Summary of “Ghosts” by Ibsen

“Ghosts” (1881) is also one of Ibsen’s best plays. It constantly reveals some secrets, the characters are constantly discovering something new for themselves, hence the tension. The main character is a widow Fru Alving. In the town there was an opinion about her late husband Captain Alvinge as a noble, ideally decent, generous man, and of the two of them as an ideal married couple. Suddenly she tells Pastor Manders the truth about their family life, which was a “disguised abyss”. All her life she skillfully concealed that her husband was actually a debauchee and a drunk, creating a positive “image” for him.

Sometimes she had to make up his company at night, to drink with him so that he would not leave the house. She lied and turned all her life for the sake of her son, so that there would not be a stain of shame on him. And so, it seems, Fru Alving has reached the desired result: her husband has died, good fame is about him. There is nothing

to worry about. But just now she begins to doubt the correctness of her behavior.

An adult son, Oswald, a poor artist, comes from France. He turns out to be strikingly like his father – in everything, he also very much likes to drink. One day when the mother hears how he clings to the maid in the kitchen, she cried out, she thought that before her was the ghost of the late captain, who also once once molested the maid.

Then another terrible secret opens, Oswald has a serious mental illness – this is a direct result of his father’s “merry” way of life. And at the end of the play, he goes mad in front of his mother, turns into an idiot. So the son brutally pays for the sins of his father. By the way, Ibsen was sure that there is such a law in life: if punishment for sins and vices does not comprehend a person during his life, then the punishment will be overtaken by his children or grandchildren. In “Doll House” there is a secondary character Dr. Rank, who dies from an illness, the cause of which is his father’s drunkenness and debauchery. He says: “And

in any family, the same inexorable retaliation is affected in one way or another”.

Of course, Cruel Alving was cruelly punished in “Ghosts”, punished for lying. Any concealed ill-being, illness, vice will someday prove itself all the same and will strike with redoubled force. The play exposes any lie.

But this is still not the most important thing in the play. The most important thing in it is the exposure of traditional Christian morality, which requires the person to fulfill his duty first of all. Haunted Frow Alving calls obsolete ideas, ideas that no longer correspond to living life, but still control it from habit, traditionally. First of all, this is the Christian morality, which is supported by a highly moral and demanding pastor Manders, a bit like Brand. It was to him once ran a young Frow Alving, after a year of marriage with horror, learned about the vices of her husband, for whom she was issued without her desire. She loved the pastor, and he loved her, she wanted to live with him, but he severely sent her to the lawful husband with the words “your duty is to humbly bear the cross entrusted to you by a higher will.”

The pastor considers that his act is the greatest victory over himself, over the sinful desire for his own happiness. “What right do we have, people, for happiness? We must fulfill our duty.” It was he who condemned Frow Alving to a terrible existence with an unloved drinking man, he deprived her of happiness, killed her life.

Gradually, talking to Oswald, Frow Alving finds the reason why her husband began to drink. In the town there is a gloomy religious outlook. “Here people are taught to look at work as a curse and punishment for sins, and life is like a vale of sorrow, from which the sooner, the better to get rid of.” “And there (in France) people are enjoying life.” Captain Alving in his youth was a very cheerful person, for his “extraordinary cheerfulness.” There was no real way out here. ” “I’ve been taught from the childhood about the performance of duty, duties, etc. We just talked about the duty and responsibilities of my duties and duties, and I’m afraid our home has become unbearable for your father, because of my fault” . Religious harshness, moral exactitude kill the joy of life.

Fru Alving, as well as Nora, realized the need to get rid of ghosts, generally accepted religious ideas about life, to think independently and freely. “I can no longer tolerate all these bindings on the arms and legs of conventions. I want to achieve freedom.”

Thus, in this play, the opposition of morality and humanity most clearly reflected, where the author is already completely on the side of humanity.

“Wild Duck” (1884) – a play less interesting for reading, but it shows an extremely troubled life situation. The protagonist Yalmar married Guinea, a servant of a wealthy merchant, but did not know that she was the mistress of that and that their daughter was not his child. Gina hid it from Yalmar, and we can say that at the heart of this family is a hidden vice and a lie. But Gina became a good wife, and they are more or less happy. But a friend appeared, with high moral principles, which decides to reveal Yalmar the truth, believing that it is impossible to build a life on deception, like Nora and Fru Alving. As a result, Yalmar, being by nature a petty egoist, was terribly offended and angered – at Guin, a girl who was not his daughter, he offended her so that she could not stand it and committed suicide.

So high morality and the desire for truth destroyed the small, fragile happiness of these weak, ordinary people. Lying to a weak person is often necessary. You can not show people too high moral demands. Here again morality is incompatible with simple humanity. But unlike the “Ghosts” “Wild Duck” justifies a lie, which in some moments is salutary. There is no absolute law that truth is always better than lying. There is nothing absolute. Life is too diverse.

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Summary of “Ghosts” by Ibsen