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Henrik Ibsen

Powerful Essays
In the plays Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, and Wild ducks by Henrik Ibsen there are many similar themes, which become evident to the reader. A theme, which is consistant though out these plays, is the opposing values of the Ideal and the Real. The views of the idealist versus the realists make for many duels between the two personalities.

The theme of idealism versus realism is also dealt with in the play The Wild Duck. Gregers Werle has avoided his father, whom he detests, by spending fifteen years in the family mining concern. Gregers is so unattractive in appearance that he has given up all hope of marrying and having a family. Instead he has become an idealist and goes about advocating and preaching a theme of truth and purity. He calls his mission the “claim of the ideal.” His father, Old Werle, has allegedly driven his sick wife to her death by carrying on love affairs in his own home. Once he had his serving girl, Gina, as his mistress. Arranging her marriage with Hialmar Ekdal, the son of his former partner, Werle also sets the couple up in the profession of photography. Hialmar is pleased with his marriage and believes that Gina’s child is his own daughter. Lieutenant Ekdal, Werle’s former partner, is now a broken old man. He does odd jobs for Werle. He is now living with Hialmar and Gina. Gregers Werle comes to Hialmar and explains the claim of the ideal and tries to make Hialmar see that his marriage is based on a lie. But rather than making Hialmar happy by understanding the true nature of his marriage, Gregers only succeeds in turning Halmar against his daughter, Hedvig. The daughter, in order to prove her love for her father who is rejecting her, takes a pistol and kills herself.
The Wild Duck is a play in which reality versus idealism becomes a structural feature. Each scene illustrates this dualism. First Gregers confronts his father, a realist, and accuses him of a life built on lies and deception. The conflict between Gregers and his father reveals a lot about the two. It shows that Gregers is obsessed with the truth and in changing the wrongs of the past. This is shown when he attacks his father’s ability to allow Ekdal to be found solely guilty for crimes in which both men were involved. He also attacks his father for his ulterior motives in having Hialmar and Gina married, for the death of his wife, and for his intended marriage to ...

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...appear. At the end of the play it is not clear what she will do.
The first Act of the play Ghosts had many functions. It introduces the characters, illustrates the central problem of the play, and gives the reader the essential story line. Through this Ibsen carefully forewarns his audience of the themes he will develop in later acts. The protagonist, Mrs. Alving is shown to have somewhat of a dual personality. Although she reads controversial literature she continues to conform to the wishes of the church and community. She also speaks about her husband and his reckless life and how she hid the truth from her son, Oswald. Despite her husbands acts she wishes to hide these truths by creating an orphanage in his name.
Manders, is one of the characters who can be considered somewhat of a idealist. His ideals are not so righteous as those of Dr. Stockmann or Gregers Werle, however. Unlike the previous two plays this play has the most concrete message in that it definitely shows that Manders’ idealism is wrong and can no truly be realized. Manders’ idealism results in the destruction of the four major characters in this play.
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