Essay about Symbolism in the play Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

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In his play “Ghosts';, Ibsen forces the reader to think about his own ideas and believes, as well as those of society and past ages. Symbolism is one technique repeatedly used to portray the author’s ideas through rain, light, fire, the orphanage, Oswald, and through Engstrand himself. The use of religion is also interesting in the way the town people and Pastor Mander uses it.      There are many symbols present throughout Ibsen’s work. Rain is used as a symbol of the cleansing of evil and impurities. Outside of Mrs. Alving’s home it remains rainy and stormy until she faces the truth about her husband. The rain washes away the disguises so that the truth may be seen.…show more content…
     The orphanage is used as a subtle symbol for the illusion created by Mrs. Alving. The brothel, Captain Alving’s Home, symbolizes the reality of his life. In the end however, the truth is made known about both by the burning of the orphanage (287), and the brothel taking its place. These two actions illustrate the awakening from illusion to reality in the play. Oswald can also be seen as a main symbol. He is ignorant of the truth, giving him a false sense of innocence. He seems to have some power to stand up for his own beliefs, something his mother lacks. Oswald, is used to represent the truth of his situation which is hidden in is past. His illness and his wanting to die illustrate this idea. A final symbol used throughout the play is that of Engstrand. He represents society as a whole. Engstrand has a crippled leg; yet he says about his ethics he has “two good legs to stand on'; (277). Society is very much like this. It seems to be solid and stable but has weak foundations. Society will never completely heal or lose its flaws, nor will Engstrand.      Religion plays a major role in the everyday lives of the townspeople. The members of this community do not have not have the same direct contact with their God as the members of the ancient Greek world, but reach their God through a divine person (Pastor Manders). In this way, the society

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