Mario and the Magician Essay

Words: 1430
Pages: 6

Mario and the Magician – Illness and Deformity In Thomas Mann's "Mario and the Magician," Mann uses illness and deformity to symbolize the driving force towards disaster. It is in the illness of the characters that the setting for disaster is made, which then beings on a downward spiral once the character of Cipolla enters the story. Cipolla is not only mentally ill, but he is deformed. Much of his deformity is left a mystery for it is described so vaguely by the narrator. The first episode of illness starts with a whooping cough. After the whooping cough episode, another display of illness, not only physically but also in regards to the illness of character, is a child with "disgusting raw sores on his shoulders" (Mann 534). Shortly …show more content…
Had Cipolla never mentioned the fact that he had a deformity, it would have never set the audience in to a somewhat uncomfortable state of mind. Cipolla's overall appearance gave an eerie vibe; his outfit, his mannerism, and his physical appearance excluding the deformed aspect of it. It is commonly known that people, who mock others and put others down, are only unhappy with themselves. Cipolla's unhappiness with himself evolves in part from his deformity. By making mockery of the members of the audience, it allows him to feel better about himself. However, Cipolla, in relation to this particular audience, does not know the power he holds and the fateful road down which he is taking himself. The first attack Cipolla makes is against two men, which turns into an attack against the audience as a whole. There is something interesting about this attack in that it shows the type of victim whom Cipolla targets. The narrator describes the men as "two sturdy young louts" (Mann 546). Cipolla targets these particular two because he notes their physical appearance and brings them to the stage in order to diminish their self-image and humiliate them in front of an audience. In utter sarcasm, Cipolla "praised their heroic firmness of limb and the size of their hands, so well calculated to do this service for the public" (Mann 546). Maybe Cipolla had known or maybe he had simple guessed, but the two men, when given their assignment to write down numbers