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Six Characters in Search of an Author

Luigi Pirandello

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Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Essay Topics

full title ·  Six Characters in Search of an Author (Sei Personaggi in Cerca D'autore)

author · Luigi Pirandello

type of work · Drama

genre · Comedy

language · Italian

time and place written · Rome, 1920

date of first publication · 1922; first production in Rome, 1921

publisher · Mondadori

narrator · None

point of view · Not applicable

tone · Tragic-comic

tense · The play unfolds in the time of the present

setting (time) · Daytime

setting (place) · The stage of a theater

protagonists · The Father, the Step-Daughter

major conflict · Six Characters interrupt the daytime rehearsal of Pirandello's play. Abandoned by their author, they seek a new one to put on their drama. To the Actors chagrin, they convince the theater company's Manager and attempt to stage their unwritten play.

rising action · The play does not adhere to a conventional model of rising action, climax, and falling action, but the rising action is possibly the harried, messy, and frantic rehearsal of the Characters' drama.

climax · Pirandello offers the two ostensible climaxes of the Characters' drama in botched form: the sexual encounter between the Father and Step-Daughter in the back room of Madame Pace's shop at the end of Act II and the death of the Child and Boy at the end of Act III.

falling action · In the former case, the Manager moves to the footlights to appraise the spectacle, oblivious to its pathos; in the second, a confused melée ensues, and the Manager renounces the experiment in frustration.

themes · The theater of the theater; the Character's reality; the Eternal Moment

motifs · The mirror; the author-function; the act divisions

symbols · The Characters themselves, the Step-Daughter's vein, the trappings of Madame Pace's shop, the egg-shells, the Father's sack

foreshadowing · In selling their drama to the Manager, the Father and Step-Daughter give away its plot from the outset. Otherwise, most of the play remains unpredictable, subject to what the Father calls the "Demon of Experiment."

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