52 pages 1 hour read

Dario Fo

Accidental Death Of An Anarchist

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1970

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Important Quotes

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“SERGEANT. It’s always the same story. We’re always caught in-between. It’s only one week since that anarchist we were interrogating jumped out the window.”

(Act I, Scene 1, Page 9)

This quotation introduces the audience to the inciting incident of the play, the anarchist’s death and the police department’s false explanation. In addition to sharing the inciting incident, the quote also explains the police’s perspective on their place in society, caught between the people and the government.

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“FOOL. A sane person could, but I couldn’t. I am licensed to be crazy. See here, I have my complete clinical file with me. Sixteen times institutionalized—and always for the same reason: ‘histromania’; from the Latin ‘histrones’, which means, of course, ‘actor’. See, I can’t stop myself from playing roles.”

(Act I, Scene 1, Page 11)

Here, The Fool is explaining his character background and why he won’t be charged and sent to prison for impersonating a psychiatrist. The psychiatric diagnosis may well be as fictitious as everything else he says about himself, but the compulsion to perform roles is real: a true description of his mode of protest and of existence in an unjust and dishonest social system.

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“FOOL. But being a judge is the best of all occupations. First of all you hardly ever have to retire. In fact, at the precise moment when an ordinary man, any working person, reaches fifty-five or sixty years old and already has to be dumped because he’s beginning to get a little slow, a little late in his reflexes, the judge is just starting the high point of his career. […] the older and more feeble-minded they get, the higher ranks they’re promoted to. They’re given important, absolute powers! […] Well, these characters have the power to save or destroy however and whenever they will: they toss out certain life sentences just the way someone might say ‘hey, maybe it will rain tomorrow!’”

(Act I, Scene 1, Pages 16-17)

This quotation illustrates The Fool’s interest in playing the role of the judge. Through The Fool’s perspective, Fo satirizes judges and the double standard that elevates them to a position of authority over. He illustrates the terrifying randomness of a corrupt judicial system with limited checks and balances.