Accidental Death of an Anarchist Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is happening in the beginning of the play? What does Bertozzo want from the Maniac?

The play begins in the middle of Bertozzo's increasingly desperate attempts to get the Maniac to make a legal statement. The Maniac has been charged with illegally impersonating a psychiatrist, and Bertozzo is intent on getting him to confess.

2. What do the police records show regarding the Maniac's history? How does he respond to these allegations?

The records show the maniac has been charged a number of times for impersonating figures from a lawyer to a bishop to a university lecturer in psychology. The Maniac answers every accusation with a cheerful admission that, yes, he has posed as everything Bertozzo suggests.

3. What is the Maniac's justification for his "crimes" in Act 1, Scene 1?

The Maniac says he suffers from a mania for performing as someone else. He also says he has every right to impersonate everyone he's ever impersonated, having spent a great deal of time in a lunatic asylum. He points out that he may have been arrested many times but he's never been convicted.

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