counter create hit Four Great Plays: Ghosts / The Wild Duck / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Four Great Plays: Ghosts / The Wild Duck / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House

Availability: Ready to download

Here, in a single volume, are four major plays by the first modern playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Ghosts - the startling portrayal of a family destroyed by disease and infidelity. The Wild Duck - A poignant drama of lost illusions. An Enemy Of The People - Ibsen's vigorous attack on public opinion. And A Doll's House - the play that scandalized the Victorian world with its unsp Here, in a single volume, are four major plays by the first modern playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Ghosts - the startling portrayal of a family destroyed by disease and infidelity. The Wild Duck - A poignant drama of lost illusions. An Enemy Of The People - Ibsen's vigorous attack on public opinion. And A Doll's House - the play that scandalized the Victorian world with its unsparing views of love and marriage, featuring one of the most controversial heroines - and one of the most famous exits - in the literature of the stage. ,p>Although Ibsen outraged many of his contemporaries, he persisted: he shocked the unthinking into thinking and blasted through the thick fog of convention to the restless human passions hidden underneath. Today his plays remain masterpieces of psychological insight and theatrical power.


Compare

Here, in a single volume, are four major plays by the first modern playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Ghosts - the startling portrayal of a family destroyed by disease and infidelity. The Wild Duck - A poignant drama of lost illusions. An Enemy Of The People - Ibsen's vigorous attack on public opinion. And A Doll's House - the play that scandalized the Victorian world with its unsp Here, in a single volume, are four major plays by the first modern playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Ghosts - the startling portrayal of a family destroyed by disease and infidelity. The Wild Duck - A poignant drama of lost illusions. An Enemy Of The People - Ibsen's vigorous attack on public opinion. And A Doll's House - the play that scandalized the Victorian world with its unsparing views of love and marriage, featuring one of the most controversial heroines - and one of the most famous exits - in the literature of the stage. ,p>Although Ibsen outraged many of his contemporaries, he persisted: he shocked the unthinking into thinking and blasted through the thick fog of convention to the restless human passions hidden underneath. Today his plays remain masterpieces of psychological insight and theatrical power.

30 review for Four Great Plays: Ghosts / The Wild Duck / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    HELMER. Hello, my sweet! My little squirrel, my little turtledove! NORA. Will you cut it out? HELMER. Cut it out? Why? What’s the matter? NORA. This is hardly the time or the place. HELMER. In the bosom of my own home, with my lovely darling wife? NORA. You are mistaken. We are not at home. HELMER (looks around). Oh my God, you're right! Nora, where are we? NORA. We’re in a review. HELMER. A review, but… does that mean…? NORA. Yes; some second-rate hack on the internet is writing us now. HELMER. Just my l HELMER. Hello, my sweet! My little squirrel, my little turtledove! NORA. Will you cut it out? HELMER. Cut it out? Why? What’s the matter? NORA. This is hardly the time or the place. HELMER. In the bosom of my own home, with my lovely darling wife? NORA. You are mistaken. We are not at home. HELMER (looks around). Oh my God, you're right! Nora, where are we? NORA. We’re in a review. HELMER. A review, but… does that mean…? NORA. Yes; some second-rate hack on the internet is writing us now. HELMER. Just my luck! Oh, why does this always happen to me? First I’m passed up for a promotion; and now this! NORA. Stop whining; we have a job to do. HELMER. What, pray? NORA. To review the book, of course. HELMER. You mean, the collection of Ibsen’s plays? NORA. What else? HELMER. But I don’t want to. NORA. You don’t have a choice. HELMER (irritated). Can’t a man choose for himself anymore? NORA. Not when he’s fictional. HELMER (stamping his feet). This is intolerable! I won’t stand it! NORA. Oh, come, come. Real people don’t get to choose, either. They’re just as subject to outside forces as we are. So don’t be upset. HELMER. Alright, I suppose you’re right. I’d just feel better if I could see the children. Do you happen to know where they are? NORA. They don’t exist in this universe. HELMER (almost falling down). What? Don’t exist?! What happened? NORA. They never existed. We exist in a blank white room created by the reviewer. He has decided to omit our children, which is just as well, if you ask me. HELMER. I need a drink. Did the reviewer include those? NORA (pulling out a wine bottle). As a matter of fact… HELMER. Thank God! (They poor themselves a drink, clink their glasses, and swig it down.) HELMER. That’s much better. So, er, you said we have a job to do? NORA. That’s right. We have to discuss Ibsen’s plays. HELMER. Well, how am I supposed to do that? Ibsen is my father, after all—and yours too, if you don’t mind my saying so. NORA. Quite so; nonetheless, we must. I’ll go first. I think Ibsen’s plays… HELMER. What’s this business with reviews, anyway? It seems to be such a ridiculous custom. NORA. But isn’t it nice to have conversations about books? HELMER. Very occasionally. But so often it’s just egotism and nonsense. Yes, that’s right, egotism and nonsense. Consider this review right here. Somebody sitting at a laptop is, at this very moment, writing a review of one of the greatest dramatists of all time. And who is he? A nobody! The arrogance! NORA. But, criticism has such a long and noble tradition… HELMER. Hmph! Long and noble tradition my tuckus! That's all nonsense. And wasn’t this Ibsen’s whole point? Wasn't his goal to question society’s assumptions and to critique its values and traditions? NORA. I suppose… HELMER. So if we are to be true to the spirit of Ibsen, I contest that we must flout the tradition of reviewing. Yes, that’s the only way. We must take part in a vicious critique in the culture of Goodreads. That’s what Ibsen would have done. NORA. But how would we do that? HELMER (smiling). Like this. (He walks to the door, opens it, and walks outside.) NORA. Helmer, you can’t! HELMER. Ah, Nora, don’t you see? It has to be so! (With a resounding thud, the door slams shut.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erica Clou

