Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello

  • The Manager [with feigned comic dismay]. So you and these other friends of yours have been born characters? The Father. Exactly, and alive as you see
  • The empty form of reason without the fullness of instinct, which is blind.” — You stand for reason, your wife is instinct
  • Oh sir, you know well that life is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.
  • Nature uses the instrument of human fantasy in order to pursue her high creative purpose.741618
  • Isn’t everyone consoled when faced with a trouble or fact he doesn’t understand, by a word, some simple word, which tells us nothing and yet calms us?
  • The whole trouble lies here. In words, words. Each one of us has within him a whole world of things, each man of us his own special world. And how can we ever come to an understanding if I put in the words I utter the sense and value of things as I see them; while you who listen to me must inevitably translate them according to the conception of things each one of you has within himself
  • Fool! That is the proof that I am a man!
  • Not old enough to do without women, and not young enough to go and look for one without shame
  • Each of us when he appears before his fellows is clothed in a certain dignity. But every man knows what unconfessable things pass within the secrecy of his own heart.
  • When a man seeks to “simplify” life bestially, throwing aside every relic of humanity, every chaste aspiration, every pure feeling, all sense of ideality, duty, modesty, shame . . . then nothing is more revolting and nauseous than a certain kind of remorse — crocodiles’ tears, that’s what it is.
  • But a fs like a sack which won’t stand up when it is empty. In order that it may stand up, one has to put into it the reason and sentiment which have caused it to exist
  • Believe me, Mr. Manager, I am an “unrealized” character, dramatically speaking; and I find myself not at all at ease in their company. Leave me out of it, I beg you.
  • The drama consists finally in this: when that mother re-enters my house, her family born outside of it, and shall we say superimposed on the original, ends with the death of the little girl, the tragedy of the boy and the flight of the elder daughter. It cannot go on, because it is foreign to its surroundings. So after much torment, we three remain: I, the mother, that son. Then, owing to the disappearance of that extraneous family, we too find ourselves strange to one another
  • when faith is lacking, it becomes impossible to create certain states of happiness, for we lack the necessary humility
  • Passion itself, as usually happens, becomes a trifle theatrical when it is exalted.
  • We’ve got to act a comedy now, dead serious, you know; and you’re in it also, little one.
  • All right: “characters” then, if you insist on calling yourselves such. But here, my dear sir, the characters don’t act. Here the actors do the acting. The characters are there, in the “book”
  • Now, look here! On the stage, you as yourself, cannot exist
  • How he supposes I am, as he senses me — if he does sense me — and not as I inside of myself feel myself to be.
  • Acting is our business here. Truth up to a certain point, but no further.
  • For one who has gone wrong, sir, he who was responsible for the first fault is responsible for all that follow. He is responsible for my faults, was, even before I was born. Look at him, and see if it isn’t true!
  • we are, have no other reality outside of this illusion
  • A man who calls himself a character comes and asks me who I am
  • A character, sir, may always ask a man who he is. Because a character has really a life of his own, marked with his especial characteristics; for which reason he is always “somebody.” But a man — I’m not speaking of you now — may very well be “nobody.”
  • Ours is an immutable reality which should make you shudder when you approach us if you are really conscious of the fact that your reality is a mere transitory and fleeting illusion, taking this form today and that tomorrow, according to the conditions, according to your will, your
  • Sentiments, which in turn are controlled by an intellect that shows them to you today in one manner and tomorrow . . . who knows how? . . . Illusions of reality represented in this fatuous comedy of life that never ends, nor can ever end! Because if tomorrow it were to end . . . then why, all would be finished.
  • When a character is born, he acquires at once such an independence, even of his own author, that he can be imagined by everybody even in many other situations where the author never dreamed of placing him; and so he acquires for himself a meaning which the author never thought of giving him…

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