The Father of Modern Theater: Henrik Ibsen

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How far will one search for truth? Henrik Ibsen was a poet of truth; he confronted firmly held ideas not only represented in Norway, but worldwide. Ibsen incorporated radical views and elevated the principles of women and downplayed the power of man. He is deemed the “father” of modern theater and is the worlds most frequently performed dramatist after William Shakespeare. Regardless of his unpopular viewpoints, Ibsen’s dramas invigorate social movements and are applicable today. A Doll’s House embodies feministic principles; Nora’s exit from A Doll House is considered the primary representation for women and marriage issues. The Dolls House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen by Joan Templeton discusses one of Ibsen’s most profound works, A Doll House, in which the main character, Nora, rebels against the preconceived notions of society by leaving her husband and children. Templeton takes an interesting slant by suggesting Ibsen not only wrote Nora to encourage female liberation, but also wanted to reveal the calamities of modern life and how relationships are not flawless. “Little by little the topical controversy died away; what remained was the work of art, with its demand for truth in every human relation” (Templeton 28). The theme of marriage is vital in A Doll House; the breakup of a seemingly ideal, affectionate couple proves that the sanctity of marriage and the power of the husband are not absolute. Sometimes women are depicted as playthings or servants, as opposed to true companions. In the Dictionary of Literary Biography "Henrik Ibsen." Norwegian Writers the author Ed. Lanae H. Isaacson quotes Ibsen, “…but women are always judged in practical matters by men’s law as though they were not women but men,” (Isaa... ... middle of paper ... ...ing misguided, in some way was a model for the hero Ibsen wanted to be (Isaacson 7). Ibsen’s literary work was ahead of the masses, his character Dr. Stockman from An Enemy of the People declared, “ the strongest man in the world is he who stands alone,”(Isaacson 10). Ibsen was an academic pioneer who sometimes had a majority supporting him, and more often did not. Ibsen once stated, “ Everything that I have written is intimately connected with what I have lived through, even if I have not lived it myself […] none of us can escape the responsibility and the guilt of the society to which we belong”. Despite harsh critics, Ibsen continued to press forward; his dramas exude inventive and social importance within the realm of theater and literature. His work can be considered liberation from the ills of life…a catharsis not only for himself, but for humanity as well.
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