Strindberg’s “Sonata of the Ghosts” in brief

Strindberg’s “Sonata of the Ghosts” in brief

The old man is sitting in the wheelchair next to the billboard. He sees the Student talking to the Milkmaid and telling her that on the eve of rescuing people from the rubble of the collapsed building. The old man hears the Student’s words, but does not see the Milkmaid, for she is a vision. The old man talks to the Student and finds out that the son of the merchant Arkenholtz. The student knows from the deceased father that the Old Man – the director Hummel – ruined their family. The old man claims the opposite – he rescued the merchant Arkenholtz from trouble, and he robbed him for seventeen thousand crowns. The old man does not require this money from the Student, but he wants the young man to provide him with small services. He tells the student to go to the theater

for the Valkyrie. In the neighboring places will sit the Colonel and his daughter who live in a house that the Student really likes. The student will be able to get to know him and be in this house. The student looks at the daughter of the Colonel, who in fact is the daughter of the Old Man: once the Old Man seduced the wife of Colonel Amalia. Now the old man has conceived to give out the daughter in marriage to the Student. The student says that he was born in a shirt. The old man assumes that this gives him the opportunity to see what others do not see. The student himself does not know what is happening to him, for example, on the eve he was pulled into a quiet alley, and soon there the house collapsed. The student picked up the child walking along the wall, when the house collapsed. The student remained intact and unharmed, but he had no child in his arms. The old man takes the Student’s hand by the hand – the young man feels his ice hand, and turns away in horror. The old man asks the student not to leave him: he is so endlessly lonely. He says he wants to make the Student happy. Appears servant Old Man Johanson. He hates his master: Once the Old Man rescued him from prison and for this he made his slave. Johanson explains to the Student that the Old Man is eager to rule: “The whole day he drives around in
his gurney, like the god Thor… examines the houses, demolishes them, paves the streets, pushes the squares, but he breaks into houses, climbs into the windows, rules the fates of people, kills enemies and forgives nothing for anyone. ” The old man is afraid of only one thing: the Hamburg girl-milkmaid.

The house is waiting for the guests at home. Johanson is hired to help Colonel Bengtson’s servant meet them. Bengtson announces to Johanson that the so-called “ghost dinners” are regularly held in their house. For twenty years, the same company is going to, they say the same thing or are silent, not to say something out of place. The hostess of the house sits in a pantry, she imagined herself a parrot and became like a talkative bird, she does not tolerate cripples, sick, even her own daughter, because she is ill. Johanson is amazed: he did not know that Freken is sick.

On a visit to the Colonel is the Old Man on crutches and tells Bengtson to report himself to the master. Benggson comes out. Left alone, the Old Man looks around the room and sees the statue of Amalia, but then she enters the room herself and asks the Old Man why he came. The old man came for the sake of his daughter. It turns out that everyone lies around – the Colonel has a false metric testimony, Amalia herself once forged her birth year. The Colonel took the bride from the old man, and the Old Man in retaliation seduced his wife. Amalie predicts to the Old Man that he will die in this room, behind the Japanese screens that are called mortals in the house and set when someone is about to die. Amalia says that people regularly gather in their house, who hate each other, but they connect sin, guilt and secrecy with inseparable ties.

The old man is talking to the Colonel. The old man bought all his bills and considers himself entitled to dispose of in his house. The old man wants the Colonel to accept him as a guest, besides, he demands that the Colonel expel his old servant Bengtson. The colonel says that although all his property now belongs to the Old Man, the noble’s coat of arms and good name can not be taken from him. In response to these words, the Old Man takes out of his pocket an extract from the nobleman’s book, where it is said that the genus to which the Colonel supposedly belongs, was extinguished a hundred years ago. Furthermore. The old man proves that the Colonel is not even a colonel at all, because after the war in Cuba and the transformation of the army all the old ranks are abolished. The old man knows the secret of the Colonel – this is a former servant.

