Six Characters in Search of an Author | Study Guide

Luigi Pirandello

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Course Hero. "Six Characters in Search of an Author Study Guide." Course Hero. 9 Mar. 2018. Web. 23 June 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Six-Characters-in-Search-of-an-Author/>.

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Course Hero. "Six Characters in Search of an Author Study Guide." March 9, 2018. Accessed June 23, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Six-Characters-in-Search-of-an-Author/.

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Course Hero, "Six Characters in Search of an Author Study Guide," March 9, 2018, accessed June 23, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Six-Characters-in-Search-of-an-Author/.

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Clothing and Costumes

Clothing and costumes represent performance, presentation, and identity. Pirandello wants the Characters and the Actors to have distinctly different wardrobes. Their costumes immediately reveal the different planes or levels of reality they inhabit.

The Characters' distinct costumes reflect the way they see themselves. The Mother and Stepdaughter are dressed conspicuously in black mourning clothes. This wardrobe projects the losses and sorrows shaping their lives. The Mother is trapped in her sadness over the family's tragedies. The Stepdaughter's mourning clothes and demeanor have a "showy elegance." She wants her grieving to be noticed. The Son, in mauve and green, wears clashing, different clothes from the rest of the family. He wants to stand apart from them without standing out. The Boy and the Little Girl, dressed in simple outfits, blend into the scenery. They're the play's silent observers and surprise everyone when they play pivotal roles in the plot. Madame Pace's garish wardrobe identifies her as purely theatrical. Her appearance is meant to startle the Actors and the Director.

The Stage

The physical setting of the stage represents both the Characters' entrapment and the thin line between appearance and reality.

The stage freezes the Characters in time and space. When the Son tries to leave the family, he is unable to walk down the steps from the stage. Since his role is essential to the Characters' story, he can't physically leave. The Mother takes the Boy and the Little Girl onto the stage with her, although they're already dead. Their memory stays alive as part of her torment. The Father describes his role as a Character as his "sentence" or punishment. He's unable to change or reconsider his actions.

The physical setup of the theater is meant to blur the line between stage illusion and auditorium reality. Parisian director Georges Pitoëff extended the stage with a staircase leading to the audience—the stairs the Son and the Stepdaughter descend. The Characters enter through the auditorium like audience members, not from backstage like the rest of the cast. The Stepdaughter's final departure takes the Characters from the realm of the stage into the realm of the audience. She runs through the auditorium and out into the lobby, into the audience's world and the world outside the theater.

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