The Late Mattia Pascal

Was it the lack of identity that stopped Mattia Pascal really living a fulfilling life?

Could it have been his inability to let go from one identity while taking another that was the real cause of his problem.

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Let's look at it from a different perspective. In Mattia's character, we have a man who by chance is allowed to pick up, leave everything he knows and start over. He's miserable in his life.......... he has an unhappy marriage, his mother-in-law despises him (she also lives with him), and his social standing and finances have been left in ruin. In essence, he has nothing.

After an argument, Mattia has stomped away angry at the world, so he goes to Monte Carlo for some fun........ just to get away. He has every intention of returning to his family, but by some magical twist of fate he wins a substantial amount of money before he does so. Mattia has the money and the return ticket; he even gets on the train, but once again, fate takes over and he finds himself believed to be dead......... so he leaves them to believe it, and he starts a new life. How many people would love to have this opportunity? Or more importantly, how many have wished for this opportunity?

Mattia's choice was his own, but it wasn't well thought out. He was impulsive, and it was lack of thought and impulsiveness that were his biggest mistakes. Taking on a new name was easy, as was finding a new home and ultimately a new love........... he wasn't unable to thrust off the mantle of his old identity, but he was unable to fully take on the new. His choice came with limitations, and it was those limitations that kept him from attaining a life of fulfillment.

Mattia has taken on a new name, but he does not have an identity. His methods have left him without a past, without papers and without a legal status. He has no civil status; therefore he can't get a job, can't get married, and he has to live in fear that someone will find him out and turn him in. Thus, he fell in love, but can never offer the girl marriage. He can have acquaintances, but he can never have someone to confide in. Socially, he's no more alive as Adriano than he was as Mattia. But the problem doesn't come from the fact that he can't "let go," it comes from the fact that "it" won't let go.


The Late Mattia Pasca