Ghosts Themes

Ghosts Themes

The Degenerative Effects of Deception

The central theme lying at the heart of the narrative of Ghosts is the long-term effect of keeping secrets and concealing truths. The epicenter of this theme is Mrs. Alving’s lifelong attempt to construct a myth about the true nature of her husband, the Captain, through a tapestry of lies deception. Those lies in the name of keeping the real truth a secret results eventually perpetuates itself to the point of natural reproduction that is passed like a virus to the next generation, thus linking symbolically with the syphilitic strain that has the same degenerative effect. The indulgence and support of the strategy of deception engaged by Mrs. Alvin by Pastor Manders eventually even infects him when he becomes victim a far less complex example precisely because he has allowed his immunity for detecting lies to weaken and leave him vulnerable to attack.

The Ghosts of Duty

It seems like every character has at least one speech about the importance of duty. All this attention to carrying out the duties that is expected of one leaves very little time for carrying out the duties expected from yourself. This contraction of time put aside to pursue selfish pleasures has the invariably obstructs the ability to achieve self-awareness. The person that results from these circumstances is a living ghost: a being without form or structure; insubstantial and indistinct.

Generational Degeneration

Otherwise known as the sins of the father. In the case of Oswald, this is both literally and figuratively true. Oswald’s collapse into moral dissolution that reflects the bad choices previously made by his father have nothing to do with the transmission of the syphilis virus. The genetic strain is really the symbol here as Oswald is really infected by generational immorality. This theme is manifested in a pervasiveness sense through Regina’s maternal duplications and the Pastor’s almost paranoid fear of the potential for radicalism to infect traditional views on morality and values. The extrapolation of this theme offers an explanation for why some families just seem genetically predisposed to a lack of moral character.

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