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“All
the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”, Jacques in
Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like it made
the comment. By cunningly mirroring the life to a play, a creative art form, Shakespeare
clearly justifies our role. He bought the absurdity in the life through these
words. By turning the table the twentieth century dramatist Luigi Pirandello
made another comment “Literature indeed! This is life, this is passion.” The
dialogue is of the play Six Characters in
Search of an Author delivered by a character named The Father. The
dramatist is almost problematizing the notion of ‘literature resembling life’
throughout the play.

            It is a play within a play which stages the making of the
drama Mixing it Up of Pirandello.
Suddenly the rehearsal is interrupted by six characters of an anonymous play,
who in search of an author to exhibit their story before the world. The focus
of the play then shifts from the rehearsal to the plight of the characters.
Following conversations between the characters and manager ends in an agreement
of the staging of their story. The three act play wonderfully narrates what
actually happens before the staging of a play, the preparations and practices
to which the viewers have an interest too.

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            We often treat literature and other art forms as
reflecting life. But the carved notion that ‘to know life, seek the help of
literature’ is broken by Pirandello in the drama. We get to know from the play
that all the creative works of art are mere reflections or shadows of real
life. Life is unique and nothing can reproduce it. Still we read literature or
watch plays and movies and enjoy them. This is because we have a tendency to
relate ourselves with them. The more it relates, the more we enjoy them. There
are a lot number of stories portrayed in literature. But not all varied life
got justly presented through them. Again a lot of stories are to be presented
and are unnoticed.

The
story of the six characters, the play focuses is such a kind of unnoticed one.
While reading the play we feel that the characters are not mere characters, but
exact real life family members who want to project their life through drama in
order to improve the literary coffer. When heard stories are sweet, the unheard
are sweeter. They can bring new insights. Here, the six characters are thus
bringing us a new unheard story.

Even
after the death of the author, the characters live. It is the power of
literature. Sometimes the author lives eternally through them. In the act of
searching for an author, we can trace our attitude for our creator, God. We
believe that it is only through the help of God, our life will be accomplished.
There is no existence without his aid. When our religion abandon us, we choose
other religion. This quest for creator is implied in the play.

The
only character who keeps the will of the original author is the son. He clearly
state at the end of the play that the real author never want their life to be
staged. It’s the other characters especially the father who want their story to
be recognized. They all want to assert their identity through the play. Thus
the philosophy of existentialism or identity crisis is addressed in the play.

After
going through a play or piece of literature, the readers have a temptation to analyze
and interpret the characters. Why certain characters did the thing so? this
kind of questions puzzles them. Here in the play, through the arguments between
the characters, the answers are given. Especially, the father, the mother and
the step daughter defend themselves for giving a clear picture of self. Thus
the judgment is done by the characters themselves, by lessening the work of
viewers.

Next,
Pirandello nudges us to the fight between the actors and characters regarding
the authenticity of representation. The manager calls the characters as
illusion and prompt his actors to act their story. Here we can see the
absurdity in making the actors play, while the actors are alive. The manager
and actors evolve themselves as author of the play by reducing the main characters’
dialogues, as well as by giving dialogue to the boy who rarely speaks. The characters
revolt against this by blaming their actions as misrepresentation. For that the
manager replies “Acting is our business here. Truth up to a certain point, no
further…”The limits of a drama, hence is portrayed in the play without any
concealment.

 The final act of the play focuses on the difference
between drama and life. The main difference between them is that when drama
goes for extreme characters, epitomes of good and bad; real life only have grey
characters. We can infer this idea from their dialogues. The father in the
latter part come with the idea of absurdity of life. He explains life always
changes with unpredictable future, thus is not stable and real. But the
character in the play are sure about their destiny, thus longing for eternal
happy moments.

The
title of the play suggests the search of an author. All along the play we can
see that the role of author is questioned. Even his qualification is
underestimated by the father. This is evident from his words to the manager “you
don’t want any special qualities.” Along with that, we can see the
responsibility of the author undertaken by several members. In midst of the
play, the characters themselves become the author. In another scene, the
manager own the cap of the author. At some point, we readers become the author.
Thus the ownership of authorship is evolving.

As
said, the drama is full of questions regarding the credibility, authenticity, reality
portrayed in drama. The dramatist Pirandello has a critical approach towards
the portrayal of life in literature. Through the play, he asserts that life and
drama are two different things. There is no connection between them except some
resemblance. Is that a flaw of drama is not answered in the play. The role of
creativity in work of arts is another question reverberates throughout the play
that puzzles the readers.                           

 

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