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Deception Essay

1880 words - 8 pages

The two plays deal with similar issues of deception and hypocrisy present in the society and how people wear masks in order to conform to the social norms of their respective societies. Both the authors, Henrik Ibsen and Moliere have made effective use of ‘deception’ in order to bring their ideas and views through to their audience.’ Ghosts’ is a perfect example of a realistic play which attacks the hypocrisy present in the society and in its value systems. Ibsen therefore was known as the father of modern theatre. Tartuffe was written by Moliere in the age of reason. During this period writers usually wrote in a common genre which was known as the comedy of manners. As a form of satire, the genre of comedy was aimed at ridiculing human vices and follies in order to bring about a change in the society.
In ‘Ghosts’ deception is used to show the tragic dimensions of the play in order to bring forth the authors intension and purpose. Throughout the play we see different characters using the tool of deception in order to conform to the rules of the society and hide their own follies. The female protagonist of the play, Mrs. Alving is shown to wear a mask in front of the society and her own son in order to hide her husband’s true identity. She does not tell anyone the truth about her husband’s frivolous activities as in those days it was expected out of a woman to maintain her husband’s reputation in society. We get textual evidence of this in Act I when Mrs. Alving is confiding in Manders, “When Oswald was born, I thought I saw a slight improvement. But it didn’t last long. And after that I had to fight doubly hard – fight a desperate fight so that no one should know what sort of a man my child’s father was. …” Later on we discover that Mr. Alving indulged in a number of activities which were not accepted by the society such as womanising, extra marital affairs, alcohol etc he even had an affair with his maid whose product was Regina. Mrs Alving goes to the extent of constructing an orphanage in his name, so as to keep up his appearance in society and thus uses deception as a tool to do so. And in Act II we get evidence of this deceit, “ I had always before me the fear that it was impossible that the truth should come out and be believed. That is why the Orphanage is to exist, to silence all rumours and clear away all doubt.” But shortly afterwards we hear of the burning down of the orphanage. Here Ibsen has made use of great irony in order to strip the deception and bring out the truth. The orphanage was built in the memory of Mr. Alving and therefore its burning down acts as a symbol of the corrupt life which had been lead by him.
The tragedy of the burning of the orphanage was that it was not insured. The orphanage had not been insured as Manders (the priest) thought that people would not take it in the correct manner and will accuse Manders of not having enough faith in god. Mr. Manders is a priest in the local church but is very...

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