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30 review for Ghosts

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 3 out of 5 stars to Ghosts, a play written in 1881 by Henrik Ibsen. After I read Henrik Ibsens’s realistic play Ghosts, I immediately formed opinions of the characters. I liked Mrs. Alving and Regina. I thought that Oswald was a brat and a nuisance. I didn’t understand how Mrs. Alving could love him, even though he was her flesh and blood. He seemed to be nothing but a spoiled child despite being in his twenties. Mrs. Alving exemplified a woman who was angry with her late husband Book Review 3 out of 5 stars to Ghosts, a play written in 1881 by Henrik Ibsen. After I read Henrik Ibsens’s realistic play Ghosts, I immediately formed opinions of the characters. I liked Mrs. Alving and Regina. I thought that Oswald was a brat and a nuisance. I didn’t understand how Mrs. Alving could love him, even though he was her flesh and blood. He seemed to be nothing but a spoiled child despite being in his twenties. Mrs. Alving exemplified a woman who was angry with her late husband for the misdeeds he committed. She was a figurehead for the family, and thus a powerful character. Pastor Manders was definitely an exhausting character as was Engstrand. I couldn’t get a strong grip on either of them because I didn’t know who set the nursery on fire. In my mind, whichever one of them set it aflame was the evil character, and the other was the good character. It is not all that black and white though, which I didn’t find out until I watched the film version. After seeing the film version of the play Ghosts, I fell in love with the actress who portrayed Mrs. Alving. She definitely improved upon the character of Mrs. Alving that I understood when I read the play. She showed me how much of a woman she was when she flirted with Pastor Manders in the very beginning. She was played much more feminine in the film version than she was in the written script, at least in my opinion. I believe that seeing her act out the pain, show her emotions and enter into deep thought showed how human and real the character was. I did not feel this way while I was reading the script. I liked her character then, but that was only because she was losing someone that she loved. I always pity the underdog, which is what I think she is even more so in the film version. She had to fight Pastor Manders, remain strong for Oswald, deal with Engstrand, and find the ability to support Regina. She was losing in every situation of her life, and by seeing her in the play, I was able to not only understand her pain even more, but root for her. I liked her in the script version, but it was not until the video version that I could truly realize what she had to go through. The character of Engstrand was a puzzle to me. While reading the script, I didn’t like Engstrand, but I didn’t dislike him either. He just didn’t appeal to me at all. I didn’t have a picture of him in my mind either, which is odd. Normally, I can see a movie of the story in my mind as I read the script, but in this case, his appearance was vague and blurry. I had no face to match the character. Consequently, when I saw the film version, I was destined to interpret Engstrand exactly as the director of the play did. As a result, he did and he didn’t improve upon the impression that I had of him; however, I also don’t know if I liked what I saw. Engstrand appeared too rough looking, and all of the facial hair diminished the charm of the character. I thought that he was a little bit more clean-cut, but the film shows the darker side of Engstrand. I was convinced though, that it was not Engstrand who set the nursery aflame though. I felt that it was Pastor Manders, at least in the film version. Pastor Manders was another character who produced a myriad of opinions in my mind. When I read the script, he seemed to be full of passion and life. I thought that he would end up in bed with Mrs. Alving. However, in the film, he is asexual, except for the brief interlude with Mrs. Alving at the opening of the film. He came across as a priest, and only a priest, which is why he did not appeal to me. He didn’t have any “love of life” in him as Regina, Oswald, and the Captain all did. Overall, I think that the film version improved my opinions of most characters, but I ended up disliking certain characters that I hadn’t before. The film version definitely exemplifies realism more than naturalism for several reasons. One of the main reasons that makes the film version realistic instead of naturalistic is that the film version did not actually show the barn ablaze. In naturalistic pieces, directors would actually show the smoke and the burning from the barn. Also, they would have the camera focus on Oswald, who would be standing there ready to fight it. I understand that it would be hard to do in a theatre though. I am unsure about the staging of the film. Was it staged without an audience simply so that someone could just video record it? Or, was the play staged for an audience with someone in the background videotaping it. I think that it was meant only to be videotaped, in which case, it could have been done outdoors to show the barn burning. Therefore, since the burning barn was not actually shown, the film is more realistic than naturalistic. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    HA! Not having read the play's synopsis beforehand, did I ever get a ghastly (not ghostly) surprise! "The sins of the father are visited upon the children." Throughout IBSEN'S entire play, written in 1881, imagine an atmosphere that is nothing but rain and gloom, and subject matters ominously dark and grim all the way to a hopeless and shocking conclusion. That is what you will unearth in GHOSTS.What a scandalous work of fiction for the time and unexpected read for me!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    A thought-provoking and radical presentation of some thorny social issues. Shocking in the time in which it was written, this play remains relevant through the decades to the present day. A true classic!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hend

