Ibsen Plays Essay, Research Paper
In the plays Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, and Wild ducks by Henrik Ibsen there are many similar themes, which become evedent to the reader. A theme which is consistant though out these plays is the opposing values of the Ideal and the Real which come up in the plays.
An Enemy of the People is a story about a doctor that discovered that the town he lives in, has become a cesspool. After discovering the town s beloved bath, which is supposedly helps people get better and is the main reason the town has visitors from across the county come visit it, has become polluted with bacteria that is caused from the water pipes underground. This resulted in visitors going away from the town with Typhoid and other sicknesses. Dr. Stockmann, which is the discoverer of the pollution, tries to tell the townspeople that they need to fix the water pipes and bath. Facing a large amount of resistance from his brother the mayor, Hovstad the newspaper editor, and many of the townspeople. This results in Dr. Stockmann lashing out at the whole town for its ignorance and lies that this town is built on causing Dr. Stockmann to become an enemy of the people and being out-casted among his town that he loves. Dr. Stockmann s idealism is further illustrated at this point in the play. After he finds out that Hovstad will not print his paper he threatens to stand on street corners reading his manuscript aloud to the people. This illustrates how stubern Stockmann is and how he will go to great lengths to accomplish his goals. The purpose of this play was to show Ibsen s content toward society in knowing the truth. In the play Ibsen shows the reality of things that are built on lies and the need for people to become more scientific in their studies rather than being religious wise. Enemy of the People does a good job showing society in Europe at that time when people weren t that interested in technology and the truth. People didn t care about having rights and allowed their superior to have the say in everything. Ibsen started off this play with everybody getting along. Dr. Stockmann was on the good side of Hovstad and the rest of the media of the town. Then, Ibsen slowly in the play, shows points of Dr. Stockmann s downfall by his own daughter of not supporting him later on in the play, to his brother the mayor, perusion of the whole newspaper staff to not support Dr. Stockmann to eventually having them turn their backs on him. The final downfall was the rally that Dr. Stockmann organized which showed the ignorance of the townspeople only rallying around the officials. Dr. Stockmann lashed out at the people calling the majority as the fools, thus signaling the official end of Dr. Stockmann and proclaiming as the enemy of the people.
Oswald Alving has returned home to visit his mother on one of the occasional visits he has made since leaving home as a young boy. He was sent away to prevent him from becoming morally contaminated by his father, Captain Alving, who subsequently died of syphilis. This time, however, he intends to stay and marry the maid, Regine; he is unaware that Regine is his half-sister, sired by the profligate Captain Alving.
Parson Manders, the mother’s former lover, also visits and reprimands Mrs. Alving for not living a more conventional life and rearing her son. In the play’s climax, Oswald reveals that he, too, is suffering from syphilis and will inevitably develop dementia. To make up for the past and to prove her love, Oswald asks his mother to give him a fatal dose of morphine when signs of dementia appear. At the end of the play it is not clear what she will do.
The Wild Duck
The play wild duck also deals with the theme idealism. Gregers Werle has avoided his father, whom he detests, by spending fifteen years in the family mining concern. Gregers is so unattractive in appearance that he has givien up all hope of marrying and having a family. Instead he has become an idealist and goes about advocating and preaching a theme of truth and purity. He calls his mission the claim of the ideal. His father, Old Werle, has allegedly driven his sick wife to her death by carrying on love affairs in his own home. He had once had his serving girl, Gina, as his mistress. Arranging her marriage with Hialmar Ekdal, the son of his former partner, Werle also sets the couple up in the profession of photography. Hialmar is pleased with his marriage and believes that Gina s child is his own daughter. Lieutenant Ekdal, Werle s former partner, is now a broken old man. He does odd jobs for Werle. He is now living with Hialmar and Gina. Gregers Werle comes to Hialmar and explains the claim of the ideal and tries to make Hialmar see that his marriage is based on a lie. But rather than making Hialmar happy by understanding the true nature of his marriage, Gregers only succeeds in turning Halmar against his daughter, Hedvig. The daughter, in order to prove her love for her father who is rejecting her, takes a pistol and kills herself. The Wild Duck is a play in which reality versus idealism becomes a structural feature of the play. Each scene illustrates this dualism. First Gregers congronts his father, a realist, and accuses him of a life built on lies and deception. In the following scene, Gregers confronts Hialmar and begins to rescue his friend from a life of self-indelusion. Act III represents the antagonism between the realist Relling and young Werle, while Act IV exposes the paradox between Gregers principles and the impossibility of realizing them. In the final scene, the duality becomes rationalized with Hedvig s suicide indicating the failure of applying pure principles to inappropriate situations.