[Kaneki and Furuta as Oreste and Hamlet?]
I won’t say that Ishida put references to Pirandello’s works in his manga because that would be a stretch even for him, but certain panels of this chapter reminded of “The late Mattia Pascal”, so I thought I’d share for those who might be interested. The scene that made me think of the parallel is this one:
Mattia, the unfortunate protagonist of the work, is declared dead thrice.
First, by the newspaper:
(His family, who had lost contact with him, has declared an unknown corpse to be his,
and Mattia takes this as an opportunity to start a new life.)
Soon enough, though, he finds out that he’s not happy even though he started afresh with the fake identity of Adriano Meis, because he has no legal rights, and to the world he still doesn’t exist:
This later brings him to fake his own death and reclaim his identity as Mattia Pascal.
I’m not saying that this is a legit 100% parallel to Pirandello’s work because it doesn’t match up to TG as nicely as other literary classics like, say, Kafka’s works, but if we pretend that it did, then it would be interesting to note the bit in chapter 12 about the hole in the paper sky:
This part is meant to stress the difference between the figure of the tragic hero as it is perceived in a traditional way (Oreste) and the modern hero (Hamlet), who is perfectly aware of his own condition as a marionette on a stage. As someone explained in better words than mine:
We could say that Kaneki/Oreste never actually became Hamlet, because despite realizing his condition as a tragic hero:
He’s very passive for a main character. I know that other people in this brilliant fandom explained it in detail before me so I won’t expand on it, but the gist of it is that Kaneki was, and essentially still is, a marionette. The story of TG has always progressed through an external intervention, not because of a conscious decision of Kaneki.
If you allow me the stretch, this chapter only further emphasizes this point by suggesting a comparison between Takizawa (who was portrayed in the calendar as a marionette) and Kaneki. Both are empty, both have no real reason to live, only to stay alive, and both are basically just pawns (after all Kaneki is still following Eto and Arima’s plan, as long as he identifies as the OeK).
On the other hand, Furuta is perfectly aware of the hole in the paper sky. One could argue, this is why he’s very active, as opposed to Kaneki’s passive attitude (it’s always Furuta who starts the offence. Kaneki always sidesteps around Furuta’s strategies). One could also say that this very awareness of his role as an actor is what makes him wear literal masks:
And treating this reality for what it is: a stage, a set, something fake and artificial; that’s where he takes his anger from, and that’s why he condemns this world and laughs at it, wanting to destroy it.