    a play about Mrs. Alving a widow,who was accused by Pastor Manders,of failing in providing enough moral guidance to her son Oswald.... MANDERS. Just as you once disowned a wife's duty, so you have since disowned a mother's. MRS. ALVING. Ah--! MANDERS. You have been all your life under the dominion of a pestilent spirit of self-will. The whole bias of your mind has been towards insubordination and lawlessness. You have never known how to endure any bond. Everything that has weighed upon you in life you h a play about Mrs. Alving a widow,who was accused by Pastor Manders,of failing in providing enough moral guidance to her son Oswald.... MANDERS. Just as you once disowned a wife's duty, so you have since disowned a mother's. MRS. ALVING. Ah--! MANDERS. You have been all your life under the dominion of a pestilent spirit of self-will. The whole bias of your mind has been towards insubordination and lawlessness. You have never known how to endure any bond. Everything that has weighed upon you in life you have cast away without care or conscience, like a burden you were free to throw off at will. It did not please you to be a wife any longer, and you left your husband. You found it troublesome to be a mother, and you sent your child forth among strangers. MRS. ALVING. Yes, that is true. I did so. MANDERS. And thus you have become a stranger to him. MRS. ALVING. No! no! I am not. after this conversation,Mrs. Alving was forced to tell the truth that she had kept hidden.that Captain Alving was an awful man who was unfaithful throughout his life.... there are many symbols in this play.... the ghosts which are MRS. ALVING thoughts....lies about the past and her fear to say the truth,that should be told.... Oswald last wish before dying is to see the sun light ,he kept crying out for the sun. which symbolize for the joy of life which he always seeks.... The fire that destroys the orphanage which she was naming after her husband name....that destroyed the whole building,and eliminated all the deception..... MANDERS. And it is to this man that you raise a memorial? MRS. ALVING. There you see the power of an evil conscience. MANDERS. Evil--? What do you mean? MRS. ALVING. It always seemed to me impossible but that the truth must come out and be believed. So the Orphanage was to deaden all rumours and set every doubt at rest.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bettie☯

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books The shelving, status updates and star rating constitute how I felt about this book. (hide spoiler)]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Ghosts of past misdeeds, ghosts of our former selves, sins of the father passing into the son, mothers who will do anything to protect their offspring... This is a classic Ibsen tragedy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hussam H. Aql

    Excellent quick read. Great use of symbolism, many things to think about...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Haaze

    A very dark play focusing on difficult social issues and conventions in late 19th century Norway. The play's original title in Norwegian ("Gengangere") seems more appropriate than "Ghosts" since "Gengangere" refers to a spirit that returns to haunt somebody. It is a bit more sinister than the translator's choice (Ghosts) as a title. The play was not performed in Norway (where it was banned), but rather in a small venue in Chicago. Knowing this I expected some severe social criticism in the play. A very dark play focusing on difficult social issues and conventions in late 19th century Norway. The play's original title in Norwegian ("Gengangere") seems more appropriate than "Ghosts" since "Gengangere" refers to a spirit that returns to haunt somebody. It is a bit more sinister than the translator's choice (Ghosts) as a title. The play was not performed in Norway (where it was banned), but rather in a small venue in Chicago. Knowing this I expected some severe social criticism in the play. However, all the issues are severely cloaked in layers of words and insinuated rather than stated. I find it peculiar that these careful phrases led to that the play was banned. The Victorian society was certainly very good at using its imagination to read between the lines. In the modern world the issues covered in the play seem nominal. As usual I very much enjoyed Ibsen's style which is direct and filled with forebodings. He has an amazing quality to pull the reader into the center of the play and making its world real. I very much look forward to experiencing this play on stage if I get the chance. There is a good reason for him being regarded as one of Europe's greatest 19th century playwrights. PS! I came across an excellent radio version from BBC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG8YH...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sophia B

