The Mask of Identity
Throughout his writing career Pirandello remained fascinated by the ironies inherent in belief in a single absolute identity. Many of his plays and prose writings centre on the clash between a fixed notion of identity and the multi-faceted nature of man’s social role. The problem of the shapelessness of identity offered both tragic and comic possibilities, and Pirandello explored the range of ironic contrasts in the dichotomy between the mask, which may be assumed as a disguise, and the face that may or may not exist behind it. This particular preoccupation was shared by other writers of the time; the play entitled The Mask and the Face, that was popular around the time of the First World War, was written not by Pirandello but by Luigi Chiarelli.
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