Ibsen's Ghost: a Modern Tragedy Essay

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Edith Hamilton, in the Greek Way wrote, "Isben's plays are not tragedies. Whether Isben is a realist or not, small souls are his dramatist personae, and his plays are dramas with an unhappy ending. The end of Ghosts leaves us with a sense of shuddering horror and cold anger towards a society where such things can be, and those are not tragic feelings." Although Hamilton is an exceptionally talented historical researcher, it seems as though Ghosts is indeed a tragedy, even though she assumes otherwise. Even when the play was written, people discussed what type of play it actually was. People debated how to categorize the play because it had features of different kinds of drama. For example, certain critics consider it a satire of…show more content…
Ten years have passed since the Lieutenant died, and his widow has decided to build an orphanage in his honor, or so it would appear. The Alving's son Oswald returns from his studies for the occasion. Throughout the course of a day, one by the one the characters appear. The play essentially opens with Regine and her supposed father Mr. Engstrage requesting with her to work for him at the sailor saloon he wishes to open, but she refuses to take part in the matter. Following their dialogue, Pastor Manders enters and has an argument with Oswald in his home. Next the reader is introduced to Mrs. Alving when she and Pastor Manders begin a discussion with each other. The drama intensifies as the characters begin to reveal their true thoughts and attitudes. Oswald is a young man who has been living in Paris developing his artistic abilities and at the same time developing his belief in freedom of expression. At his house, he encounters Pastor Manders, and the two have an argument with each other. Pastor Manders then goes on to rebuke Mrs. Alving for raising such an opinionated and disrespectful boy. This leads into a long discussion between the two in which Mrs. Alving reveals the true nature of her late husband. She shows him that he was not the righteous man that everyone thought he was, which accounts for the reason as to why Mrs. Alving left him in their marriage. Pastor

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