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Kligerman, C. (1962). A Psychoanalytic Study of Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author". J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 10:731-744.

(1962). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 10:731-744

A Psychoanalytic Study of Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author"

Charles Kligerman, M.D.

PIRANDELLO'S Six Characters in Search of an Author, pronounced a masterpiece almost from the moment it reached the public, is nevertheless a most baffling and intriguing play. It has been variously described as "cerebral, " "psychological, " a portrayal of man's isolation from himself and the times, a study of the conflict of life versus form, of illusion versus reality, etc. When a work of art appears so puzzling and paradoxical, yet compels our attention so forcefully, it is usually a cogent indication that some strong unconscious communication is going on between the artist and his public, and that in the unconscious area, the discrepancies achieve some unity. In the following discussion I shall attempt a reconstruction of this unconscious communication.

In general there are two approaches to the psychoanalytic exploration of drama: (1) The play can be considered independent of the author's personality, and the characters and their interaction studied as valid psychological entities in themselves. (2) The play is viewed as a projection of the artists's inner world, making possible a reconstruction of the writer's conflicts and personality. The first of these applies to the great objective writers like Shakespeare or Tolstoi who deal with human nature in all its protean manifestations. It would be difficult to know Shakespeare's personality, other than its incredible richness, from his plays.


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