Para Pirandello, la verdadera libertad no existe. La libertad, para carecer totalmente de responsabilidad, debe tener una ausencia de memoria y pasado. Pues bien, estoy muerto de verdad. Inteligente, Pirandello. Rico, sin compromiso, libre.
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Central questions of Pirandellos novel are Who am I and What is freedom. One of the few things, in fact about the only thing I was sure of was my name: Mattia Pascal. The last time I read Pirandello I was in high school, and I think I read some plays that I have to re-read because I dont remember them very well. This is his most-famous novel that has some autobiographical features and is exploring themes of identity, self, freedom, and death that were the most obvious and prominent, spiced up with a humorous note that made this novel relatively light read.
Mattia was full of deep introspective philosophical questions, with a little bit of hopeless, nihilistic world-view. I would say that death and mourning really accompanied him through his childhood and adolescence and shaped his perspective on himself and the world.
First the early death of his father, that became a distant, unfamiliar and unrememberable figure, and then death his two baby daughters and his mother, that was a living shadow, without any initiative or authority in her life, that could handle her own life issues and was over-sensitive about Mattia and his brother.
Without an example of how to handle maturely the problems that he was facing in his life, Mattia started to escape into solitude with books and deep abstract thoughts. He felt pretty empty and alone in the world with questions of meaning and direction he should take in his life. I could certainly relate to this type of defense mechanism of avoiding problems and conflicts with other people as I believe many people who adore books and are intellectual types could.
So I read and read, a little of everything, haphazard, but books of philosophy especially. Heavy stuff, I grant you; but when you get a little of it inside you, you grow light as a feather and begin to touch the clouds. I believe I was always a bit queer in my head. But these readings quite finished me. When I no longer knew what I was about, I would shut up the Library, and go off along a little path that led down a steep incline to a solitary strip of seashore.
His own financial and marital situations became a cage that he associated with his own sense of self, and that was the beginning of his longing to escape not only his situation, but his own self. The idea of a suicide as in killing his former identity rises and he does, helped by the series of the events, he becomes Adriano Meis, the man that travels the world with any obligations to anyone except himself.
What could possibly happen to me anywhere worse than what I had been through? Perhaps beyond the horizon ahead a new slavery awaited me--but with heavier chains, I asked myself, than those I had just snapped from my feet? In time he learns through the pain that there is excruciating loneliness in the absolute freedom, and our longing for connectedness makes us dependant on others and the quest for absolute freedom impossible.
We can crave solitude only to get it and learn that we cannot live alone. I was so absolutely free that it was difficult for me to bring myself to any particular kind of life. Fear of being caught again by the tentacles of life would keep me more than ever aloof from men.
Utterly alone! Alive as regards the dead, dead as regards the living! What kind of a life can I live, after all? Again alone, all by myself--solitude! Supposing, in a word, that there were no such thing as this death which fills us with such terror, that death should prove to be not the extinction of life but a gust of wind, merely, which blows out the light in our lantern, extinguishes this dolorous, painful, terrifying sense of life we have--terrifying, because it is limited, narrowed, fenced in by the circle of fictitious darkness that begins just where the light from our lantern stops.
Maybe I read it at the wrong time and might change the rating in the future, but for now, 4 stars, even though I would highly recommend this novel to all the people who have a need to think about themselves and the world in a deeper way.
El difunto Matías Pascal
El Difunto Matías Pascal
El difunto Matías Pascal – Luigi Pirandello
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