of the Characters' author and realizing their drama. Throughout the play, he remains committed to the vulgar notions of reality that the Characters, particularly his double the Father, would trouble and bound to the conventions of the stagecraft.
The Boy  -  Timid and wretched, the fourteen-year-old Boy has been driven mute in his humiliation at having to enter the new household on the Father's charity. As a result, he suffers the Step-Daughter's contempt. He and the Child are "accessory figures" of sorts to the Mother, functioning to keep her torture "actual." Neither exist for themselves. He also wears the black of mourning.
The Child  -  A four-year-old girl dressed in white who also does not speak. The Step-Daughter dotes on the Child out of remorse and pity, particularly in light of what she perceives as the Mother's neglect. Her role is that of the fallen innocent, the Characters' drama demanding the elimination of the stepchildren and return to the original household.
Madame Pace  -  The Step-Daughter's exploitative Madame. Pace is a fat, older woman with "puffy oxygenated hair." She is "rouged and powdered" and wears black silk with a "comical elegance." A pair of scissors hangs from a silver chain at her waist. Conjured out of nowhere in Act II, Pace is an apparition, her birth an exercise in what the Father describes as the magic of the stage. In translation, she speaks a comically broken English.
Leading Lady -  A stereotypical star of the stage, the Leading Lady bristles at the Characters' experiment. Petty and egotistical, she will not support their laughter, protests their vulgar stage tricks, and continually insists that she will deliver a performance superior to theirs. She plays the role of the Step-Daughter.
Leading Man -  Another haughty actor, the Leading Man plays the role of the Father. At the beginning of the play, he protests the absurdity of the Pirandello play. He also flirts with the Step-Daughter.
Second Lady  -  The Second Lady plays the role of the Mother.
Juvenile Lead -  In the company's production, the Juvenile Lead plays the role of the Son.
Prompter -  The Prompter is an ever-present member of the Crew who holds the book in the first rehearsal and attempts to record the Characters' drama in shorthand.

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