Behind a Character’s Mask

Share your thoughts with classmates about the following discussion.

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Let’s explore the liveliness of Pirandello’s dialogue, the concept of hiding behind a character’s mask, and his desire to bridge a gap between audience and performer. “It is not easy to know the truth about others, he [Pirandello] suggests, or to make oneself known behind the ‘mask’ that each of us wears” (Puncher, 2012, p. 262). This playwright was part of a movement to create literary works with a clear beginning, middle, and end as seen in the Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3. “He extended the stage with several steps leading down to the auditorium (a break in the conventional ‘fourth wall’ concept, in which the actors on stage proceed as if unaware of the audience, that Pirandello was quick to exploit)” (Puncher, 2012, p. 262). He created what was called a bridge between the world of the stage and the auditorium, a strategy that allows the Actors (and Characters) to come and go into the ‘real world’ of the audience. 

What do we think of Pirandello’s use of dialogue, masks, and bridge? Please support your discussion with lines from the text.

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