    Maybe Ibsens most important work and the most criticized at his time. He makes a world record of sorts in how many tabu-themes he can put in one single play. Ibsen is realism. But it is also full of symbolism. Ibsens plays are all puzzles, every sentence and line means something in the greater scheme and all the small details fit together perfectly and seamlessly in the end. Ibsen is humour and tragedy. Ibsen was modern and classic. Ibsen was as "greek" and "french" as he was norwegian. His play Maybe Ibsen´s most important work and the most criticized at his time. He makes a world record of sorts in how many tabu-themes he can put in one single play. Ibsen is realism. But it is also full of symbolism. Ibsen´s plays are all puzzles, every sentence and line means something in the greater scheme and all the small details fit together perfectly and seamlessly in the end. Ibsen is humour and tragedy. Ibsen was modern and classic. Ibsen was as "greek" and "french" as he was norwegian. His plays are pure beauty and a kick in the gut. Ibsen is still relevant if you are open. He is extremely relevant in other cultures, that is why his plays are played in african and arabic countries as we speak.. He was brave - he made important and innovative literature. Some say he is the most played playwright in the world, even more played than Shakespeare. You owe yourself to at least read one play :-)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anuradha

    I think this quote pretty much sums it up: "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. I think this quote pretty much sums it up: "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." Because you see, Ghosts merely isn't about the ghosts of girlfriends' past inhabiting Mrs. Alving's residence, but more about the ghosts of her own past; the ghosts that affected her relationship with her son, and the ghosts that changed her views about the world.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Biblio Curious

    Ghosts feels like a folk tale revealing the very human, fluid motivations of life & relationships. The reading experience is like watching the airy fabrics drift down onto a bed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Frankie

    “I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts… It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas… and we can never be rid of them.” (p46) The title in Norwegian is “Gengangere” which not only means “ghosts” but could also be translated as “returners” or “frequenters”. Either way, the ghost or haunting imagery serves the “sins of the fathers” theme well. Oswald is a ghost version of his father, Regina is a ghost version of “I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts… It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas… and we can never be rid of them.” (p46) The title in Norwegian is “Gengangere” which not only means “ghosts” but could also be translated as “returners” or “frequenters”. Either way, the ghost or haunting imagery serves the “sins of the fathers” theme well. Oswald is a ghost version of his father, Regina is a ghost version of Mrs Alving. In 1882 when this play was first performed, crowds were shocked and scandalized by its subject matter, regardless of how cloaked in euphemism the indecent subjects were. Present day readers may wonder what’s really going on, if not initiated into the ambiguity. In this play, if someone says a man is “dissolute” it means he is cheating on his wife consistently, with multiple partners or even prostitutes. If a doctor is mentioned, the “dissolute” person likely has contracted a venereal disease. The most important theme Ibsen employs is the oppression of women. You see it in all his plays, most famously in A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler. Mrs Alving, the only truly good and innocent character, plays a sacrificial role. Although she has little choice, she understands and accepts the other characters’ bad behavior. Unlike the female leads in many of Ibsen’s plays, Mrs Alving at least enjoys a cathartic monologue throughout the second act. She gets some semblance of revenge on the minister who had pushed her into a horrible marriage. “When you forced me under the yoke you called Duty and Obligation; when you praised 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 doctrine. I only wished 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.” (p47) Unfortunately, by the third act, Mrs Alving’s plan for redemption fails. The things she has been forced to keep hidden (her son, her husband’s estate, her unbelief) prove unpredictable. It seems the “old dead ideas” will echo on for generations. Mrs Alving has no chance against them, at least not in her lifetime. Her only consolation is that she has the choice to end it. Despite some rough edges, it is a great play. Comparable in its message to Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter but delivered in a much more brief format.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎

