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Anarchy

In: English and Literature

Submitted By TheWilliamCooper
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ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST Theater has been used in a variety of ways throughout time. Storytellers anciently used stories to teach their children to behave, the ancient Greeks used their amphitheater to give parables teaching their fellow mortal fools what happens when they don’t obey their Gods, and medieval theater primarily recreated Bible stories for scared religious events. Many times theater has important things to say to its community; actions within society, exposés on the world around them, and responses to important issues being raised in the community. Oscar Wilde said “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being, living in our world and the secrets it holds.” Dario Fo’s “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” is so exception. Responding directly to the corruption happening in Italy in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the play speaks of the corruption of the police and gives life to questions the public had regarding the government's inclusion in it. Its speaks even more specifically to an actual death of a real anarchist who was in police custody after a bombing of a bank in Milan that killed sixteen people. The police told the public that this anarchist's death was a suicide, that the man jumped four stories to his death in despair about his crime. Most Italians believed that the death was the result of overly harsh interrogation techniques, if not murder by the interrogators. There were many themes presented in “Accidental Death of an Anarchist.” I’m going to focus on how Dario Fo spoke to his political concerns by using humor and a farce like structure to educated the issue of authoritative abuse of power prevalent in Italy at the time. A person with a higher status using their role in a negative way, mostly used for personal gain and achievement is a major character theme in the play. The way the characters in ADOA use their actions and/or words to show this are numerous. A major example of this theme is found in the character Feletti, who, just like those around Fo at the time, was pretending to be one thing but was truly concerned with their own interests. Feletti uses her job as a journalist to gain money and improve her status in society as she illustrates when the character of the Maniac asks her, "You are a journalist...but what will you achieve? A huge scandal..." to which she responds, "Not a bad day's work." (Act Two, Scene Two) A funny line that most likely garned laughs but steeped in truth. The genius of Fo’s script is that it incorporates laughter in the written/spoken lines to generate persuasion from his audience. This funny line in particular helps the audience to see Feletti as someone who is two-faced, pretending to do what's in the interests of the public, but having the underlying knowledge that a good story will get her “big bucks”. The Maniac in this case is used to point out how far individuals at that time would go for their own benefit. ADOA was made, in my argument, strategically a farce to present Fo’s political views without lecturing the audience. Dario Fo extensively uses techniques such as slapstick and satire to add to the comic effect to the messages he presents. In doing this he is more easily able to get his political opinions across. The Maniac's different disguises have a two-faced notion as well and are props that re-emphasize the theories and viewpoints of Fo. They are used to emphasize the stupidity of the law and to show that corrupt people are often concealed within governments sworn to protect us. For example: In Act One, Scene One, the Maniac tries on different disguises asking us the audiences opinion- "...No? All right forget it. What about...the anarchist...in Rome? No?...(Disguised as the judge) Thirty years for you, forty for you, forty for you etc..."
By breaking down the fourth wall, the audience becomes co-conspirators, and part of the political conspiracy. Through the Maniac's exaggerated and comic view of the court system, the responder also becomes aware of Fo's politically themed message. In general his uses of disguises becomes a talisman that represents what we see on the outside isn’t what’s real underneath. In conclusion, Dario Fo uses a combination of Commedia characters, important political themes and performance techniques to both entertain and inform his audience. Accidental Death of an Anarchist uses a comedy to sway and favor the audience towards political change. By incorporating 'laughter, Fo is able to successfully 'educate his audience' about the political issues that can still be related to society today.

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