Essay on Accidental Death of an Anarchist

Words: 1208
Pages: 5

Q) Critically analyze the Figure of Madman in Dario Fo’s play The Accidental Death of an anarchist.

A) Dario Fo’s play The Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970) lies in the category of revolutionary theatre that challenges the fascist regime of Italy. The play is a farce based on events involving a real person, Giuseppe Pinelli, who fell - or was thrown - from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969. He was accused of bombing a bank. The accusation is widely seen as part of the Italian Far Right's strategy of tension. Just like Fo’s other play, this play is also funny and subversive and shows a strong preference for the culture and traditions of the ordinary people and a commitment to the left wing politics. The play
…show more content…
Bertozzo ignores the directorial warning of the madman. Later he tells the superintendent to stop playing around and “keep to the script”. The actions of the play move around as the madman says and everyone does what he asks them to. Bertozzo, who defies the madman’s instructions, keeps on getting punched and thrown out.

Hence, Fo, in his play, takes the power out from the hands of the police, the judiciary, and the media and gives it to the representative of the lower section of society, the madman. By pretending to be, in turn to be various figures of authority – psychiatrist, professor, magistrate, bishop, forensic expert – the Maniac forces officials to re-create the events with the purpose of showing the inconsistencies in the official reports of Pinelli’s “leap” and to confess their responsibility in the anarchist’s death. The madman manages to create mayhem within the policeman, representatives of law and order and figures of authority are made to appear ridiculous and a target of laughter. He exposes how people in power are all in collusion to save their own.

Now I am about to show some of the theatre/TV productions of the play and give brief comments on how the character of madman operates in them. Firstly, take a look at the 1983 British TV movie that was telecasted on Channel 4. In this production, the original Italian setting is mixed with contemporary references to Thatcher's