    3.5 stars It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave for happiness in this life. What right have we human beings to happiness? We have simply to do our duty, Mrs. Alving!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    “It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave for happiness in this life.” Till now Mrs. Alving has lived a moral live for most part; she had to struggle to live with a husband who constantly cheats on her. She kept his adulteries in secret - even sending her son away to save him. However she didn't do it because it was the right thing to do; she did it to save her reputation. 'A cowardice' she now calls it frankly, when she began to question the very roots of morality. In fact, as the “It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave for happiness in this life.” Till now Mrs. Alving has lived a moral live for most part; she had to struggle to live with a husband who constantly cheats on her. She kept his adulteries in secret - even sending her son away to save him. However she didn't do it because it was the right thing to do; she did it to save her reputation. 'A cowardice' she now calls it frankly, when she began to question the very roots of morality. In fact, as the play progress, she starts seeing her husband, now dead, as a victim of the old morality. "Oh, that perpetual law and order! I often think that is what dies all the mischief in this world of ours." She now comes to believe that her husband was just a man of free spirit who just happened to be in a wrong sort of world; a world where everything that can give one happiness had to be stolen. In fact the only person who ever gained anything from the old established order was an impostor. You shall be amazed as to how many taboos got questioned in the small play; Ibsen has to be one of most realistic writer I have even seen. Mr. Alving's actions, though he is now long dead, are not without consequences. His family would have to pay the price: “I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts…it is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant all the same, and we can never be rid of them. And these ghosts won't go anywhere. They are there to be; showing their gloomy faces forever: "And this ceaseless rain! It may go on week after week, for months together. Never to get a glimpse of the sun! I can't recollect ever having seen the sun shine all the times i've been at home.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed Abdi Osman

    Gengångare is among Henrik Ibsen best known plays and i could clearly see why. It was a subtle play with depth and it had great social commentary on Ibsens times. A scathing commentary on the double standard in gender roles,morality. Very critical on priests,church,patriarchal society that stand for the old ways. It had themes like that other than the clear ones in the story that drive foreward the story. Not as modern as plays in his times when it comes to form,layout,characters but themes wise Gengångare is among Henrik Ibsen best known plays and i could clearly see why. It was a subtle play with depth and it had great social commentary on Ibsens times. A scathing commentary on the double standard in gender roles,morality. Very critical on priests,church,patriarchal society that stand for the old ways. It had themes like that other than the clear ones in the story that drive foreward the story. Not as modern as plays in his times when it comes to form,layout,characters but themes wise he was what is called a modernist in plays. Specially since i read a Strindberg play at the same time that was a clear advocate on the 19th century views on women,religion,that old social system. Since i read it for lit class this play worked very well because it had alot to say that i could read out of. It was also a pleasure to read even if you didnt read it for lit class. I tend to read in both ways since classic literature is more than just to analyse for lit class thing for me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    S.Ach

    ….it was just like seeing ghosts before my eyes. I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts…. It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant, all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They mus ….it was just like seeing ghosts before my eyes. I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts…. It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant, all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be countless as the grains of sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the lights, all of us. Going against the established beliefs is a perennial struggle, I reckon. Different times. Different set-up. Similar struggle.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    I can see why Ibsen didn't like the title "Ghosts" used by the American translator. It misleads the reader/viewer about the content/subject of the play. There are no hauntings in the play, just the repercussions of a wasted life by Helen Alving's deceased husband resulting in the tragic conclusion. The play was very critical of Victorian society, the hypocrisy and double standards regarding women and class, and of religion. Strong criticism for the time it was written. It probably wouldn't trans I can see why Ibsen didn't like the title "Ghosts" used by the American translator. It misleads the reader/viewer about the content/subject of the play. There are no hauntings in the play, just the repercussions of a wasted life by Helen Alving's deceased husband resulting in the tragic conclusion. The play was very critical of Victorian society, the hypocrisy and double standards regarding women and class, and of religion. Strong criticism for the time it was written. It probably wouldn't translate to the modern stage very well but it was well written and a good read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Samidha Kalia

