Henrik Ibsen: The Father of Modernism in Theatre
Rank, deadly pessimistic, a disease, evil to be deprecated (Bordman and Hischak 1). Who would have thought such words would be used to describe the work of the man who swept modernism into theatre? Henrik Ibsen’s life was not one to envy. The shame the surrounded his childhood and seeped into his adulthood greatly impacted his writing. Infusing his plays with highly controversial themes, which lacked the current sunny air of Victorian values which Europe held in such a high regard, which led him to make a lasting impact on theatre. However despite the depression and poverty that surrounded Ibsen’s life, as well as having his work often dubbed pessimistic and unwanted, he left an every lasting mark on theatre, by bringing modernism to the stage through his use of reality.
Henrik Ibsen’s childhood education and personal life greatly impacted his ability to write as well as the themes, which he wove into his work. Ibsen’s depression started off at a very young age due to his mothers romantic affairs prior to marriage. Because of this illegitimate children became a reoccurring theme in much of his work. Both of Ibsen’s parents also suffered from depression, and tended to be rather anti social which showed Henrik the importance of having relationships in life. Additionally poverty constantly surrounded Ibsen’s childhood. Literature often served as an escape for Ibsen, the one way he could truly hide from the ever grey cloud that was poverty and depression. Ibsen also had a great interest in painting while growing up. However, he could not pursue painting lessons because he lacked the funds, so writing became in a sense his only option (Powers 2).
The political scene in nineteenth century Europe not only inspired Henrik Ibsen with ideas of which to write, but also with common ideals to reject. During Ibsens life him home land of Norway was rejoicing after gaining independence from Sweden, and therefore being allowed to have a separate monarchy. This time of celebration influenced Ibsen’s writings, filling his works with a great sense of nationalism (Powers 1). Nineteenth century Europe was dominated by Victorian values, something all of Ibsen’s work clearly went against. Victorian values bubbled down to proper families and sexual restraint. Ibsen’s plays...