    Ghosts- Lots of amazing lines, especially, "It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave for happiness in this life." But it leaves everything a depressing mess... just like real life I guess. The Wild Duck- Oh boy, Ibsen is dark. This one was too dark for me- everyone is the worst. An Enemy of the People- Unless I'm missing something deeper, it appears to just be about the ugliness of politics. The locals don't seem to understand the science of the local baths making people sick and Ghosts- Lots of amazing lines, especially, "It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave for happiness in this life." But it leaves everything a depressing mess... just like real life I guess. The Wild Duck- Oh boy, Ibsen is dark. This one was too dark for me- everyone is the worst. An Enemy of the People- Unless I'm missing something deeper, it appears to just be about the ugliness of politics. The locals don't seem to understand the science of the local baths making people sick and they are so involved in their own power struggles that they don't care. We see this frequently in American politics. I still didn't connect to this play that well. Perhaps it was my particular translation that made the language or scenes seem somewhat awkward, but I didn't enjoy it. A Doll's House- The actual plot in the story is a little overwrought, but I like the characters, their experiences, and Nora's moment of realization. I'm also impressed with such early feminist perspectives.

  3. 5 out of 5

    BarbaraW

    Four thoughtful plays. If you haven’t tried reading plays- I recommend it. Something different. Ibsen was way ahead of his time. These were written in the late 1800s but seem much more modern. The book’s editor talks about ‘drama of ideas’ and Ibsen certainly spun some heads with his new ideas about society’s closed mindedness at that time. He startles the viewer at every turn. Brilliantly written although if I were the director-much dialogue would be deleted!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yair Ben-Zvi

    I had tried reading this collection of Ibsen plays years ago and found myself bored to near literal death. But I returned to it just recently with a, hopefully, more open mind. In a sense I’m glad, but in another it’s just a bit humbling and scarring. Ibsen depicts more or less normal people in his day and age destroyed by their societies values, and adherence to communal norms beyond logic, reason, and all but the most extreme tips of human compassion. And unlike many modern writers who seem to I had tried reading this collection of Ibsen plays years ago and found myself bored to near literal death. But I returned to it just recently with a, hopefully, more open mind. In a sense I’m glad, but in another it’s just a bit humbling and scarring. Ibsen depicts more or less normal people in his day and age destroyed by their societies values, and adherence to communal norms beyond logic, reason, and all but the most extreme tips of human compassion. And unlike many modern writers who seem to favor the oblique and obscure (wanting to say it all, plus nothing, plus everything else), Ibsen lays it bare with simple (at times too simple) dialogue and stories of real people involved in real small town actions. A warning, these plays are not uppers. I read them and was amazed at the ingenuity employed by Ibsen, but also more than a bit downcast afterwards from the too believable depictions of human ignorance and willingness to hide in the mass societal at the cost of compassion, dignity, and sometimes just common sense.

