The Dynamics of Identity and Insanity in "The Accidental Death of an Anarchist" and "The Government Inspector"

Topics: Nikolai Gogol, The Government Inspector, Vsevolod Meyerhold Pages: 4 (1392 words) Published: November 18, 2007
In the plays "The Accidental Death of an Anarchist" written by Dario Fo, and "The Government Inspector", written by Nikolai Gogol, ‘identity' and ‘insanity' play vital roles. The Maniac, who is the protagonist of "The Accidental Death of An Anarchist", is seen changing his identity throughout the play, pretending to be various other people. Khlestakov, the protagonist of "The Government Inspector" lands in the position of being an inspector by chance, and throughout the play he thoroughly exploits this opportunity by making the most of this particular identity. It is this characteristic of both protagonists that drives the audience to a point where they may start doubting the sanity of these two characters. These two ‘ingredients' of insanity and identity have been blended with perfection and the audiences appreciate both plays, their motives and the impeccable characterization. Identity is also the set of characteristics that somebody recognizes as belonging uniquely to himself or herself and constituting his or her individual personality for life. The protagonist of "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" is the Maniac. As the name suggests, his character is most often considered to be "insane" by the audience. The primary reason for this is that he assumes multiple identities throughout the play. He adapts characteristics of different people in different occupations. Maniac:" It's more of a hobby, really- playing other people. I'll do anybody!" At the very beginning of the play the audience is familiarized with the Maniac's "hobby", as he is being interrogated by Bertozzo. The Maniac is perceived as a quick-witted person but also very nosey. His curiosity is what instigates him to take up other identities. When he is in Bertozzo's office and he reads a report that the case of the Anarchist's death is being investigated, he decides to become the judge that everyone is expecting. The audience can relate to his character as we often find ourselves being inquisitive...
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