Characters and ghosts

  • Asbjørn Aarseth
Part of the Text and Performance book series (TEPE)


The negative reactions with which the play was met in the 1880s were mainly due to the clash between certain daring implications in the dialogue regarding the relations between the sexes and the very strict codes of decency limiting artistic expression of that time. To a modern reader the hints concerning adultery, syphilis, incest and the like do not occupy any central position in the experience of the text. It has been a commonplace in the reception of Ibsen’s modern plays, in England as far back as the days of the Fabian Society, to regard the dramatist as a social critic. In Ghosts the dramatic conflict may be perceived on many levels, but it becomes clear very early in Act I that the tension between an independently reflecting mind and the authorities setting the tone of society is an important aspect of the drama.


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© Asbjørn Aarseth 1989

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  • Asbjørn Aarseth

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