  5. 5 out of 5

    M. J.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ibsen is one of those names you cannot help hearing in school, but despite having taken more than my share of literature and drama courses (for someone not majoring in the field) I knew nothing specific about him. This book addresses that reasonably well, as it contains a fair synopsis of his place in the literary world plus four plays written consecutively at what seems to have been the peak of his career. Of course, because it is four plays it is a collection, and that makes it more difficult Ibsen is one of those names you cannot help hearing in school, but despite having taken more than my share of literature and drama courses (for someone not majoring in the field) I knew nothing specific about him. This book addresses that reasonably well, as it contains a fair synopsis of his place in the literary world plus four plays written consecutively at what seems to have been the peak of his career. Of course, because it is four plays it is a collection, and that makes it more difficult to assess fairly, as all collections are uneven. I find myself wondering whether the format of introducing each play before the text was beneficial or detrimental. It is of course difficult to follow a discussion of a play with which you are not yet familiar, and impossible to present such a discussion without spoilers. I am inclined to think it would have been better to have a briefer introduction, perhaps providing the date of the play and any information relevant to the time of its release, and then having a postscript after it examining the aspects of the story that are worth noting. Ibsen is apparently considered the first "modern" playwright, having shifted the genre to stories about ordinary people living in ordinary situations, and examining character and morality in a more relativistic way. None of his characters are exactly good and none are exactly bad, the situations are at least awkward and certainly morally challenging. The resolutions are bound to be dissatisfying on some level, simply because the problems are complex--too complex for simple solutions. The first, A Doll's House, focuses on a woman, a housewife, who some time before the opening of the play had found herself in the difficult situation that her husband was sick and the doctor told her that he needed a rest, such as a Mediterranean vacation. To finance this, she forges a note from her dying father as a guarantor of a loan to her, and is now in the final stages of paying off that loan. She talks about how it was the right thing to do even though it was illegal, because she did it for the love of her husband. However, circumstances change such that someone at the bank blackmails her and when she cannot do what he demands he informs her husband, and suddenly the housewife finds that the man she loves is not at all sympathetic. To him, her illegal conduct makes her entirely untrustworthy; but then as circumstances change again he also changes his mind. She is left with the conclusion that her marriage is based on a lie. In this story, I felt that I was watching some melodramatic movie on a women's channel. Everyone in it is wrong in some way, but the woman herself proves the least forgiving. The end left me unhappy--but I think it was probably not possible to provide a better ending without significantly lengthening the story. Ghosts similarly focuses on a woman, a recent widow building an orphanage to the memory of her recently deceased husband, and the vicar who had been a counselor to her for many years. We find that the husband was an immoral cheat, and that the legacy of the vicar's counsel that the wife stay with him is that her son, whom she has kept far from the family at distant schools so he would not be around the father, is suffering the symptoms of a venereal disease contracted at birth, and wants to marry the maid he does not know is his half sister. In the end everything crashes, and we have the impression that it is all bad primarily because of the vicar's emphasis on the wife staying with her husband. It ultimately is conveying the message that traditional morality, as encouraged in that time, is a road to disaster. In An Enemy of the People, the protagonist is a man, a doctor who is a younger brother in an upper class family. He had encouraged the town to build public baths, but now has determined that because they took shortcuts on the water supply the baths are contaminated and spreading disease. He wants the town to make the necessary repairs, but his brother the mayor does not want to finance these. Gradually the hero gets caught in the wheels of politics, as he first gains and then loses the support of various factions until his insistence that something has to be done about the effluent in the water supply is silenced and he and his family are attacked. The message seems to be that anyone who stands for an inconvenient truth will be ostracized and will fail to achieve anything. Finally, The Wild Duck is a more complicated story in which there are several lines, but they focus on a half dozen people. The story is very complicated, but focuses on one person who believes that everyone is happier if he knows the whole truth about his situation, and further believes that the daughter of his best friend is actually the daughter of his own father, who arranged and encouraged the marriage of this friend to a pregnant mistress and then poured money into getting them into their own business. The tension is such that the daughter perceives that she is going to lose her father, and does not understand why, and the meddler gives her dubious advice for fixing it. A peripheral character makes the story's point: most people are better off believing the illusions and lies of their lives rather than knowing the truth. Let's face it, people are fallen and broken. Most of us ignore our own flaws and faults while harping on those of others around us. Ibsen's view is pessimistic and tragic, suggesting that because we are imperfect we should not strive for ideals but should settle for falsehoods and illusions. The stories were well done, but I did not much enjoy them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cristina