The guests come. They sit silently in a circle, except for the Student, who passes into the room with hyacinths, where the Colonel’s daughter is sitting. Whenever she is at home, she is in this room, she’s so strange. The old man says that he entered this house to tear up the tares, to reveal sin, to sum up and enable young people to start life anew in this house, which he gives them. He says that everyone present knows who they are. And who he is, they also know, although they pretend not to know. And everyone knows that Freken is really his daughter. She faded in this air, full of deceit, sin and falsehood. The old man found for her a noble friend – the Student – and wants her to be happy with him. He tells everyone to disperse when the clock strikes. But Amalia comes to the clock and stops the pendulum. She says, that it can stop the running of time and turn the past into nothing, what was done – in an act that was not done, and not by threats, not by bribery, but by suffering and repentance. She says that for all their sinfulness, those present are better than they seem, because they repent of their sins, while the Old Man, who ranks as judge, is worse than all of them. He once smothered Amalia with false promises, he entangled the Student with his father’s fictitious duty, although in fact he did not owe the Old Man a single era… Amalia suspects that Bengtson knows the truth about the Old Man – that’s why the Old Man wanted him to get rid of. Amalia rings the bell. A small Milkmaid appears in the doorway, but no one but the Old Man can see it. The horror was frozen in the old man’s eyes. Bengtson talks about the old man’s misdeeds, he tells how the Old Man, who was at the time a usurer in Hamburg, tried to drown the thrush girl, because she knew too much about him. Amalie locks the Old Man in the pantry, where she stayed for many years and where there is a lace, quite suitable to hang on it. Amalia orders Benggson to block the door to the storeroom with mortal Japanese screens.

Freken in the room with the hyacinths plays the Student on the harp. On the fireplace there is a big Buddha holding the hyacinth root on his knees, which symbolizes the earth; the stem of the hyacinth, straight as the earth’s axis, rushes upwards and is crowned with star-like flowers about six rays. The student tells Freken that the Buddha is waiting for the earth to become the sky. The student wants to know why Freken’s parents do not talk to each other. She replies that the Colonel and his wife have nothing to talk about, because they do not believe each other. “Why talk, if we can not deceive each other?” – says Colonel, freken complains about the cook, who runs everything in the house. She is from the vampire family of Hummel, and the masters can not either drive her away or make contact with her. This cook is a punishment for their sins, she feeds them so that they wither and die. In addition to her, there is also a maid in the house, behind which Freken has to clean up without end. The student says Freken that he dreams of marrying her. “Never, I will not be yours!” – she answers, but does not explain the reasons for her refusal. The student is surprised at how much secrets are in their house. He sees that if people were completely frank, the world would collapse. A few days ago, the student was in the church at the funeral of the director Hummel, his imaginary benefactor. At the head of the coffin stood a friend of the deceased, a respectable elderly gentleman. And then the Student learned that this elderly friend of the deceased was burning with a passion for his son, the deceased borrowed from his son’s admirer. A day after the funeral, the pastor was arrested, whose heartfelt speech at the coffin so touched the Student: it turned out that he had robbed the church cashier. The student says that his father died in a madhouse. He was healthy, just once he could not restrain himself and told the guests gathered at his house all that he thought about them, explained to them how they were lying. For this he was taken to a madhouse, and there he died. The student remembers how the Colonel’s house seemed to him a paradise, but it turned out that he, too, is permeated with lies. The student knows that freken refused him because he was sick and was always sick. “Jesus Christ descended into hell, the descent into hell was his descent to earth, the land of madmen, criminals and corpses, and fools killed him when he wanted to save them, and they let the robber go, the robbers always love! Woe to us! Save us.” The Savior of the World, we are dying! ” Freken falls, pale as chalk. She tells Bengtoon to bring screens: he brings screens and puts them, blocking the girl. The harp sounds. The student prays the heavenly Father to be merciful to the deceased. just once he could not restrain himself and told the guests gathered in his house all that he thought about them, explained to them how they were lying. For this he was taken to a madhouse, and there he died. The student remembers how the Colonel’s house seemed to him a paradise, but it turned out that he, too, is permeated with lies. The student knows that freken refused him because he was sick and was always sick. “Jesus Christ descended into hell, the descent into hell was his descent to earth, the land of madmen, criminals and corpses, and fools killed him when he wanted to save them, and they let the robber go, the robbers always love! Woe to us! Save us.” The Savior of the World, we are dying! ” Freken falls, pale as chalk. She tells Bengtoon to bring screens: he brings screens and puts them, blocking the girl. The harp sounds. The student prays the heavenly Father to be merciful to the deceased. just once he could not restrain himself and told the guests gathered in his house all that he thought about them, explained to them how they were lying. For this he was taken to a madhouse, and there he died. The student remembers how the Colonel’s house seemed to him a paradise, but it turned out that he, too, is permeated with lies. The student knows that freken refused him because he was sick and was always sick. “Jesus Christ descended into hell, the descent into hell was his descent to earth, the land of madmen, criminals and corpses, and fools killed him when he wanted to save them, and they let the robber go, the robbers always love! Woe to us! Save us.” The Savior of the World, we are dying! ” Freken falls, pale as chalk. She tells Bengtoon to bring screens: he brings screens and puts them, blocking the girl. The harp sounds. The student prays the heavenly Father to be merciful to the deceased.


Strindberg’s “Sonata of the Ghosts” in brief