An Enemy of the People, The Wild Duck, Rosmersholmby Henrik Ibsen
Pub. Date: 05/28/1999
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Hurt and dismayed by the hostile reception of his play Ghosts in 1881, Ibsen published, a year later, the uncompromising An Enemy of the People. Its protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, finds himself up against an/i>/i>
These plays are all concerned with the problem of telling the truth. They also represent a decisive turning point in Ibsen's scheme of values.
Hurt and dismayed by the hostile reception of his play Ghosts in 1881, Ibsen published, a year later, the uncompromising An Enemy of the People. Its protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, finds himself up against an alliance of political hypocrisy and vested interest when he attempts to reveal that the town's public baths, its civic pride and joy, are seriously polluted. The Wild Duck (1884), which has been hailed increasingly as 'the master's masterpiece,' dramatizes the shock of growing up, in the figure of 14-year-old Hedvig Ekdal. In Rosmersholm (1886), a tour de force of constructional skill, two people of opposing temperaments and ideals clash swords; Rosmer, a clergyman of conservative and contemplative inclination, and Rebecca, who is progressive passionate, and ruthless by comparison.
Seeking to define 'nobility of character, of mind and of will,' these plays are not peopled by symbolic figures and abstract concepts, but by complex individuals pitted against, or part of, a society that Ibsen found so morally abhorrent and claustrophobically provincial that he lived in self-imposed exile for most of his writing career.
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