Accidental Death of an Anarchist

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In the play Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Dario Fo expresses his political concerns, using humour as a way of educating his audience. He incorporates stock characters such as the Maniac and the superintendent to address issues like abuse of power, while using farce and satire to emphasize his point. All of these combined help to leave the responder thinking about the issues in contemporary society.

The Maniac has the main and most important role in ADOA. He can be likened to the Commedia Dell’arte character Arlecchino as both are very intelligent, but also unpredictable and known to frequently change their plans. Through the Maniac the audience learns the truth about the death of the anarchist.

The Maniac constantly changes his character in the play, representing the deception and disguise of the police force and emphasizing how ridiculous those in power are. In Act One, Scene Two, the Maniac says, «I’m not pushing. You’ve been seized by a raptus.» This is a great comic line; the irony in the remark shows how absurd the police’s statements are.

Another example is when the Maniac’s arm falls off and he mockingly states: «Next you’ll be pulling off my leg.» This is a deliberate farce to make the responder laugh. This incident is also a symbol of the cover-ups made by the police and is aimed at stressing Dario Fo’s message about the injustices and lies by the police in society.

The Maniac is very intelligent and this helps him to control the authoritative figures and make them out to be foolish and weak. For example: In Act One, Scene Two, he points to a nervous twitch in his neck. This is comic because he is threatening the police with something that couldn’t possibly cause them any harm. It also reflects how successfully he has asserted his status over the others.

The end of Act One, Scene Two is a powerful irony with the Maniac convincing the police officers to sing an anarchist song about liberty for the people, to prove that they have a compassionate

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