WEEKLY WONDER: Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen (#27)

Hey everyone!

Have a mile-long TBR? Well, here we are, back with Weekly Wonder to increase it even further! If it is too much, you can always find out how to read more!

Coming back to the point, this week’s wonder is:

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GHOSTS BY HENRIK IBSEN

SO, WHAT’S UP WITH THE STORY?

Helene Alving wants to open an orphanage in the memory of her dead husband. But not because she loves him or because he was a good man but because she does not want her son to inherit anything from his father. What did her husband do that she hates him so much? However, he has inherited something from his father that is killing him without her knowledge. To complicate this even further, he has fallen in love with her maid, Regina but this interaction is not as innocent as it seems. As events unfold, Helene is forced to make a terrible choice. What will her choice be? Read the book to find out!


“It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave for happiness in this life”

“I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts…it is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be as countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us.”

“I thought you understood where I’d lost what you call my heart at the time.”

One is certainly not bound to account to everybody for what one reads and thinks within one’s own four walls.


WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT

  • This play could be the sequel to A Doll’s House if not for the ending (of A Doll’s House).
  • The original Danish title of the play is “Gjengangere” which literally translates to “those who return.” The word is not only used for ghosts but also for people who frequent certain places (like I’m a Gjengangere for my Starbucks) so the title works at multiple levels.
  • I love how Ibsen honestly deals with issues like sex, venereal disease, religion, illegitimate children, incest and euthanasia in a time when all this was taboo.
  • The ending is amazing!
  • This book defends Free Love and I personally find it very hard to find literature that does.
  • The play was so scandalous that even The Daily Telegraph criticised it but that did not stop Ibsen from trying to have it performed or selling copies.
  • The play shows a strong woman, a rare sight in plays of the time.
  • This play very elegantly shows how society invades and tries to mould an individual’s personal life to its stereotypical image.

Before I go ahead and reveal every single aspect of the play in this list, I should pack up.

Have you read it? What did you think of it? Do you plan to read it?

Let me know it all in the comments! Please use spoiler tags when necessary.

Happy Reading!

Jeannie

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