Ibsen 1828 - 1906 (78)

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



MRS. ALVING. Ghosts! When I heard Regina and Oswald in there, it was as though ghosts rose up before me. But I almost think we are all of us ghosts, Pastor Manders. It is not only what we have inherited from our father and mother that "walks" in us. It is all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we cannot shake them off. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sands of the sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light.
MANDERS. Aha—here we have the fruits of your reading. And pretty fruits they are, upon my word! Oh, those horrible, revolutionary, free-thinking books!
MRS. ALVING. You are mistaken, my dear Pastor. It was you yourself who set me thinking; and I thank you for it with all my heart.
MRS. ALVING. Yes—when you forced me under the yoke of what you called duty and obligation; when you lauded as right and proper what my whole soul rebelled against as something loathsome. It was then that I began to look into the seams of your doctrines. I wanted only to pick at a single knot; but when I had got that undone, the whole thing ravelled out. And then I understood that it was all machine-sewn.

Henrik Ibsen (March 20, 1828 - May 23, 1906) was a Norwegian poet and playwright, one of the pioneers of modern European theater. He was born in the small town of Skien, the second child of a wealthy family of merchants. When he was 7 years old his father went bankrupt and they were forced to move to a small cottage outside the city. The change in their lives was shocking, from prosperity and family warmth found themselves in poverty and the daily struggle for survival. His bitter father turned to alcoholism and his mother at the church. At the age of fifteen, Ipsen was forced to leave school and become a pharmacist assistant. He began to read and write in order to escape from the life of the child for the errands. At the age of 18, he had a child with a maid, who later acknowledged although he never met. From that period of time he stopped every contact with his family, probably because of his illegitimate child. He never again met his father and only once his mother. He only had contacts with one of his sisters.

In 1848-1849 he wrote poems for various revolutionary movements in Europe and in 1850 he moved to Cristiana (today Oslo) with the aim of studying in the university. He failed to the lesson of ancient Greek and arithmetic, but it took part in the life of the university for a while by helping in writing and publishing the student’s newspaper. In 1851 he moved to Bergen where he found work at the Theater as a writer, director, dramatist and producer. In 1852 he wrote the first theatrical work that he signed with his name, "St. John's Night", a romantic comedy. The following 6 years he will write 6 more plays for that theater, according to the contract he had. In 1858 he returned to Cristiana and became the artistic director of the City Theater. In the same year he married and had a son.

In 1862, the Norwegian theater closed and left him unemployed and in a difficult economic situation. Frustrated by life in Norway, he migrated to Sorrento, Italy in 1864. Two years later he published the poetry drama “Brad”, which established him as a poet. In 1871 he published a collection of poems for which he was awarded. In 1873 he completed the historical drama "Emperor and Galileo", which he considered his most important work. In 1979 he writes "The Doll House", which is causing a big scandal as it describes how the freedom of the individual is ruined by social conventions. In 1881, "Ghosts" cause shock in society as it uses the problem of an outbreak of disease to describe the moral illness that is bequeathed from one generation to another. In the following years, he continues to deal with social and ethical issues in works such as: An Enemy of the People (1882), The Wild duck (1884), Rosmersholm (1886). After leaving for 27 years abroad, mainly in Italy and Germany, he returned -famous and rich- to his country in 1895. He bought a very expensive house opposite the palace in Oslo and wrote his last work: “When the Dead Wakes Up” with the Subtitle: "A Dramatic Epilogue." In 1900 he suffered a stroke and in 1901 a second stroke left him almost paralyzed. He lived with many health problems until 1906.