    I only read A Doll's House I only read A Doll's House

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Ward

    Four Great Plays by Henrik Ibsen ( Bantam Dell 1959) (839.8). This was my introduction to Henrik Ibsen, noted Norweigan playwright and poet, who is remembered as one of the founders of Modernism in theater. He wrote in the late nineteenth century, and he penned his plays in Danish. The four plays compiled in this volume are “A Doll's House,” “Ghosts,” “An Enemy of the People,” and “The Wild Duck.” These plays were later translated into English in Great Britain, which leads to an interesting note Four Great Plays by Henrik Ibsen ( Bantam Dell 1959) (839.8). This was my introduction to Henrik Ibsen, noted Norweigan playwright and poet, who is remembered as one of the founders of Modernism in theater. He wrote in the late nineteenth century, and he penned his plays in Danish. The four plays compiled in this volume are “A Doll's House,” “Ghosts,” “An Enemy of the People,” and “The Wild Duck.” These plays were later translated into English in Great Britain, which leads to an interesting note about the title of the play “A Doll's House.” The title does not refer to the protagonist as being a doll; rather, the British term “doll's house” refers to what we Americans call a “dollhouse.” Thus it appears that Ibsen was not offering a double-entendre in the title; Ibsen was just referring to a toy. Each of these plays offers cutting-edge social criticism of late nineteenth century. In two of these plays, an antagonist is convinced that “The truth shall set you free.” But when the characters are forced by the antagonists' actions to confront the truth about their own lives and circumstances, the households become unbalanced, and chaos erupts. In “A Doll's House,” dutiful wife and mother Nora has been treated as a porcelain doll all of her life by first her father and later her husband. They adore her and dote on her endlessly - just as Nora had felt about her own dollies growing up. But when circumstances force Nora to offer up an enormous sacrifice to preserve the family honor, she realizes that her life has been an empty prison. The denouement is simply stunning. Likewise, in “The Wild Duck,” an old acquaintance is determined to force various members of a family to forgo the comfortable “life lies” that humans tell themselves in order to find comfort and meaning in everyday humdrum existence. When the forced reconsideration of their own lives caused the previously happy family dynamic to crumble into ruin, the reader anticipates that only a great tragedy can end this tale. The remaining two plays follow the same bleak dramatic arc. “Ghosts” demonstrates how disease and infidelity can bring a family to ruin, and “An Enemy of the People” considers how public opinion can be easily swayed and can destroy lives and a community. Ibsen apparently was not a happy camper. He writes surpassingly well, but the storylines of all four of these plays deal with the same themes. I'll never find out whether Ibsen is truly a “one trick pony,” for this volume was enough of a sample of Ibsen to suit me. My rating: 7/10, finished 2/27/19.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Clark

    The only one of these I have ever been exposed to before was A Dolls House. I saw a very good version of it and quite enjoyed it here as well. Ibsen is a very talented writer, and I enjoy how he plays with the truth and perceptions, especially in An Enemy Of The People. I also enjoy how his plays are mostly character studies. Ghosts is ripe with irony and has a very strong anti established order feel, as does An Enemy of The People and A Dolls House. The Wild Duck is a very good study of a marri The only one of these I have ever been exposed to before was A Dolls House. I saw a very good version of it and quite enjoyed it here as well. Ibsen is a very talented writer, and I enjoy how he plays with the truth and perceptions, especially in An Enemy Of The People. I also enjoy how his plays are mostly character studies. Ghosts is ripe with irony and has a very strong anti established order feel, as does An Enemy of The People and A Dolls House. The Wild Duck is a very good study of a marriage and what lies can do, although I am not sure if Ibsen is saying there should be truth from the start of a marriage, or if there is a lie to keep it, or if regardless of lies the couple should stay together. It is a very layered play. I do like how in A Dolls House and Ghosts he shows that personal happiness is a crucial part of any happy marriage by showing what happens when personal happiness is not there. I especially like the strength of the two main characters in these stories, who are both women. An Enemy of The People and The Wild Duck both feature male main characters who are also strongly shown but these show what happens when personal happiness is the only consideration. Any of these plays could be considered tragedies, depending on how you look at things, and all of them have some silver lining as well.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jo

    Not sure how to give this a rating since it's four separate plays. I enjoyed a Doll's house the most, The Wild Duck the least, the other two I felt were good, but I also found them all to be quite similar in theme (not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation). I think I would have rather had a few different themes present, but he might only have written domestic dramas revolving around infidelity/the disintegration of the home. Much of them also ended similarly, which was interesting. Not sure how to give this a rating since it's four separate plays. I enjoyed a Doll's house the most, The Wild Duck the least, the other two I felt were good, but I also found them all to be quite similar in theme (not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation). I think I would have rather had a few different themes present, but he might only have written domestic dramas revolving around infidelity/the disintegration of the home. Much of them also ended similarly, which was interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bernard M.

