Naked Masks

The Illusory Nature of Existence in Pirandello’s Naked Masks 11th Grade

Man is never so naked than when he wears a mask. Or in other words, what is perceived is the exposed truth people see and not the truth that really exists. The problem is that the mask reflects exactly what a person so chooses to be, but not what he or she really is. Inversely, observers see the façade created by the masquerader as truth but fail to decipher the inner appearance. If five observers were to draw the real face, or reality, of the masked man, there would be five different pictures, five different truths. But who is right? Is there a right and wrong in such a situation? This is the problem of human nature and is best explained through existentialism, through which Pirandello was an adherent of. The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia explains that existentialism is “existence [that] precedes essence: there is no God and no fixed human nature; thus, each person is totally free and entirely responsible for what he or she becomes and does. This responsibility accounts for human dread and anguish.” Responsibility is a terrible burden to bear, often leading to suffering. Thus, it is that Pirandello’s characters disguise their responsibility behind masks of false stability and even madness to create a truth that is totally...

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