Places: Right You Are (If You Think So)

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1918 (English translation, 1922)

First produced: Così è (se vi pare), 1917

Type of work: Drama

Type of plot: Parable

Time of work: Early twentieth century

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places DiscussedAgazzi’s drawing room

Agazzi’s Right You Are (If You Think So)drawing room (ah-GATZ-ee). Comfortable apartment of an unnamed central Italian town’s major official, the middle-class bureaucrat Commendatore Agazzi, that is the play’s main setting. Agazzi’s family and townspeople complain that his clerk Signor Ponza cruelly does not allow his wife and his mother-in-law, Signora Frola, to see each other. Agazzi opens his home to the meddling townspeople to question the clerk and mother-in-law separately, each of whom gives conflicting versions of the truth about the wife’s identity. Is she Ponza’s first wife or a second wife following the terrible earthquake in Marsica? The citizens take sides and cannot arrive at one truth because all family records have been destroyed by the earthquake. When summoned, the wife testifies that she is whomever one thinks her to be.

As the playing field of the action, Agazzi’s drawing room reveals a family of pained sufferers with a secret sorrow surrounded by busybody townspeople and ineffectual provincial politicians who find that the “truth” cannot be known.


*Marsica. District of central Italy’s Abruzzi region, which borders the Adriatic Sea, that is mentioned in the play as the place from which the Ponza and Frola families come. In January, 1915, the real Marsica was, in fact, ravaged by a devastating earthquake that killed more than thirty thousand people and destroyed several villages in the region. The region’s history makes the suffering of the Ponza-Frola family and total loss of their identification papers plausible.

Although the play appears to be set in central Italy, its allusions to crowded villages, petty middle-class society, government bureaucracy, and passionate persons who have undergone suffering were probably inspired by the Sicily in which Pirandello grew up.

BibliographyBüdel, Oscar. Pirandello. New York: Hillary House, 1966. Overview of the dramatist’s achievements, organized thematically. Discusses Right You Are (If You Think So) as an example of Pirandello’s extreme relativism and his use of humor to highlight the absurd plight of humanity.Matthaei, Renate. Luigi Pirandello. Translated by Simon Young and Erika Young. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1973. Critical study of Pirandello’s major plays. Examines Right You Are (If You Think So) as a social satire; reviews its critical reception in Europe and the United States.Oliver, Roger W. Dreams of Passion: The Theater of Luigi Pirandello. New York: New York University Press, 1979. Reads Right You Are (If You Think So) and other plays in light of the theory of the theater outlined in Pirandello’s essay On Humor (1908).Ragusa, Olga. Luigi Pirandello: An Approach to His Theater. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press, 1980. Shows how Pirandello’s works illuminate the dramatist’s vision of humankind and humans’ place in the world. Discusses Right You Are (If You Think So) as one of a group of plays published between 1916 and 1921 that share certain dramaturgic and thematic qualities.Vittorini, Domenico. The Drama of Luigi Pirandello. 2d ed. New York: Russell & Russell, 1969. Examines Pirandello’s works in light of the tradition of Italian theater. Claims the central idea of Right You Are (If You Think So) is that humankind is essentially subjective; only if people accept others’ points of view as being equally as valid as their own can true social harmony be achieved.
Categories: Places