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Henrik Ibsen

Ibsen in 1900
Born Henrik Johan Ibsen
20 March 1828(1828-03-20)
Skien, Norway
Died 23 May 1906 (aged 78)
Christiania (Oslo), Norway
Occupation Playwright, poet, theatre director
Nationality Norwegian
Genres Naturalism
Notable work(s) Peer Gynt (1867)
A Doll's House (1879)
Ghosts (1881)
The Wild Duck (1884)
Hedda Gabler (1890)

Henrik Ibsen (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈhɛnɾɪk ˈɪpsən]; 20 March 1828 – 23 May 1906) was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the god father" of modern drama and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre.[1] His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian values of family life and propriety largely held sway in Europe. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind many facades, possessing a revelatory nature that was disquieting to many contemporaries. It utilized a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. Ibsen is often ranked as one of the truly great playwrights in the European tradition, alongside Shakespeare.


Family and youth

Ibsen was born to Knud Ibsen and Marichen Altenburg, a relatively well-to-do merchant family, in the small port town of Skien, Norway, which was primarily noted for shipping timber. He was a descendant of some of the oldest and most distinguished families of Norway, including the Paus family. Ibsen later pointed out his distinguished ancestors and relatives in a letter to critic and scholar Georg Brandes. Shortly after his birth his family's fortunes took a significant turn for the worse. His mother turned to religion for solace, and his father began to suffer from severe depression. The characters in his plays often mirror his parents, and his themes often deal with issues of financial difficulty as well as moral conflicts stemming from dark secrets hidden from society.[citation needed]

At fifteen, Ibsen left home. He moved to the small town of Grimstad to become an apprentice pharmacist and began writing plays. In 1846, when Ibsen was age 18, a liaison with a servant produced an illegitimate child, whom he later rejected. While Ibsen did pay some child support for fourteen years, he never met his illegitimate son, who ended up poor and miserable. Ibsen went to Christiania (later renamed Oslo) intending to matriculate at the university. He soon rejected the idea (his earlier attempts at entering university were blocked as he did not pass all his entrance exams), preferring to commit himself to writing. His first play, the tragedy Catiline (1850), was published under the pseudonym "Brynjolf Bjarme", when he was only 22, but it was not performed. His first play to be staged, The Burial Mound (1850), received little attention. Still, Ibsen was determined to be a playwright, although the numerous plays he wrote in the following years remained unsuccessful.[citation needed] Ibsen's main inspiration in the early period, right up to Peer Gynt, is apparently Norwegian author Henrik Wergeland and the Norwegian folk tales as collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. In Ibsen's youth, Wergeland was the most acclaimed, and by far the most read Norwegian poet and playwright.

Life and writings

He spent the next several years employed at Det norske Theater (Bergen), where he was involved in the production of more than 145 plays as a writer, director, and producer. During this period he did not publish any new plays of his own. Despite Ibsen's failure to achieve success as a playwright, he gained a great deal of practical experience at the Norwegian Theater, experience that was to prove valuable when he continued writing.[citation needed]

Ibsen returned to Christiania in 1858 to become the creative director of the Christiania Theatre. He married Suzannah Thoresen the same year and she gave birth to their only child, a son, Sigurd in 1859. The couple lived in very poor financial circumstances and Ibsen became very disenchanted with life in Norway. In 1864, he left Christiania and went to Sorrento in Italy in self-imposed exile. He was not to return to his native land for the next 27 years, and when he returned it was as a noted, but controversial, playwright.[citation needed]

His next play, Brand (1865), was to bring him the critical acclaim he sought, along with a measure of financial success, as was the following play, Peer Gynt (1867), to which Edvard Grieg famously composed incidental music and songs. Although Ibsen read excerpts of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and traces of the latter's influence are evident in Brand, it was not until after Brand that Ibsen came to take Kierkegaard seriously. Initially annoyed with his friend Georg Brandes for comparing Brand to Kierkegaard, Ibsen nevertheless read Either/Or and Fear and Trembling. Ibsen's next play Peer Gynt was consciously informed by Kierkegaard.[2][3]

With success, Ibsen became more confident and began to introduce more and more of his own beliefs and judgments into the drama, exploring what he termed the "drama of ideas". His next series of plays are often considered his Golden Age, when he entered the height of his power and influence, becoming the center of dramatic controversy across Europe.[citation needed]

Ibsen photographed in Dresden ca. 1870.

