Ibsen's Ghost: a Modern Tragedy Essay

1585 Words Nov 29th, 2005 7 Pages
Edith Hamilton, in the Greek Way wrote, "Isben's plays are not tragedies. Whether Isben is a realist or not, small souls are his dramatist personae, and his plays are dramas with an unhappy ending. The end of Ghosts leaves us with a sense of shuddering horror and cold anger towards a society where such things can be, and those are not tragic feelings." Although Hamilton is an exceptionally talented historical researcher, it seems as though Ghosts is indeed a tragedy, even though she assumes otherwise. Even when the play was written, people discussed what type of play it actually was. People debated how to categorize the play because it had features of different kinds of drama. For example, certain critics consider it a satire of …show more content…
Alving reveals their true connection to one another: they are brother and sister through an affair that Mr. Alving had with a servant girl. Events only worsen hereafter. Pastor Manders burns down Mrs. Alving's orphanage, to which he cleverly hides his involvement in the matter, and Oswald tragically plunges through a series of short events that one suspects will lead to his demise. The play concludes with Oswald pleading with his mother to give him pills to help him end his life. The reader is left unsure of what Mrs. Alving will do. Mrs. Alving is a supreme example of a woman who one cannot help but pity when they are presented with her life as one of grim resignation. Her life was based on a sense of duty she had to societies' expectations. She even says, "All my life I'd been taught a great deal about duty- that seemed the all important thing. Everything was reduced to a question of duty…" (Act III) When she found herself in a terrible situation involving her drunken and obscene husband, she did all she could to keep society from finding out about it. To protect her son Oswald, she sent him away at a young age to save him the embarrassment of knowing what his father was truly like. She deprived herself being around her son, and lost all chances for developing a relationship with him. She sacrificed everything but it was to no avail. Her life was

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