    Anyone can relate to "An Enemy of the People" which might also be called the Whistle-blower. Seemed almost perfect until the speechifying. Wish he just let the action explain it all. Wish we were fed more of Ibsen in H.S. instead of Shakespeare. Anyone can relate to "An Enemy of the People" which might also be called the Whistle-blower. Seemed almost perfect until the speechifying. Wish he just let the action explain it all. Wish we were fed more of Ibsen in H.S. instead of Shakespeare.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Bobbitt

    These are enjoyable plays, but I don't need a hard copy to enjoy them. These are enjoyable plays, but I don't need a hard copy to enjoy them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Breen

    "The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone." - Dr. Thomas Stockmann, AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE "I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, Mr. Manders." - Mrs. Alving, GHOSTS "The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone." - Dr. Thomas Stockmann, AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE "I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, Mr. Manders." - Mrs. Alving, GHOSTS

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nevena

    Wonderful!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Realini

    Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen Ibsen and happiness Ghosts can be positive and negative. There’s a Hollywood movie called Ghost, I believe, where in the lead role we have Patrick Swayze, who plays a very decent and…loving ghost. Ibsen being rather dark, the Ghosts we’re dealing with here are negative. This reminds me of an excellent French comedy Le goût des autres. At one point, this group of sophisticated intellectuals and actors was laughing at an industrialist, who knowing nothing about Ibsen was caugh Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen Ibsen and happiness Ghosts can be positive and negative. There’s a Hollywood movie called Ghost, I believe, where in the lead role we have Patrick Swayze, who plays a very decent and…loving ghost. Ibsen being rather dark, the Ghosts we’re dealing with here are negative. This reminds me of an excellent French comedy Le goût des autres. At one point, this group of sophisticated intellectuals and actors was laughing at an industrialist, who knowing nothing about Ibsen was caught in offsaid, mumbling about comedies and aspects that have nothing in common with Ibsen- that the actors played in the film. The Ghosts are the prejudices that still hold the society back. They are also bad memories. A Ghost is even the Oswald Alving-son of the heroine- Helen Alving. In Oswald, Mrs. Alving sees some of the philandering of her husband. In Norwegian, the word for ghosts is also used to signify people who keep showing up in the same place. Which makes the Somerset Maugham’s commentary even more accurate for this play, if not for the whole of Ibsen’s work. I am reading with great pleasure The Summing Up. Maugham is a great favorite of mine, and in The Summing Up he refers to Ibsen and his success, which was largely do to the „right”moment for his plays. Women’s rights are a subject of the plays and Ibsen comes at the exact moment when the subjecct is hot. Somerset Maugham does not seem to be exhilarated by Ibsen. On the contrary, Maugham dismesses the plot and the summary of these plays, more or less in these words: - “There is not much going on in the plays of Ibsen. - In every one of them, there is a character coming from the outside. - The atmosphere is like in a stuffy room, and this arriving character opens the window - And so everything changes” Maugham seems to be right in the case of Ghosts, at least. - The very title makes reference to “Gjengangere” –those who keep coming back - Oswald Alving returns from Paris and his travels to “exotique”places - In Oswald, the ghost of his father seems to return, by displaying Captain Alving’s habits Captain Alving’s was philandering and he had an illegitimate daughter with a servant- Regina Engstrand. The moeurs of the time are brought into question. And here a pastor- Manders is involved in voicing the view of the Church, or the bible. Even if, to complicate matters, the Pastor has a romantic role as well. Helen Alving abandons her husband for a while, because of his repeated infidelities and tries to find solace with…the Pastor. The problem is that she seems to fall in love with him. The pastor does not guess anything, but continues to preach to the depressed woman and encourages her to do the “right „thing and go back to her husband. Today we have a different view on the matter: if things do not work out, there is divorce, which is definitely better than a union which produces only sorrow. Indeed, psychological studies have revealed that - Married people are much better off than separated individuals - Those are married live longer, happier, meaningful lives - But the reverse of the medal is also important: - Man and women who are stuck in a terrible relationship are in - The Worst possible scenario! A constant fight has terrible consequences Helen Alving is exactly a case in point. She had to suffer and even witness her husband’s infidelities right under her nose, in their own house. As an ironic twist of fate, Mrs. Alving is erecting a monument to…Captain Alving’s memory, thereby exorcising somewhat the Ghosts haunting her mind. But the morale is- have a good marriage if you are blessed with it, but if your relationship is going all downhill, Run for your life. I am running for now…

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael Sanchez

    The classics are the classics for a reason, it turns out. These are super great plays that should still be read and taught today, and I'm happy to finally have them under my belt. The classics are the classics for a reason, it turns out. These are super great plays that should still be read and taught today, and I'm happy to finally have them under my belt.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ci

