Analysis of Pirandellos The Late Mattia Essay

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Analysis of Pirandello’s The Late Mattia Pascal
In his novel “The Late Mattia Pascal”, Luigi Pirandello tells the story of Mattia Pascal, a man that, after having lost everything and recognizing his unhappiness, has the opportunity to start over. The events of Mattia’s life are dictated by a mixture of fortune and decision making during unusual circumstances, where death, especially of the people he loves the most, constantly surrounds him. This leads to a crisis of identity, which is the main focus throughout the novel while at same time directly correlating to Pirandello’s life. In his novel, Pirandello explores the theme of identity, which is a symbol of the universal moral and existential crises that were taking place at the time.
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After Mattia loses his mother and the child he loves, Fortune grants him the opportunity to start over by leading people to believe he was dead after leaving him incredibly rich. “This next step was taken rather to obey Fortune and to fulfill my own personal need” (Pirandello 79). Mattia’s personal need reflects Pirandello’s own need for an escape, which ultimately gives them both the opportunity to create a new identity. Adriano Meis lets them escape for a while, but eventually makes them realize it is not their real identity and they cannot create one. Mattia goes back to his life even though everyone had moved on, and Pirandello’s escape continues to be through his own writing.
This close relationship between Pirandello and Mattia makes it possible to recognize Pirandello’s ideas in this novel. In chapter 13, The Little Lantern, the reader witnesses Pirandello’s own philosophy, which he calls lanternosophy, and which is communicated through the character Anselmo. This philosophy is Pirandello’s view on life for contemporary society, and it consists on the idea that each person carries a little lantern within themselves that casts a light around them, beyond which there is darkness. These lanterns could represent man’s perception of the world, which gives them the illusion of knowing what surrounds them and