Ghost Henrik Ibsen Character Analysis

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HOW DOES THE HIERARCHY OF SOCIETY AFFECT THE SENSE OF DUTY AND MORALITY OF CERTAIN CHARACTERS IN GHOSTS?

Ghosts was a play written by Henrik Ibsen, an 19th century Norwegian playwright who was credited for the creation for modern realistic drama. Ibsen specialized in portraying the stark reality of life in the 19th century. Society during that period valued facade over integrity due to the fact that the people higher up the social ladder were under greater scrutiny from others to adhere to stricter moral codes. This often caused there to be disparity between what people really were and what they portrayed themselves to be, leaving room for hypocrisy and creating false appearances. This theme is explored heavily in the novel by Ibsen through
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Regine for example, was shown to harbour a misdirected sense of morality which she used to try and rise up in the social ladder. From the start of the play her general attitude was shown to be very snobbish and crude against anyone who she thought could not help her elevate her position. One such example is with Mr. Engstrand, her father. She insults her father for thinking that there was something between her and Oswald by calling him a ‘barmy’ man ( Pg. 96 ). Not only does she show her blatant disrespect through her derogatory choice of words, but her replies to Mr. Engstrand are often over-the-top and sarcastic to show how little regard she holds for him. When Engstrand says to her that he was going to try something new, she sneers and reminds him ‘how many times she’s heard that before’ and how he has always ended up ‘making a mess of it.’ Lastly, when asked about whether she would marry a sailor she replies ‘they have no savior vivre’ which means knowledge of life, again conveying the fact that she views anyone beneath her social position as unworthy of her time. This becomes quite ironic since at the end of the play Regine does end up going back to the establishment to entertain the sailors, showing …show more content…
The rules set by society seem to follow the same principle behind the saying. Individuals higher up the hierarchy have more to lose, and the opposite remains true for those lower down. Those with more to lose, like Mrs. Alving and to some extent Oswald, have certain rules that they have to abide and uphold, even if it means that the image they conjure up do not convey their inner intentions. In essence, the hierarchical system present in the play ‘Ghosts’ did affect the sense of duty and morality in certain characters greatly, causing characters with a respected position such as Mrs. Alving to forgo her sense of morality, by keeping secrets and engaging in immoral activities, to fulfill their role of duty towards her son and as a wife. On the other hand, it advocated those in the lower middle or working classes to misuse and manipulate the social structure to their benefit. Regine used her lowly position to serve as an excuse for her unethical decision-making with those around him, whereas the Pastor abused it by taking advantage of those lower him in the social ladder for his own

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