    I roughly summarize these four plays as “be wary of truth: the discovery, the revealing, and the handling of it may make or break lives and spirits”. Before reading this book, I thought that the truth is nearly the absolute “good”, while illusions the absolute “bad”. The romantics talk about “truth” and “beauty”, yet this is that “truth” in the realm of subjective experience, largely in the aesthetic and philosophic realm. Here in Ibsen’s plays, the “truth” is bone-dry factual data points, which I roughly summarize these four plays as “be wary of truth: the discovery, the revealing, and the handling of it may make or break lives and spirits”. Before reading this book, I thought that the truth is nearly the absolute “good”, while illusions the absolute “bad”. The romantics talk about “truth” and “beauty”, yet this is that “truth” in the realm of subjective experience, largely in the aesthetic and philosophic realm. Here in Ibsen’s plays, the “truth” is bone-dry factual data points, which makes these plays surprisingly poignant. How can one dispute the value of “factual truth”? Shouldn’t human lives being better off living in the world of such “factual truth”? Factual truth can be harmful and ruinous, particularly in the hands of the egotistical and the vainglorious. Only the strong in self-command can survive and thrive in truth. The first one is Nora in “A Doll’s House”. Much is written about this play in the theme of gender equality in marriage, but I am struck by the un-generalized epiphanic moment — the sheer terror of a day and half remade Nora from an ostensibly coquettish and fluttery woman into someone who was suddenly in possession of her selfhood. The playwright provided a couple of convenient false exits that would have returned her to her old world, but she walked into the cold, shorn of all the protection of a bourgeoisie wifehood. Can she survive and thrive afterwards? She will have her test yet; Doll’s House is just Act I. In Ghost, Mrs Alving made a different margin with her marriage. She took in the conventional approach, born the burden and shame, kept the appearances, in hope such duty-bounded sternness is the higher ground. Here, middle-brow religiosity is in full play, with a good dollop of naive sentiments. Even though Mrs. Alving laughing at Pastor Mander’s gullibility, she herself was perhaps persuaded both by Mander’s religious lecturing as well as her feeling toward him. Mrs. Alving did not run away from the “truth” of her marriage, she did her best to cope with both her husband and arranged the life of her son (and Regina, her maid and perhaps ward). But the truth runs its course and left ruins along the way. The factual truth is perhaps best exhibited in the “An Enemy of the People”. I have met various reincarnations of Dr. Stockmann in my working experience — the particularly potent combination of analytical intelligence, moral righteousness, political naiveté and deficiency in empathy — which run amok in real life. The last play is the touching and profound understanding of what one should do with factual truth. “Wild Duck” tells us a story about feelings — a fragile non-being, like the goodwill and affection between husband and wife, between a parent and a child. Of it is a broken and imperfect thing (the lame duck, the half-blind girl), piteous and sorrowful, but a source of warmth and life. Such feelings may be founded in non-factual truth, yet they are perhaps much more important for the sustainability of human lives that the dry factual truth. The fallacy of those who have a messianic intent on “demand of ideals” is the blindness to the fact that common human lives often can survive without the veil of delusion and half-truth.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    I did not think I was going to like Ibsen. Before reading this collection I had seen A Doll's House and I found the ending really problematic, and that experience colored my expectations for Ibsen. But I was really pleased with Ghosts and An Enemy of the People, which I think are excellent plays. I still have a problem with the end of A Doll's House, mostly because I feel like Nora critiques Torvald for things she has encouraged him to do throughout the play (e.g., she refers to herself using his I did not think I was going to like Ibsen. Before reading this collection I had seen A Doll's House and I found the ending really problematic, and that experience colored my expectations for Ibsen. But I was really pleased with Ghosts and An Enemy of the People, which I think are excellent plays. I still have a problem with the end of A Doll's House, mostly because I feel like Nora critiques Torvald for things she has encouraged him to do throughout the play (e.g., she refers to herself using his animal rhetoric), so it seems to me like she has encouraged him to treat her a certain way and then suddenly is mad at him for having treated her that way. Now I understand that he was probably inclined to treat her like a child/pet before, but her behavior seems like it encouraged him. Reading the play I found her condemnation a bit more convincing because I read with the emphasis on his refusal to take the blame for her illegal actions, although this is also a somewhat problematic critique on her part, based more on romance novels than a real practical set of expectations. But I really enjoyed Ghosts and An Enemy of the People. If I were going to teach one of these plays I would definitely choose Ghosts, which was my favorite. I feel Mrs. Alving is a more coherent and reliable lead character than Nora, and I find the social critique more devastating and less problematic.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    A Norwegian student visiting our grad school for the year was the motivation for reading these plays. John Gassner's introduction was incredibly helpful in achieving the right frame of reference for delving into Ibsen and his exposure and call for the truth behind Victorian Society's veil. The character development got better with each play as his writing style (or perhaps bitterness) matured, and it was always fun to see how each particular vendetta was developed. I don't read plays often so th A Norwegian student visiting our grad school for the year was the motivation for reading these plays. John Gassner's introduction was incredibly helpful in achieving the right frame of reference for delving into Ibsen and his exposure and call for the truth behind Victorian Society's veil. The character development got better with each play as his writing style (or perhaps bitterness) matured, and it was always fun to see how each particular vendetta was developed. I don't read plays often so this was also a fun jaunt into that realm. I particularly enjoyed trying to put myself in the audience 130 years ago and imagining why these plays were so shocking at first. I definitely think that these ancillary relics from an era can be better at portraying a culture's true mindset than an actual history book. Looking forward to hopefully attending an Ibsen play in the future. Maybe one in Norwegian in Norway? Wouldn't understand a word, but having previously read it in English it would still be fun to see one performed in its native language.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    I don't know how I made it through 4 years of undergrad in a theatre program without ever having to read "A Doll's House." I'd always heard the reference to the most shocking exit in modern playwrighting, but I can now place it in its true context. Nora is a bit cloying, what with her whole performing squirrell routine, but she's got cajones. I orginially got this collection for an acting class. I was assigned the scene in "An Enemy of the People" when Petra stands up to Hovstad about the book h I don't know how I made it through 4 years of undergrad in a theatre program without ever having to read "A Doll's House." I'd always heard the reference to the most shocking exit in modern playwrighting, but I can now place it in its true context. Nora is a bit cloying, what with her whole performing squirrell routine, but she's got cajones. I orginially got this collection for an acting class. I was assigned the scene in "An Enemy of the People" when Petra stands up to Hovstad about the book he needs translating and ultimately shames him for failing to stand behind a cause. It's a great political play with some feisty characters. An unexpected find. "The Wild Duck" is my least favorite. A family of photographers are keeping a wild duck in their attic, which is I'm sure is another bird-in-a-cage metaphor. The pace is very slow compared to the other plays in the collection. But, three out of four ain't bad.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Moitreyee Mitra