Ibsen moved from Italy to Dresden, Germany in 1868, where he spent years writing the play he regarded as his main work, Emperor and Galilean (1873), dramatizing the life and times of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate. Although Ibsen himself always looked back on this play as the cornerstone of his entire works, very few shared his opinion, and his next works would be much more acclaimed. Ibsen moved to Munich in 1875 and published A Doll's House in 1879. The play is a scathing criticism of the acceptance of traditional roles of men and women in Victorian marriage.[citation needed]

Ghosts followed in 1881, another scathing commentary on Victorian morality, in which a widow reveals to her pastor that she had hidden the evils of her marriage for its duration. The pastor had advised her to marry her fiancé despite his philandering, and she did so in the belief that her love would reform him. But his philandering continued right up until his death, and his vices are passed on to their son in the form of syphilis. The mention of venereal disease alone was scandalous, but to show how it could poison a respectable family was considered intolerable.[citation needed]

In An Enemy of the People (1882), Ibsen went even further. In earlier plays, controversial elements were important and even pivotal components of the action, but they were on the small scale of individual households. In An Enemy, controversy became the primary focus, and the antagonist was the entire community. One primary message of the play is that the individual, who stands alone, is more often "right" than the mass of people, who are portrayed as ignorant and sheeplike. The Victorian belief was that the community was a noble institution that could be trusted, a notion Ibsen challenged. In An Enemy of the People, Ibsen chastised not only the right wing or 'Victorian' elements of society, but also the liberalism of the time. He illustrated how people on both sides of the social spectrum could be equally self-serving. An Enemy of the People was written as a response to the people who had rejected his previous work, Ghosts. The plot of the play is a veiled look at the way people reacted to the plot of Ghosts. The protagonist is a physician in a vacation spot whose primary draw is a public bath. The doctor discovers that the water is contaminated by the local tannery. He expects to be acclaimed for saving the town from the nightmare of infecting visitors with disease, but instead he is declared an 'enemy of the people' by the locals, who band against him and even throw stones through his windows. The play ends with his complete ostracism. It is obvious to the reader that disaster is in store for the town as well as for the doctor.[citation needed]

As audiences by now expected of him, his next play again attacked entrenched beliefs and assumptions; but this time, his attack was not against the Victorians, but against overeager reformers and their idealism. Always the iconoclast, Ibsen was equally willing to tear down the ideologies of any part of the political spectrum, including his own.[citation needed]

The Wild Duck (1884) is by many considered Ibsen's finest work, and it is certainly the most complex. It tells the story of Gregers Werle, a young man who returns to his hometown after an extended exile and is reunited with his boyhood friend Hjalmar Ekdal. Over the course of the play the many secrets that lie behind the Ekdals' apparently happy home are revealed to Gregers, who insists on pursuing the absolute truth, or the "Summons of the Ideal". Among these truths: Gregers' father impregnated his servant Gina, then married her off to Hjalmar to legitimize the child. Another man has been disgraced and imprisoned for a crime the elder Werle committed. Furthermore, while Hjalmar spends his days working on a wholly imaginary "invention", his wife is earning the household income.[citation needed]

Ibsen displays masterful use of irony: despite his dogmatic insistence on truth, Gregers never says what he thinks but only insinuates, and is never understood until the play reaches its climax. Gregers hammers away at Hjalmar through innuendo and coded phrases until he realizes the truth; Gina's daughter, Hedvig, is not his child. Blinded by Gregers' insistence on absolute truth, he disavows the child. Seeing the damage he has wrought, Gregers determines to repair things, and suggests to Hedvig that she sacrifice the wild duck, her wounded pet, to prove her love for Hjalmar. Hedvig, alone among the characters, recognizes that Gregers always speaks in code, and looking for the deeper meaning in the first important statement Gregers makes which does not contain one, kills herself rather than the duck in order to prove her love for him in the ultimate act of self-sacrifice. Only too late do Hjalmar and Gregers realize that the absolute truth of the "ideal" is sometimes too much for the human heart to bear.[citation needed]

Letter from Ibsen to his English reviewer and translator Edmund Gosse: "30.8.[18]99. Dear Mr. Gosse! It was to me a hearty joy to receive your letter. So I will finally personal meet you and your wife. I am at home every day in the morning until 1 o'clock. I am happy and surprised of your excellent Norwegian! Yours friendly obliged Henrik Ibsen."

