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Six Characters in Search of an Author is about the relationship between art and life.
His characters attempt to fulfil their self-seeking roles and are defeated by life itself which, always changing, enables them to see their perversity.
This is Pirandello's humour, an irony which arises from the contradictions inherent in life.
The analysis and dissolution of a unified self are carried to an extreme in Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (1921) [Six Characters in Search of An Author] where the stage itself, the symbol of appearance versus reality, becomes the setting of the play.
The attitudes expressed in L' Umorismo [Humour], an early essay (1908), are fundamental to all of Pirandello's plays.
The conflict between illusion and reality is central in La vita che ti diedi (1924) [The Life I Gave You] in which Anna's long-lost son returns home and contradicts her mental conception of him.
However, his death resolves Anna's conflict; she clings to illusion rather than to reality.
As characters they are part of the illusion of reality.
They reject the thought that they are literature, asserting that "This is life, this is passion." The play is a Meta theatre, which is a dramatic experimentation.
has endured because it still rings true in its examination of the relationship between art and life, illusion and reality.
The very word illusion is rejected by the characters.