What does "layering of roles" precisely mean in the following sentence quoted from Pirandello and the Crisis of Modern Consciousness by Anthony Francis Caputi?

For the generation of Neveux, Jean Giraudoux, and Jean Anouilh, the term “Pirandellisme” meant “pure intellectual game,” and Pirandellian structures meant characters seen as a layering of roles.


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One of the main themes of Pirandello's works is certainly the fragmentation of the Ego, see Uno, nessuno, cento mila, Il fu Mattia Pascal, etc. This fragmentation is metaphorized with the concept of masks.

According to Pirandello, people wear different masks depending on the situation they are in; these masks will be more or less different from our true identity. The stratification therefore indicates, in my opinion, a multitude of attitudes with which the characters are dressed, as if in layers.

So, layering of roles means literally layering the masks we created to look in a certain way, even for the vision of ourselves, not in a superficial but in a deep way, sometimes the characters of pirandello are convinced that they are what they represent and they forget who they were (il fu mattia pascal).

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