    Absolutely Phenomenal work.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Mrs. Alving: Ghosts. When I heard Regina and Oswald in there, it was just like seeing ghosts before my eyes. I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, Mr. Manders. It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant, all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creep Mrs. Alving: Ghosts. When I heard Regina and Oswald in there, it was just like seeing ghosts before my eyes. I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, Mr. Manders. It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant, all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be countless as the grains of sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the lights, all of us. These are probably the finest lines spoken in this play, and some very wonderful writing in general (both in literature and drama). Other passages of dialogue felt a bit stiff, but this could have been due to the time period or to the translation. Over all, this was a skilfully crafted three-act play, but it just was not well-suited for me. In my review of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, which I wrote earlier this year, I mentioned that I had no desire to see the play staged, though that I might be inclined to change my opinion over the passing of years. I don’t think I would change my opinion on this regarding Ghosts. Having just finished Ibsen’s Pillars of Society, a play with a happy ending (more or less), the conclusion of Ghosts could not have been for me much more the opposite, so much drearier in tone. So much of the dialogue – with its emphasis on social roles and duty, community expectations, the illusion of happy family life (which is really at the heart of so many Ibsen plays – all of the six that I have read so far deal with this) – closely mirrors that of earlier Ibsen plays, notably Pillars of Society (which came about 4 years after Ghosts) and similar themes can also be found in his later works. For one of many examples of similarities in dialogue between Ghosts and Pillars, let me point out the following: From Pillars: Mrs. Bernick: For many years I have felt that once you were mine and that I had lost you. Now I know that you never have been mine yet; but I shall win you. Bernick (folding her in his arms): Oh, Betty, you have won me. It was through Lona that I first learned really to know you. But now let Olaf come to me. And from Ghosts: Mrs. Alving: Yes, can’t I, Oswald! I could almost bless your illness, as it has driven you home to me. For I see quite well that you are not my very own yet; you must be won. Thematically, they are two very different plays, but so much of the dialogue from Pillars could almost be cut out of the work and pasted in Ghosts and vice versa. And the same goes for many of Ibsen’s plays, insomuch as he (like many writers and artists) revisited the same themes over and again. Fellini once stated “I always make the same film.” And it is true, that many artists simply deal with the same one or two themes repeatedly in their work, but they often tell the story in such a way that we don’t mind and the old themes seem new again. Stylistically Ghosts offers much – a three act structure, light and dark symbolism (which Ibsen batted around in many of his plays), and strong characters – but the plot was just so gloomy, which is saying a lot because many of Ibsen’s plays are themed with heavy issues. Here, too, Ibsen is holding up a mirror to society and asking some very tough questions, which he doesn’t attempt to answer (rightfully so, as he did not feel that was the playwright’s place to do so). Ghosts raises some important social questions and deals with themes like venereal disease that were taboo to discuss publicly in his time, but the play was just too heavy for me. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t appreciate it artistically. I did, very much (hence the four-star rating). I just don’t have any desire to see it performed or to read it again any time soon.