Accidental Death of an Anarchist Themes

  • Created by: sofialira
  • Created on: 20-02-18 15:06


·         The play was originally produced in Italy 1970

·         The play is based on an actual event that happened in Milan December 1969 in which 16 epople were killed. The police arrested a group of anarchists. One of them fell from a fourth storey window in the police station where he was questioned. It was later discovered that that bombing had been instigated by high level military and political figure and not the anarchists – back story on what they are going to talk to the maniac about.

·         Dario Fo // Born in Italy. Playwright, director and designer.

·         Commedia dell’arte – a popular form of street theatre that has improvised scenarios between each stock character. Usually characters wear masks, based on masters, lovers and servants etc.

·         Developed in Italy in the 1600s and spread widely across Europe. Movement, gesture and voice are all commonly used // masks were an essential feature.

·         Satire- the use of humour, irony and exaggeration to expose and ridicule individuals’ stupidity and vice.

Reform versus Revolution

Reform vs. Revolution was an ongoing debate in Italy when Fo wrote the play. People who believed they could make a difference in society and to the social standard of others were actually incapable of bringing about real change.

Fear and Submission

In the late 1960s/early 1970s, Italy experienced a lot of social unrest. This was due to the fact that authorities felt threatened by those on the far left (like Fo) who advocated for a revolution over a reform, within society as it would eliminate their power and control over the weaker people. Fascist organisations and members of the police force began committing terrorist acts and blaming them on the far left, hoping that the public would demand a strong crackdown on their enemies. These terrorist acts created a climate of fear, in which people were unlikely to push for major change.

Both the Maniac and the journalist allude to this "strategy of tension." The Journalist brings up the theme of police infiltration into political groups, and the Maniac adds that such infiltrators "also carry out atrocities to give themselves a good excuse for a police crackdown" (70).The Journalist also shares statistics about the number of terrorist attacks carried out by far right organizations:

"So you'll be unaware that of the 173 bomb attacks to date... 102 have been proved to be the work of fascists? And fascist or parallel organisations were strongly implicated in half of the remaining seventy-one cases" (72).


Nobody will ever know the complete truth about both the anarchist's death and who is responsible for the Piazza Fontana bombings, the play brings to light the blatant lies told about the case by the police, in the official police reports just so that maybe they could cover their own arses due to the corruption that was happening in Italy at the time. Through farce and wordplay, Fo is able to satirize the


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