Interestingly, late in his career Ibsen turned to a more introspective drama that had much less to do with denunciations of Victorian morality. In such later plays as Hedda Gabler (1890) and The Master Builder (1892), Ibsen explored psychological conflicts that transcended a simple rejection of Victorian conventions. Many modern readers, who might regard anti-Victorian didacticism as dated, simplistic, and even clichéd, have found these later works to be of absorbing interest for their hard-edged, objective consideration of interpersonal confrontation. Hedda Gabler and The Master Builder center on female protagonists whose almost demonic energy proves both attractive and destructive for those around them. Hedda Gabler is probably Ibsen's most performed play, with the title role regarded as one of the most challenging and rewarding for an actress even in the present day. Hedda has a few similarities with the character of Nora in A Doll's House, but many of today's audiences and theater critics feel that Hedda's intensity and drive are much more complex and much less comfortably explained than what they view as rather routine feminism on the part of Nora.[citation needed]

Ibsen had completely rewritten the rules of drama with a realism which was to be adopted by Chekhov and others and which we see in the theater to this day. From Ibsen forward, challenging assumptions and directly speaking about issues has been considered one of the factors that makes a play art rather than entertainment. Ibsen returned to Norway in 1891, but it was in many ways not the Norway he had left. Indeed, he had played a major role in the changes that had happened across society. The Victorian Age was on its last legs, to be replaced by the rise of Modernism not only in the theater, but across public life.[citation needed]


On 23 May 1906, Ibsen died in Christiania (now Oslo) after a series of strokes. When his nurse assured a visitor that he was a little better, Ibsen sputtered "On the contrary" and then died.[4]

Ibsen was buried in Vår Frelsers gravlund ("The Graveyard of Our Savior") in central Oslo.[citation needed]


The 100th anniversary of Ibsen's death in 2006 was commemorated with an "Ibsen year" in Norway and other countries.[5][6]

On 23 May 2006, The Ibsen Museum (Oslo) reopened to the public the house where Ibsen had spent his last eleven years, completely restored with the original interior, colors, and decor.[7]


See also


  1. ^ On Ibsen's role as "father of modern drama," see "Ibsen Celebration to Spotlight 'Father of Modern Drama'". Bowdoin College. 2007-01-23. http://www.bowdoin.edu/news/events/archives/003725.shtml. Retrieved 2007-03-27. ; on Ibsen's relationship to modernism, see Moi (2006, 1-36)
  2. ^ Shapiro, Bruce. Divine Madness and the Absurd Paradox. (1990) ISBN 9780313272905
  3. ^ Downs, Brian. Ibsen: The Intellectual Background (1946)
  4. ^ Henrik Ibsen - on the contrary
  5. ^ http://www.norges-bank.no/templates/article____16310.aspx
  6. ^ http://www.norway.sk/ARKIV/Old_web/ibsen/year/gala/
  7. ^ http://www.ibsen.net/index.gan?id=11150148&subid=0


  • Boyesen, Hjalmar Hjorth A Commentary on the Works of Henrik Ibsen (New York: Macmillan, 1894)
  • Koht, Halvdan. The Life of Ibsen translated by Ruth Lima McMahon and Hanna Astrup Larsen. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, 1931.
  • Lucas, F. L. The Drama of Ibsen and Strindberg, Cassell, London, 1962. A useful introduction, giving the biographical background to each play and detailed play-by-play summaries and discussion for the theatre-goer (including the less well-known plays).
  • Ferguson, Robert. Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography. Richard Cohen Books, London, 1996.
  • Meyer, Michael. Ibsen. History Press Ltd., Stroud, 2004.
  • Moi, Toril. 2006. Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy. Oxford and New York: Oxford UP. ISBN 9780199202591.
  • Haugan, Jørgen. Henrik Ibsens Metode:Den Indre Utvikling Gjennem Ibsens Dramatikk ( Norwegian: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. 1977)

Further reading

  • Ibsen: The Complete Major Prose Plays ( Rolf G. Fjelde, translator. Plume: 1978)

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, just as you are.