    My collection includes John Gabriel Borkman instead of The Wild Duck. Nonetheless, poignant is a word that describes this play too. Quite a pessimist look at the redundancy of a generation trying to retain its hold on the next, finding meaning and validation through them, and the eventual breaking away by the youngsters to find themselves, not necessarily out of spite, but that's nature. Ghosts, much in the same strain, with some comic relief. Doll's House, a commentary on marriage, role of each My collection includes John Gabriel Borkman instead of The Wild Duck. Nonetheless, poignant is a word that describes this play too. Quite a pessimist look at the redundancy of a generation trying to retain its hold on the next, finding meaning and validation through them, and the eventual breaking away by the youngsters to find themselves, not necessarily out of spite, but that's nature. Ghosts, much in the same strain, with some comic relief. Doll's House, a commentary on marriage, role of each partner in a relationship, could have been written yesterday. Enemy of the people, which inspired Satyajit Ray to make into the film Ganashatru, looking at all that the society wishes to look away from, the hypocrisy and corruption to which all parties buy in. Using science, perhaps with the understanding that science should tell it as it is. Norway has also given the world Steig Larsson, I'd rather associate their literature with Ibsen.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dr.J.G.

    Ibsen wrote his plays when society was hidebound conservative and some things were given - and his plays, his thinking was like a lightening bolt. With such lightening bolts - there were others, from time to time - was light thrown on the dark state of the society and the rot at its foundation. Several great writers were influenced by Ibsen, amongst them George Bernard Shaw, who was a self described admirer and follower, a strong desciple, of Ibsen, a member of the Fabian Society in England - a Ibsen wrote his plays when society was hidebound conservative and some things were given - and his plays, his thinking was like a lightening bolt. With such lightening bolts - there were others, from time to time - was light thrown on the dark state of the society and the rot at its foundation. Several great writers were influenced by Ibsen, amongst them George Bernard Shaw, who was a self described admirer and follower, a strong desciple, of Ibsen, a member of the Fabian Society in England - a group of like minded people. It was famously said, that when Nora slams the door it resounded across all of Europe. It might be thought the plays are out of date and today we have gone ahead, and there is some truth in that. And yet the plays are very relevant.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. We read this in my AP Lit class, and I actually liked it. Some of the characters were really annoying, like Torvald. Oh my gosh, he was so patronizing and condescending and annoying. But, personally, I think Nora is kind of a boss. At least in the end. I liked the ending where she actually decided to grow a spine and get up and leave Torvald. And he deserved it. He certainly didn't deserve her. So, yeah, I liked the ending for the most part. I feel sorry for the kids, for not having thier Mom, b We read this in my AP Lit class, and I actually liked it. Some of the characters were really annoying, like Torvald. Oh my gosh, he was so patronizing and condescending and annoying. But, personally, I think Nora is kind of a boss. At least in the end. I liked the ending where she actually decided to grow a spine and get up and leave Torvald. And he deserved it. He certainly didn't deserve her. So, yeah, I liked the ending for the most part. I feel sorry for the kids, for not having thier Mom, but they might be better off anyway. I certainly wouldn't have read this on my own, but reading it in class with people reading the characters' parts was fun, and made the play much more enjoyable.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jed L

