Pirandello’s Henry IV remembers a priest sleeping in a public garden

Henry IV: Look here, doctor! I remember a priest, certainly Irish, a nice-looking priest, who was sleeping in the Sun one November day, with his arm on the corner of the bench of a public garden. He was lost in the golden delight of the mild sunny air which must have seemed for him almost summery. One may be sure in that moment he did not know any more that he was a priest, or even where he was. He was dreaming… A little boy passed with a flower in his hand. He touched the priest with it here on the neck. I saw him open his laughing eyes, while all his mouth smiled with the beauty of his dream. He was forgetful of everything… But all at once, he pulled himself together, and stretched out his priest’s cassock; and there came back to his eyes the same seriousness which you have seen in mine; because the Irish priests defend the seriousness of their Catholic faith with the same zeal with which I defend the secret rights of the heredity monarch! I am cured gentlemen: because I can act the mad man to perfection, here; and I do it very quietly, I’m only sorry for you that have to live your madness so agitatedly, without knowing it or seeing it.

Henry IV, Luigi Pirandello

Self inflicted gaslighting – Bad Habit or Mental Exercise?

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