Henrik Johan Ibsen (1828-03-201906-05-23) was a Norwegian playwright who was largely responsible for the rise of the modern realistic drama. It is said that Ibsen is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world after Shakespeare.



To live is to battle the demons in the heart as well as the brain. To write is to preside at judgement day over one's self.
The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom — these are the pillars of society.
  • He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic. No doubt the franchise, self-taxation, etc., are benefits — but to whom? To the citizen, not to the individual. Now, reason does not imperatively demand that the individual should be a citizen. Far from it. The State is the curse of the individual. With what is Prussia's political strength bought? With the absorption of the individual in the political and geographical idea. The waiter is the best soldier. And on the other hand, take the Jewish people, the aristocracy of the human race — how is it they have kept their place apart, their poetical halo, amid surroundings of coarse cruelty? By having no State to burden them. Had they remained in Palestine, they would long ago have lost their individuality in the process of their State's construction, like all other nations. Away with the State! I will take part in that revolution. Undermine the whole conception of a State, declare free choice and spiritual kinship to be the only all-important conditions of any union, and you will have the commencement of a liberty that is worth something. Changes in forms of government are pettifogging affairs — a degree less or a degree more, mere foolishness. The State has its root in time, and will ripe and rot in time. Greater things than it will fall — religion, for example. Neither moral conceptions nor art-forms have an eternity before them. How much are we really in duty bound to pin our faith to? Who will guarantee me that on Jupiter two and two do not make five ?
    • Letter to Georg Brandes (17 February 1871), as translated in Henrik Ibsen : Björnstjerne Björnson. Critical Studies (1899) by Georg Morris Cohen Brandes
    • Variant translation: The quality of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says: "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is a characteristic of the so-called state; and it is worthless.
      • As translated in Ibsen : The Man, His Art & His Significance (1907) by Haldane Macfall, p. 238
    • Variant translation: Neither moral concepts nor art forms can expect to live forever. How much are we obliged to hold on to? Who can guarantee that 2 plus 2 don't add up to 5 on Jupiter?
  • That power which circumstances placed in my hands, and which is an emanation of divinity, I am conscious of having used to the best of my skill. I have never wittingly wronged any one. For this campaign there were good and sufficient reasons; and if some should think that I have not fulfilled all expectations, they ought in justice to reflect that there is a mysterious power without us, which in a great measure governs the issue of human undertakings.
  • Erring soul of man — if thou wast indeed forced to err, it shall surely be accounted to thee for good on that great day when the Mighty One shall descend in the clouds to judge the living dead and the dead who are yet alive!
  • At leve er — krig med trolde
    i hjertets og hjernens hvælv.
    At digte, — det er at holde
    dommedag over sig selv.
    • To live is to battle the demons
      in the heart as well as the brain.
      To write is to preside at
      judgement day over one's self.
      • Et vers (A Verse), inscribed on the volume Poems (1877)
    • Ibsen may have written this originally in German as a dedication to a female reader. It was published in German in Deutsche Rundschau in November 1886:
Leben, das heisst bekriegen
In Herz und Hirn die Gewalten;
Und dichten; über sich selber
Den Gerichtstag halten.
  • The great secret of power is never to will to do more than you can accomplish. The great secret of action and victory is to be capable of living your life without ideals. Such is the sum of the whole world's wisdom.
    • As quoted in The Ibsen Calendar : A Quotation from the Works of Henrik Ibsen for Every Day (1913) by C. A. Arfwedson
  • I hold that man is in the right who is most closely in league with the future.
  • The great task of our time is to blow up all existing institutions — to destroy.
    • Letter of 1883, quoted in The Drama of Ibsen and Strindberg (1962) by Frank Laurence Lucas, p. 34
  • Tvertimot!
    • On the contrary!
    • His last words, in response to a nurse who said she thought he looked better than usual; as quoted in The History of World Theater : From the English Restoration to the Present‎ (1999) by Felicia Hardison Londré and Margot Berthold, p. 341

Love's Comedy (1862)

