Ghosts

Ibsen’s Characters are Victims of Society’s Expectations

The playwright Henrik Ibsen once stated, “Do you know what we are those of us who count as pillars of society? We are society's tools, neither more nor less.” Ibsen was a great anti-idealistic writer of the mid to late nineteenth century. His plays were of a new breed, swaying away from the wholesomeness of the Victorian era, and instead attacking personal issues that he, and all those in his native Norway could relate to. This new writing style helped coin Ibsen as the father of modern drama. These modern dramas were very real, and the characters Ibsen created were in fact tools of society. Ibsen uses Halvard and Aline Solness of The Master Builder and Regine Engstrand and Mrs. Helene Alving of Ghosts to show how society’s power to conform negatively influences others. Ibsen’s characters in The Master Builder and Ghosts are victims of an idealistic society’s unrealistic expectations.

Aline Solness of The Master Builder is a character who well represents the dangers of trying to meet the expectations of an idealistic society. Aline is married to Halvard Solness, an architect also known as the Master Builder. Throughout the course of their relationship, she struggles to live for herself, instead she tries to fit the mold...

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