The Dynamics of Identity and Insanity in "The Accidental Death of an Anarchist" and "The Government Inspector"

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In the plays "The Accidental Death of an Anarchist" written by Dario Fo, and "The Government Inspector", written by Nikolai Gogol, ‘identity' and ‘insanity' play vital roles. The Maniac, who is the protagonist of "The Accidental Death of An Anarchist", is seen changing his identity throughout the play, pretending to be various other people. Khlestakov, the protagonist of "The Government Inspector" lands in the position of being an inspector by chance, and throughout the play he thoroughly exploits this opportunity by making the most of this particular identity. It is this characteristic of both protagonists that drives the audience to a point where they may start doubting the sanity of these two characters. These two ‘ingredients' of…show more content…
He is lured into this false identity by his greed. Even when he is pretending to be the government inspector he is still being greedy. "Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be"-Kurt Vonnegut. It can be observed that the Maniac as well as Khlestakov are both paradigms of basic human traits such as greed and curiosity leading to false identity. Nikolai Gogol, like Fo had a hidden motive behind the changing identity of Khlestakov. He has created the character of Khlestakov to fulfill the purpose of exposing the corrupt nature of local administration. As, the officials thought he was the government inspector they tried to bribe him and the audience was made aware of their deceitful nature. He has chosen to give Khlestakov the false identity of a government inspector so that he can unravel the truth, which was the obvious motive of Dario Fo as well. Maniac: "Yes, if I were a sane person. But I am mad. I have a certificate." This dialogue is met with great laughter from the audience. Fo has created the "insane" character of the Maniac to add to the humour of the play. He talks to himself as well as non-living objects around him. His dialogues are blunt and clearly reflect his insanity. At some point his multiple identities is what leads the audience to think he is insane. However, there is a thin line between insanity and wisdom. Some might perceive the Maniac to be crazy and bizarre to be fond of changing his

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