Accidental Death of an Anarchist

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Q) Critically analyze the Figure of Madman in Dario Fo’s play The Accidental Death of an anarchist.

A) Dario Fo’s play The Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970) lies in the category of revolutionary theatre that challenges the fascist regime of Italy. The play is a farce based on events involving a real person, Giuseppe Pinelli, who fell - or was thrown - from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969. He was accused of bombing a bank. The accusation is widely seen as part of the Italian Far Right's strategy of tension. Just like Fo’s other play, this play is also funny and subversive and shows a strong preference for the culture and traditions of the ordinary people and a commitment to the left wing politics. The play moves quickly through a series of farcical situations and exposes the hypocrisy and anti- people character of the bourgeois society and the so called sacred institutions- the police, the judiciary, the religion and the media. The play was originally written and performed in Italian in 1970 and first English translation was done in 1979.

Central to the play is the character of The Madman, who is the prime protagonist of the play. Through the story of the madman in a police station Dario Fo has a created a "classic example of exquisitely political theatre" with a comedy that begins from being realistic, (the stage setting is of a realistic, ordinary police station) moves towards the frankly implausible (the madman, the inspector, the superintendent and the constable singing the song of anarchists in the police station), reaches to the level of grotesque (the constant punching and kicking of Bertozzo by the police officials, and the falling eye) until it ends with a hilarious and ludicrous climax.

"He (the madman) invents dialogue based on a paradoxical or on real situation and goes on from there by virtue of some kind of natural, geometric logic, inventing conflicts that find their solutions in one gag after another in...
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