“Brand” Ibsen in summary

The western coast of Norway. Cloudy weather, morning half-light. Brand, a middle-aged man in black clothes and a knapsack behind his shoulders, makes his way west over the mountains to the fjord, where his native village lies. Brand holding fellow travelers – a peasant with his son. They argue – a straight path through the mountains is deadly, you have to go around! But Brand does not want to listen to them. He shames the peasant for cowardice – the one who dies at his death, she waits for him, and the father hesitates, choosing a round road. What would he give for his daughter to die peacefully? 200 thalers? All property? And what about life? If he does not agree to give his life, all other victims do not count. All or nothing! Such is the ideal rejected by compatriots who are mired in compromises!

Brand breaks out of the hands of the peasant, and walks through the mountains. As if by magic, the clouds are scattered, and Brand sees the young lovers – they

too are in a hurry to the fjord. Recently, Agnes and Einar have decided to unite their lives, they enjoy love, music, art, communication with friends. Their enthusiasm does not cause sympathy. In his opinion, life in Norway is not so good. Everywhere passivity and cowardice are soaring. People lost the integrity of nature, their God now looks like a bald-eyed old man with glasses, condescendingly looking at laziness, lies and opportunism. Brand, a theologian by education, believes in another God – a young and energetic, punishing for lack of will. The main thing for him is the emergence of a new man, a strong and strong-willed personality, who rejects deals with his conscience.

Einar finally finds out in Brande a comrade of school years. The straightforwardness and fervor of his reasoning act repulsively – in Branda’s theories there is no place for simple-hearted joy or charity, on the contrary, he convicts them as a relaxing person of the beginning. They meet on different paths – they will see later on the shore of the fjord, from where they will continue their journey on the steamer.


far from the village of Branda, another meeting awaits – with the insane Gerd, the girl pursued by the obsession about the terrible hawk that lies around her everywhere; She finds salvation from him only in the mountains on the glacier – in a place that she calls a “snow church”. The village below Gerd does not like: there, according to her, “stuffy and crowded.” After parting with her, Brand sums up the road impressions: for a new man he will have to fight with three “trolls” – tautness, frivolity and nonsense.

After many years of absence, everything in the village seems small to Brand. The inhabitants he finds in trouble: in the village – hunger. The local administrator distributes the products to the needy. Coming to the audience, Brand, as always, expresses an unusual opinion: the situation of the hungry is not so bad – they will have to fight for survival, not a deadly spirit idleness. The villagers almost hit him for mocking their misfortune, but Brand proves that he has the moral right to treat others downwardly – only he is called to help a dying man who did not endure the sight of his hungry children and killed a younger son in a fit of insanity, and then, realizing, that he had done, he tried to put his hands on himself and now lies at death in his house on the other side of the fjord. Get there no risk no one – in the fjord raging storm. Only Agnes dares to help Brand when ferrying. She is amazed by the strength of his character, and she, despite Einar’s calls to return to him or at least to his parents, decides to share fate with Brand. Local residents, also convinced of the firmness of his spirit, ask Brand to become their priest.

But Brand makes very high demands on them. His favorite motto is “all or nothing” is as uncompromising as the famous Latin proverb: “Let the world perish, but justice will triumph.” A new priest convicts even his old mother – for her prudence and money-grubbing. He refuses to give her a sacrament, until she repents and gives to the poor the property acquired by her and so beloved. Being at death, the mother sends her son several times: she asks him to come, promising first to distribute half, then – nine tenths of everything that she owns. But Brand does not agree. He suffers, but can not go against his convictions.

He is no less exacting to himself. In the house under the rock, where they lived with Agnes for three years, the sun rarely sights, and their son imperceptibly withers. The doctor advises: in order to save Alpha, you must immediately move to another locality. About that, to remain, can not go and speeches. And Brand is ready to leave. “Maybe you should not be too strict with other Brand?” the doctor asks him. About duty reminds Brand and one of his parishioners: people in the village now live by other, more honest rules, they do not believe the intriguer-Vogt, spreading rumors that Brand will leave immediately as soon as he receives the inheritance of his mother. Brand needs people, and he, taking an unbearably difficult decision, Agnes agrees with him.

Alf died. Woe to Agnes immensely, she constantly feels the lack of a son. The only thing that she has left is the child’s things and toys. Suddenly, a gypsy who burst into the pastoral house demands that Agnes share her wealth with her. And Brand orders to give things Alpha – all to one! Once saw the child Agnes and Brand, the insane Gerd said: “Alf – an idol!” His and Agnes’s grief Brand considers idolatry. In fact, do they not revel in their grief and find in it a perverted pleasure? Agnes reconciles with the will of her husband and gives away the last children’s cap hidden behind her. Now she has nothing left but her husband. She does not find consolation in the faith – it’s with Lord Brand too much, faith in him requires more and more new victims, and the church below in the village is cramped.

Brand clings to an accidentally dropped word. He will build a new, spacious and high church worthy of the new man he preaches. Vogt hinders him in every possible way, he has his own plans of a more utilitarian nature, besides, he is against the demolition of the old church, which he considers a cultural monument. Learning that to build Brand is going to own money, Vogt changes his mind: he in every way praises the courage of the Brand enterprise, and from now on the old church is considered dangerous for visits.

A few more years pass. The new church is built, but by this time Agnes is no longer alive, and the ceremony of consecration of the church of inspiration from Brand does not cause. When an important church official starts talking to him about the cooperation of the church and the state and promises him rewards and honors, Brand has nothing but disgust. He closes the building on the castle, and the gathered parishioners are carried away to the mountains – a campaign for a new ideal: their temple will henceforth be the entire earthly world! Ideals, however, even when they are precisely formulated, are always abstract, while the achievement of them is always concrete. On the second day of the march, the parishioners of Branda slept, tired, hungry and desperate. Therefore, they easily let themselves be deceived by the Vogt, informing them that huge fringes of herring have entered their fjord. The former supporters of Brand instantly convince themselves that they are deceived, and – quite logically – they beat him with stones. Well, complains Brand, such are the fickle Norwegians – quite recently they swore that they would help their Danes in a war with Prussia threatening them, but they deceived them shamefully!

Remaining alone in the mountains, Brand continues his journey. The invisible chorus inspires him with the thought of the futility of human aspirations and the futility of arguing with the Devil or with God. Brand yearns for Agnes and Alpha, and then fate presents him another test. Brandu is the vision of Agnes: she comforts him – there are no serious reasons for despair, everything is fine again, she is with him, Alf grew up and became a healthy young man, in their place in the village there is also their little old church. Trials, through which he passed Brand, he was only glimpsed in a terrible nightmare. It is enough to abandon three words that hate her, Agnes, and the nightmare will disperse. Brand endures the test, he will not betray either his ideals, or lived life and her sufferings. If necessary, he is ready to repeat his path.

Instead of an answer from the fog, where the vision just happened, it sounds piercing: “The world does not need – die!”

Brand is alone again. But he finds the insane Gerd, she leads Brand into the “snow church”. Here the grace of charity and love finally descends upon the sufferer. But Gerd already saw on the top of the enemy – a hawk and shoots at him. An avalanche is coming. Carried away by snow Brand has time to ask the universe the last question: is the human will really just as insignificant as a grain of sand on the Lord’s powerful right hand? Through the rumble of thunder, Brand hears the Voice: “God, He is deus caritatis!” Deus caritatis means “God the Most Gracious.”

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“Brand” Ibsen in summary