Why did Luigi Pirandello not give the characters or the actors names in his play Six Characters in Search of an Author?

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lprono eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think this choice may be explained by focusing on the play not so much as a narration of a particular story with particular characters but as meta-theatre. Six Characters in Search of an Author makes us think about theatrical conventions by calling attention self-consciously at the opposition between reality and illusion. Giving names to the characters is part of that tacit agreement between the author and the audience that what is being represented on stage is the reality. Yet, after a beginning in a realist vein, Pirandello breaches that agreement in many ways. One of these is to point out that his characters are not real people, but archetypes from which an author can select certain traits instead of others. Another possible explanation has to do with Pirandello's refusal of a definite identity and his preference for characters that have no sense of stability. When we recall the name of a person we know, we immediately associate to it an identity. Pirandello robs his characters of the most basic feature of their identities: their names.

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