    While tame in today's society, A Doll's House was one of the first plays to address feminist issues. Ibsen masterfully sets up a plot that allows the reader/viewer of the play to begin to understand what it was like for women in the 1800's and see how difficult it was for them to become independent. This is a great read with characters that are likable are well developed. It is much better than other feminist books I have read from the same or later time frames such as Madame Bovary and The Heid While tame in today's society, A Doll's House was one of the first plays to address feminist issues. Ibsen masterfully sets up a plot that allows the reader/viewer of the play to begin to understand what it was like for women in the 1800's and see how difficult it was for them to become independent. This is a great read with characters that are likable are well developed. It is much better than other feminist books I have read from the same or later time frames such as Madame Bovary and The Heidi Chronicles.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I first read Ibsen in high school with Hedda Gabler. The plays in this collection are also full of Ibsen's witty and ironic commentary on society and its traditional values, which makes for a fun read. Nora in a doll's house presents a transformation from common to strong independent. The story of Mrs. Alving in Ghosts exposes the hypocrisy of Manders and going by the book. The Wild duck brings to light the illusions we live by and the harm that can be caused by meddlers. As for this particular I first read Ibsen in high school with Hedda Gabler. The plays in this collection are also full of Ibsen's witty and ironic commentary on society and its traditional values, which makes for a fun read. Nora in a doll's house presents a transformation from common to strong independent. The story of Mrs. Alving in Ghosts exposes the hypocrisy of Manders and going by the book. The Wild duck brings to light the illusions we live by and the harm that can be caused by meddlers. As for this particular version, the introductions by John Gassner are very well written and enlightening.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Klawitter

    Character quotes: "I don't imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over." --from An Enemy Of The People. "Oh, law and order! I often think it is that that is at the bottom of all the misery of the world." --from Ghosts. "One certainly is not called upon to account to every one for what one reads or thinks in the privacy of one's own room." ---Ghosts. "Lately I have been taking stock of my internal economy. Bankrupt! Character quotes: "I don't imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over." --from An Enemy Of The People. "Oh, law and order! I often think it is that that is at the bottom of all the misery of the world." --from Ghosts. "One certainly is not called upon to account to every one for what one reads or thinks in the privacy of one's own room." ---Ghosts. "Lately I have been taking stock of my internal economy. Bankrupt!" ---A Doll's House.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Martha Schmitz

    As I mentioned in another review of Ibsen, his works don't age that well. This play specifically I remember as quite groundbreaking for me, but going back to it 10 years later it feels less satisfying. However, I'm sure the message of female empowerment was really revolutionary for the time, and it's probably a good sign that the message feels quite obvious in this day and age. As I mentioned in another review of Ibsen, his works don't age that well. This play specifically I remember as quite groundbreaking for me, but going back to it 10 years later it feels less satisfying. However, I'm sure the message of female empowerment was really revolutionary for the time, and it's probably a good sign that the message feels quite obvious in this day and age.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I'm not normally one to read plays, but after our recent trip to Oslo, I wanted to read some from this Norwegian. Ibsen was known for his outspoken social commentaries in his writing and I certainly enjoyed how that came through in these plays! I'm not normally one to read plays, but after our recent trip to Oslo, I wanted to read some from this Norwegian. Ibsen was known for his outspoken social commentaries in his writing and I certainly enjoyed how that came through in these plays!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ramnik

    We read A Doll's House & An Enemy of the People, but all of Ibsen's plays seem very interesting. He has a way of making his point in a very clear way so that anyone can understand it. It's deep and yet not hard to find at all. We read A Doll's House & An Enemy of the People, but all of Ibsen's plays seem very interesting. He has a way of making his point in a very clear way so that anyone can understand it. It's deep and yet not hard to find at all.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julie Bowerman

    The world literature classes really enjoyed Ghosts and then read another play of their choice. Ghosts and Enemy of the People are my favorites. The Wild Duck was slow in the first half. Syphilis is a popular topic for discussion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tortla

    I haven't read all of em. They're rather boring. But kind of good in a weird way. I haven't read all of em. They're rather boring. But kind of good in a weird way.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.