Ghosts Henrik Ibsen Essay

Oswald, dying of syphilis - the legacy of his parent's joyless marriage - returns home from Paris. The ghost of a young, joy-filled captain - deprived of a warming sun - returns to devastate her.

He finds temporary relief from the sterile home environment in warmth from the glowing embers of the Captain’s memorial, the orphanage. In struggling to get an overview of 'Ghosts', I realised that Mrs.

However her husband's philandering continued until his death, and Mrs.

Alving was unable to leave him prior to his death for fear of being shunned by the community.

During the action of the play she discovers that her son Oswald (whom she had sent away so that he would not be corrupted by his father) is suffering from inherited syphilis, and (worse) has fallen in love with Regina Engstrand, Mrs. Reflecting on my own marriage, I have just seen Ghosts in a new light.

The Young Captain Alving and Pastor Manders once had, like youthful Oswald, a full measure of the joy of life.Furthermore, the general misery of a large part of humanity was being emphasized by the industrial Revolution, as a result of which workers were pouring into urban centers where living conditions were daily more inadequate.Crime and poverty were prevalent (Brockett, 19- : 287).Until she learns that Captain Alving was her father, Regine has a positive, upbeat outlook on life. The obvious reasons seem hopelessly inadequate: her mother conceived her out of wedlock; she has been brought up as a maid rather than a chamberlain's daughter; her step father and mother had long deceived her; or marriage with terminally-ill Oswald, her bother, is impossible now. The truth of Mrs Alving's life now lies naked in the broad sunlight. I expect the weight of evidence will bear heavily on the question of paternity.Afterwards, as Mrs Alving prophesies, 'Regine−−I can see quite well−−you are going to your ruin! One may have expected Regine to be relieved that Engstrand is not her father. Isnt it strange that Regine says nothing about her true father? Regine realises that she has inherited the failings of her father, a pillar of society, just as Oswald had inherited syphilis. It may prove that the identity of Oswald's father is unknowable both to the characters and those experiencing the play. Having read ten Ibsen plays in several weeks, 'Ghosts' has baffled me, even after a rereading. As the play ends, Oswald begs his mother for a morphine overdose to end 'the great, killing dread' - to do her duty. At age seven, Oswald was sent away from home by his mother.Mrs Alving’s sterile subservience to duty drove the captain to syphilitic adventures and ultimate emptiness.Looking for a better life, the young Mrs Alving flees to Pastor Manders who, like her, puts duty and propriety first, becoming hypocritical in middle age. She screams despairingly, not so much at the catatonic Oswald, as at the devastation she has wreaked on her family, and on her own life, by putting duty before joy and warmth.She reveals to her spiritual advisor, Pastor Manders, that she has hidden the evils of her marriage, and has built the orphanage to deplete her husband's wealth so that their son, Oswald, might not inherit anything from him.Pastor Manders had previously advised her to return to her husband despite his philandering, and she followed his advice in the belief that her love for her husband would eventually reform him.We can even say that realism dramas are the pioneer of modern drama.By the mid-nineteenth century, the Romantic outlook had been modified considerably, for the belief in man’s idealistic nature had received many setbacks.


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