Ghosts Essay

1724 words - 7 pages

Ghosts (1881) Long EssayGhosts, written by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, is a domestic drama set in Western Norway. It follows the structure of a well-made play, a dramatic genre developed in the 19th Century in which there is a plot based on secrets which the audience has knowledge of but is not known by certain characters. In the style of the well-made play, the secrets - in Ghosts, this is the wrongdoings of Captain Alving - are revealed, and the false character is unmasked. Furthermore, the play also features the use of dramatic realism where the attention of the viewer is focused on both the social and mental complications of everyday life. In dramatic realism, characters appear as victims of institutions or forces more powerful than themselves, such as the Lutheran Protestant church in Norway, and having a focus on the regular middle-class, ordinary speech, and settings in which people of the working-class can relate to. Having an understanding of these conventions allows us, the readers, to better understand several meanings presented to us by Ibsen throughout the dialogue and the stage directions. Several of these readings include the criticism of Norway's flawed society in the 19th Century, having narrow minded beliefs, in which everything in life is held together by a sense of duty, such as the duty to one's parents; filial piety, and marital duties between man and woman. Additionally, Ibsen promotes the theme of celebrating life, having a passion for one's work, freedom of thought, going against boundaries and taking risks in order to progress. Using the conventions of a well-made play and dramatic realism, we are better able to understand and clarify these ideas that are shown in the play.A well-made play, in drama, is a genre containing a plot which has a secret known to those in the audience. Characteristics of a well-made play include a series of fluctuations in a character's fate, and a reversal and compulsory scene showing both the highest and lowest points in the events of the character and caused the reveal of secrets. Realistic drama imitates reality by using acting techniques, scenes, plots, and sets that are comparable to how they would be in reality. For example, the actors would speak like regular people, and without extreme variation in tone, the sets would feature architecture of the time, and the plot would be written in such a way that would make the viewer think that the events could take place in somebody's life. Ghosts follows both of these structures, taking place in Rosenvold, Norway, and following the life of a middle-class family, who keeps a secret from society. "The very method, the order of technique which imposes its form upon the play [Ghosts], forbids the author to appear in the speeches of his characters. My object was to make the reader feel that he was going through a piece of real experience; and nothing could more effectually prevent such an impression than the intrusion of the author's...

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