Mann's use of the first-person point of view in Mario and the Magician allows him to explore the powerful effect of fascism on the minds of so many of his fellow Europeans.
In presenting the allegorical figure of Cipollo the magician, Mann is not so much interested in the objective aspects of fascism as the way in which it burrows its way, worm-like, deep into the darkest recesses of the human psyche. In adopting this approach, Mann is able to give us some idea as to how so many millions of people were held in thrall for so many years by this rancid ideology.
The first-person narrative style is ideally suited to this purpose. We are treated to a privileged glimpse into the minds of a group of ordinary people as they were repelled and fascinated in equal measure by the diabolical magician, who represents the seductive power of fascism. As he performs his act, Cipollo gradually breaks down the audience's subjectivity, robbing them of their capacity to think and make voluntary choices.
In occupying the mind of the narrator, we are privy to this disturbing process, as we witness the dangerously hypnotic effects of Cipollo's magic. The narrator frankly admits that he's been unable to break the spell placed upon him by the magician and his extraordinary performance, which is part magic show, part political cabaret. A man who initially wondered why he came to watch the show in the first place has now been so seduced by Cipollo's dark magic that his very subjectivity has been compromised.