The Ghost Sonata

The Ghost Sonata Imagery

The House

The Colonel's house is described in great detail in the opening stage directions. Strindberg paints a picture of a lavish and wealthy home, with various fancy rooms, but a slightly mysterious aura. He describes the ways that the audience can see certain parts of each room, while other parts are obscured. This mirrors the ways that truths and plot points are not always clear in the course of the play.


The Colonel's wife is the Mummy in the play. The image of a woman who was so beautiful that she was carved into a statue later becoming mummified is a haunting one. She is described as "white and shriveled," a horrifying symbol of beauty lost after the ravages of time.

The Isle of the Dead

The Island of the Dead, a painting by Arnold Bocklin, is used at the very end of the play. The imagery creates the idea that death has come and there is nothing left, as it has isolated the family as well as the Student from the world of the living. The stage direction reads, "Bocklin's picture The Island of the Dead is seen in the distance, and from the island comes music, soft, sweet, and melancholy." The painting itself depicts a rocky island, with a grove of trees on it, like something out of a myth. It has the uncanny, beautiful, and haunting qualities of Strindberg's ghostly play.

Hyacinth Room

The Colonel's daughter spends all her time in the Hyacinth Room, a beautiful room filled with hyacinths, as well as a statue of Buddha. The stage direction tells us that "the general effect of the room is exotic and oriental." It is a beautiful room that serves as a kind of respite from the horrors of the rest of the house. Yet, as we soon learn from the Girl, it has many defects.