- ^ The play implies that Oswald inherited syphilis from his father. However syphilis is not genetically passed down from a parent in the genetic code, but is instead caused by a bacterium and is sexually transmitted, or congenitally transmitted to the child from the birth mother. In 2013 director Richard Eyre wrote in The Guardian, "It's often said that Ibsen misunderstood the pathology of syphilis, that he thought – as Oswald is told by his doctor in Ghosts – that it was a hereditary disease passed by father to son. It's much more probable, given that he had friends in Rome who were scientists (including the botanist JP Jacobsen, who translated Darwin into Norwegian), that he knew that the disease is passed on through sexual contact, and that pregnant women can pass it to the babies they are carrying. He knew too that it's possible for a woman to be a carrier without being aware of it, and perhaps he wants us to believe that Helene knows she is a carrier. It's a matter of interpretation." (Dr. Rank in Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House is another character who claims he inherited syphilis from his father.)
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