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've been going back and forth with how to begin this review. This was not what I expected when I picked up this play, I'll be honest I expected a ghost story. But the idea of ghosts is more of an allegory of the burdened conscience of Mrs. Helene Alving that lurks around her home and occupies her mind. The play starts out introducing Regina and her father Jacob Engstrand. Regina is the maidservant of Mrs. Helene Alving, whose husband has recently died. There is to be a memorial in Captain Alving' I've been going back and forth with how to begin this review. This was not what I expected when I picked up this play, I'll be honest I expected a ghost story. But the idea of ghosts is more of an allegory of the burdened conscience of Mrs. Helene Alving that lurks around her home and occupies her mind. The play starts out introducing Regina and her father Jacob Engstrand. Regina is the maidservant of Mrs. Helene Alving, whose husband has recently died. There is to be a memorial in Captain Alving's honor and the household is expecting Pastor Manders for a visit. When the Pastor comes, however, more than just the memorial is brought up. In fact very little is said about the memorial, but a wealth of family secrets comes to the surface when Mrs. Alving pops off. The bones of it is this: Captain Alving was a debaucher; drinking, smoking, and banging girls until way past his bedtime. He is survived only by his wife and his son, Oswald --OR SO THE PASTOR THINKS. Like I said, Good Ol Cappy Alving was a cheating bastard and shagged the maidservant before Regina and wouldn't you know it, it was Regina's own mother. So, indeed, Oswald and Regina are half brother & sister. This is where this all gets hairy because of course the two aren't aware of their relation and of course they are affectionate. For the most part, Oswald stays in Paris and is a fancy painter come home to Norway after his father's death, but he seems to be just as bad as his father. Not a single time will Ibsen actually say the words, but Oswald has come home with syphilis -- which is bad for him because he thinks his life is over and all hope is gone when in fact he believed it to be just starting. And, of course, Mrs. Alving would never say a bad word against her son. She is practically obsessed with him. The last parts of the play are really quite tragic. Oswald has gone off the edge and poor Mrs. Alving can't bear this. He wants to kill himself, and his mother is begging him not to. You can take a wild guess at what comes of Oswald in the end. All in all: Depraved husband + A maidservant half-daughter + The son who she is so unhealthily attached to = The ghosts haunting Mrs. Helene Alving. -- I can't say I was over thrilled by this play. It was good indeed and reflects a lot on Ibsen as a person and as a writer. I've also watched the adaptation with Judy Dench and Michael Gambon and it wasn't half bad as productions go.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The play was written by Henrik Ibsen in 1881. Helen Alving is about to dedicate an orphanage in the memory of her deceased husband. It turns out, she doesn’t want her husband’s money, but to give it away so that her son, Osvald, doesn’t inherit it. She doesn’t want her son to have anything to do with his father. When talking with Pastor Manders, Helen reveals the darkside of her marriage, including her husband’s adultery. Despite her husband being unfaithful, she stayed with him for the sake of h The play was written by Henrik Ibsen in 1881. Helen Alving is about to dedicate an orphanage in the memory of her deceased husband. It turns out, she doesn’t want her husband’s money, but to give it away so that her son, Osvald, doesn’t inherit it. She doesn’t want her son to have anything to do with his father. When talking with Pastor Manders, Helen reveals the darkside of her marriage, including her husband’s adultery. Despite her husband being unfaithful, she stayed with him for the sake of her son, and to not be shunned by society. She does anything to prevent Osvald from becoming like his father, but, unfortunately, that is easier said than done. Osvald has returned home from Paris and seems to be bothered by something and rather down. Helen realizes that she has protected her husband’s adultery out of cowardice, not love. She realizes that she has to tell everyone, including her son about the true nature of his father. Gengångare means ”those who return” or ”revenants”, those who frequent the same place. The translated title is Ghosts, but it doesn’t mean ghosts in the traditional sense. It was written in 1881, but the theatres refused to play it, and eventually, in 1882, it was set up in Chicago. It is a commentary on society and social conventions of the time. It is always interesting to read something that has been banned or burned, because of the strong themes, obviously considered to threaten society. It was controversial in its time, with themes such as adultery, religion, incest, women’s part in marriage, syphilis and euthanasia. Perhaps, the most controversial part was the priest. He is portrayed as a hypocrite and narrow-minded person, who does anything to maintain social standards.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maan Kawas

