The Diary of Anne Frank

by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett

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In Act 1 of The Diary of Anne Frank, how do Anne's words reveal her personality?

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The play The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett premiered in 1955 and is based on the book Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Many aspects of Anne’s personality are revealed through the script’s dialogue and stage direction.

The audience first sees Anne in scene two when she enters the stage running. The stage direction describes her as “quick,” “interested in everything, mercurial in her emotions.” Mercurial means that, like mercury in a thermometer, Anne’s mood can quickly change. In her first interaction with Peter, Anne acts friendly and outgoing. She also reveals a sensitive side. She can’t burn her Star of David as Peter does because, while it has become a symbol of hate, it is still a symbol of her Jewish heritage.

Anne also shows that she is an optimist. Rather than complaining as her family first moves into the attic where they will be hiding, she tells her father, Otto Frank, that she will think of it as “a very peculiar summer boarding house.” She also shows appreciation for Miep Gies and Mr. Kraler, “our protectors.”

Anne resists traditional female standards of behavior. When her mother protests against her playing with Peter, she replies, “Who cares if it’s dignified? I don’t want to be dignified.” This contrasts with the more reserved, ladylike behavior of her older sister, Margot. Later, this contrast comes to a head when Mr. Van Daan criticizes Anne for not being more like her sister. Anne responds aggressively, saying, “I’d cut my throat first! I’d open my veins!” and goes on to describe her dreams of becoming famous in music or the arts.

Overall, Anne is a free-spirited, high-energy character who also has a softer, sensitive side, which we especially see in her interactions with her father.  

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