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Dressed in modest black and a thick widow's veil, the Mother appears crushed by an "intolerable weight of shame and abasement." Her 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, mourning the Characters' inexorable fate. As Pirandello notes in his preface to the play, the Mother would incarnate nature without mind in her suffering—she suffers the torture of what has befallen the family without cognizing it as the Father does. In this respect, she is not even a woman, she first and foremost a mother in anguish. Caught, like the other Characters, in the unchanging and inexorable reality of both her drama and role. She laments that she suffers her torture at every moment; her lot as mourner is fixed for eternity. The two mute children, accessories of sorts, underline her function as an image of grief. Particularly agonizing to her is the aloofness of her estranged Son, whom she will approach to no avail throughout the play.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Six Characters in Search of an Author!