Ghost By Henrik Ibsen

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Written analysis of Act 3 of the play Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen Ghosts, written in 1881 by Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright, was first performed in its original language in Sweden at Helsingborg in 1883, and was translated and performed in Chicago in May, 1882. Ghosts was a play that received many negative criticisms because of its themes of “individual freedom and self-realization by social and institutional forces: by commercial hypocrisy, religious intolerance, political expediency and all the accumulated pressures of conventional morality and established authority”.1 However, some believed that the highlighting of these aspects of society was essential and that Ghosts was a “great attempt to give the problems of the age a theatrical …show more content…
Although their costumes are not described in much detail in the text we can get an insight into the characters by what information is provided about their attire. Regina answers the door to Pastor Manders, and “straightens her collar”13 quickly when he has his back turned, indicating she wore a shirt or blouse, the common attire of a maid at the time. Pastor Manders enters the house wearing a topcoat, carrying an umbrella and a...small satchel”14, possibly signifying his authority and importance in society. The most significant costume, in my opinion, is that of Oswald. Oswald enters the conservatory while Pastor Manders and Mrs. Alving are seated at the table. He is wearing “a light overcoat, carries a hat in his hand, and is smoking a large Meerschaum pipe.”15, which reminds Pastor Manders of Mr. Alving. He explains how “there’s something about the corners of the mouth, something about the lips that reminds [him] exactly of Alving”16 I feel as though this is significant because as the play continues, Oswald becomes more and more similar to his father in his actions, especially the way in which he behaves while accompanying Regina in the dining room. These actions and similarities cause the past to haunt his mother and highlight the theme of memory and the past as well as the title of the play …show more content…
In my opinion, Ibsen structures the acts in a way that keeps the audience entertained and on edge. An example of this is at the end on act two when Mrs. Alving announces in the presence of Pastor Manders, Oswald and Regina, that she has decided to “speak plainly”20 and truthfully about her husband to them and finally believes that “nobody’s ideals are going to suffer by it”21. After this line we can sense excitement and confusion in Oswald and Regina and curiosity is evoked in the audience as to how the two characters will react. Immediately after this Regina notices a “glare”22 coming from outside and realises that the orphanage is on fire. Everyone’s attention is diverted to the fire and Mrs. Alving’s announcement is left aside, which leaves the audience on edge and alert because unlike the characters, they are not distracted by the burning orphanage. A second example of the intelligent and amusing structure of the play is towards the end of the final act, act three. Mrs. Alving has managed to explain the situation of her husband’s past to Regina and Oswald, telling them that Regina is in fact his daughter but her mother was a maid who worked in the Alving household. After the dramatic exit of Regina, brought on by her rage and frustration as to why she was not reared “like a gentleman’s daughter”23, the play moves on to a more dramatic issue.

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