    A great and moving play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen! The main idea of the play seems to be that “The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children”; and their deeds persecute their children from beyond the grave and as ghosts from the past! However, the play includes a number of themes, such as the various types of duty, especially, the filial duty, fear of public opinion, the importance of reputation, the importance of conforming to the social norms and values, hypocrisy, socia A great and moving play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen! The main idea of the play seems to be that “The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children”; and their deeds persecute their children from beyond the grave and as ghosts from the past! However, the play includes a number of themes, such as the various types of duty, especially, the filial duty, fear of public opinion, the importance of reputation, the importance of conforming to the social norms and values, hypocrisy, social status and social climbing, appearances vs. reality, marriage and extramarital relationships, joy of life (as a motive), and most importantly, the roles of heredity and social environment on health and illness. I loved the description of the family member’s behavior on the entire family; that is, from the family systems approach, the family forms a system that consists of a number of members, and what happens to one member in the system affects the system in its entirety. The play was a daring one, in terms of its addressing of a social taboo then, namely, the venereal disease; however, Ibsen’s style makes it an enchanting work, so realistic, in spite of the symbols included in it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mira Jundi

    It was a pleasure, reading for Ibsen. I believe Ghosts is a masterpiece of his. Tears and laughs were my companions in my way of reaching the climax. I can go on and on describing the rebellious themes, interesting plot, well-structured style, and more importantly the dramatic tension. Certainly it won't be my last reading for Ibsen or this particular play. The fifth star is for his courage to bring issues like free love relationships, criticism of the Church, and breaking free in a conservative s It was a pleasure, reading for Ibsen. I believe Ghosts is a masterpiece of his. Tears and laughs were my companions in my way of reaching the climax. I can go on and on describing the rebellious themes, interesting plot, well-structured style, and more importantly the dramatic tension. Certainly it won't be my last reading for Ibsen or this particular play. The fifth star is for his courage to bring issues like free love relationships, criticism of the Church, and breaking free in a conservative society in the late 19th century.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    "The sins of the fathers shall be visited on their children and on their children's children." Exodus 20. This horrifying work is what could be categorized in Shavian terms as a "play unpleasant." G.B. Shaw however never wrote anything half as unsettling as this late nineteenth century drama about syphilis, a hereditary STD. I read this thing over forty-five years ago and it still makes me shudder. I cannot imagine what it would take to induce me to go the theatre to see it performed.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark André

    Not his best, but still Ibsen. Thought there were a few loose ends in Act III.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I actually liked this

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ericka Clouther

    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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard Knight

    A very adult play about philandering, the consequences of said philandering, and the society that turned a blind eye to it in the name of "moral responsibility," Ghosts must have been a daring play at the time given its subject matter, as well as for its audacity to address venereal diseases. Not one of my favorite Ibsen plays since it takes awhile to get into, but a solid work, nonetheless. Great stuff.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

    MRS. ALVING: [...]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 can't get rid of them... There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light... Mrs. Helen Alving is a grieving old MRS. ALVING: [...]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 can't get rid of them... There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea. And then we are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light... Mrs. Helen Alving is a grieving old widow who is about to open an orphanage dedicated to the memory of her late husband, the great Captain Alving--a man valued by their community to have been one of its foremost citizens. A dignified memorial for a "great man," so to speak. The day before the big inaugural ceremony is to take place, Helen is visited by Pastor Manders, a dear old friend of the family, whom she has entrusted with handling the legal matters concerning the new orphanage. He finds Helen very happy and excited because her beloved son, the painter Oswald, has come back home after having spent most of his youth abroad. The good pastor also discovers a bunch of "questionable" books stacked on a table in Helen's garden-room, and on account of these books he launches an inquiry that will unearth a truth which he could not be more unprepared to learn. Because, you see, Helen has been keeping secrets (secrets, obviously, of the sinister variety), and on this fateful day, after so many decades of keeping quiet for the sake of propriety, she is finally ready to come clean to the world. Ghosts was Ibsen's most controversial and heavily criticized play during his lifetime, which should hardly come as a surprise to anybody. It is basically a compendium of controversial themes: libertinism, venereal diseases, the relative nature of morality, incest, assisted suicide. In the hands of a less competent writer, a story dealing with all the above might very well have turned out a ridiculous mess, but Ibsen masterfully uses his characters--well drawn-out and believable as genuine human beings--to contrive a situation in which one transgression can only naturally lead to the next, until the "joy of life" has vanished and all that is left is an inescapable (though self-made) living hell. "Catch-22," had this term been around in the late 19th century, might have been just as good of a title for this play as the one Ibsen went with. Basically, the characters of this play find themselves in exactly a catch-22-type situation, where their pious and moralizing society, unless it is scrutinized and--if necessary--boldly rejected, can only lead to the very evil it professes to be against. Everybody, in a sense, ends up a victim, but most of all people like poor Helen and Oswald, who have the misfortune--or is it actually a boon?--of seeing more clearly than others the true inner-workings of their world.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3: Helene Alving, a widow, is delighted that her son has returned home to Norway from his artist's life in Paris. The orphanage founded in her husband's name is about to open with the blessing of the local pastor, but there are family secrets and ghosts of the past beneath the surface of her ordered life which are about to come out to devastating effect.

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