The Master Builder Essay

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In The Master Builder, by Henrik Ibsen, the playwright underlines Halvard Solness’ flaws and shows how they can have an impact on those around him as well as on himself. Throughout the play, Solness, the Master Builder, becomes overcome by an uncontrollable fear of his own mortality, fear of loss and fears that youth and fresh talents will overtake him in his work. As a result, he becomes overwhelmed by his own driving ambition as a means of proving himself.
In the play, Solness is described in his youth as being a strong, vibrant character, full of skill and the builder of some of the biggest towers in the area. Hilde says to him “I couldn’t have believed there was a master builder in the whole world who could build such a tremendously
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As a young man, Solness wanted to build churches as monuments to God, as this would be a worthy thing to do, as he states, “I built those poor country churches in so honest and warm and fervent a spirit that... He should have been pleased with me”. He now feels guilty that he has not performed well enough and has not pleased God. Neither does he feel he has pleased his wife, Aline, as their house – of which she was very proud – was burnt down.
Ibsen describes, in detail, Solness’ very emotional reaction to the death of his twin sons after the fire, as he confides to Hilde, “The two little children – they’re not so easy to forget, Hilde”. This shows that Solness is a thinking, feeling person. Solness feels the loss of his children was a punishment from God, as was the burning down of his house. He says he will no longer build churches or church towers, but only “homes for human beings… where the father and mother and a whole lot of children could live safely and happily feeling that it’s good to be alive in the world”. He wants to exorcise himself of the devil by creating homes for people to live in and making them happy.
Hilde encourages him to take pride in himself as the master builder and sees in him someone that she can be proud of too. She wants him to live his dreams and fantasies by building “castles in the air”. She again feeds on Solness’ flaws and fears, telling

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