Kjærlighedens Komedie as translated by C. H. Herford (1900)
  • I thank God that in the bath of Pain
    He purged my love.
    What strong compulsion drew
    Me on I knew not, till I saw in you
    The treasure I had blindly sought in vain.
    I praise Him, who our love has lifted thus
    To noble rank by sorrow, — licensed us
    To a triumphal progress, bade us sweep
    Thro' fen and forest to our castle-keep,
    A noble pair, astride on Pegasus!
    • Falk, Act III
  • I feel myself like God's lost prodigal;
    I left Him for the world's delusive charms.
    With mild reproof He wooed me to his arms;
    And when I come, He lights the vaulted hall,
    Prepares a banquet for the son restored,
    And makes His noblest creature my reward.
    From this time forth I'll never leave that Light, —
    But stand its armed defender in the fight;
    Nothing shall part us, and our life shall prove
    A song of glory to triumphant love!
    • Falk, Act III
  • Tho' Doubt's beleaguering forces hem us in,
    Yet Truth upon the Serpent's head shall trample.
    The cause of Love shall win —
    • Falk, Act III
  • Yes, Love shall win!
    • Crowd, responding to Falk, in Act III
  • An unromantic poem I mean to make
    Of one who only lives for duty's sake.
    • Guldstad
  • I go to scale the Future's possibilities! Farewell!
    God bless thee, bride of my life's dawn, Where'er I be, to nobler deed thou'lt wake me.
    • Falk, in a statement rich with ironies.

Brand (1866)

  • Ikke tusend ord
    sig prenter, som én gernings spor.
    • A thousand words can't
      make the mark a single deed will leave.
    • Manden, Act II
  • Tabets alt din vinding skabte —
    Evigt ejes kun det tabte!
    • Losing all was winning's cost!
      Eternally owned is but what's lost!
    • Brand, Act IV
  • Brand: Svar mig, Gud, i dødens slug!
    gælder ej et frelsens fnug
    quantum satis?
    Skreden begraver ham; hele dalen fyldes.]
    En Røst: [
    Räber gennem tordenbragene] Han er deus caritatis!
    • Brand: Answer me, God, in the jaws of death:
      Is there no salvation for the Will of Man?
      No small measure of salvation?
      [The avalanche buries him. The valley is swallowed up.]
      A Voice: [Calls through the crashing thunder] He is the God of Love.
    • Act V

Peer Gynt (1867)

[First performed in Oslo (then called Christiania) on February 24, 1876, with incidental music by Edvard Grieg]
  • Peer, du lyver!
    • Peer, you are lying!
    • Åse, Act I, Scene I
  • Om jeg hamrer eller hamres,
    ligefuldt så skal der jamres!
    • Whether I pound or am being pounded,
      all the same there will be moaning!
    • Peer Gynt, declaring that no matter what he does, it is not what people want, Act I, Scene I
  • Ja, tænke det; ønske det; ville det med;
    men gjøre det! Nej, det skjønner jeg ikke!
    • To think it, wish it, even want it —
      but do it! No, that I cannot understand.
    • Peer Gynt, after he sees a boy cut off his finger to avoid serving in the army, Act III, Scene I
  • Really to sin you have to be serious about it.
    • Button-Moulder, Act V, Scene VII

The Pillars of Society (1877)

  • I'm afraid for all those who'll have the bread snatched from their mouths by these machines. You are very fond, sir, of talking about the consideration we owe to the community; it seems to me, however, that the community has its duties too. What business has science and capitalism got, bringing all these new inventions into the works, before society has produced a generation educated up to using them!
    • Aune, Act II
  • Look into any man's heart you please, and you will always find, in every one, at least one black spot which he has to keep concealed.
    • Bernick, Act III
  • The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom — these are the pillars of society.
    • Lona, Act IV

A Doll's House (1879)

  • There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt.
    • Torvald Helmer, Act I
  • What's to become of the morally sound? Left out in the cold, I suppose. We must heal the sick.
    • Dr. Rank, Act I
  • Many a man can save himself if he admits he's done wrong and takes his punishment.
    • Torvald Helmer, Act I
  • I've had the most extraordinary longing to say 'Bloody Hell'!
    • Nora Helmer, Act II
  • You don't get nothing for nothing in this life.
    • Dr. Rank, Act III
  • There is a big black hat and it makes you invisible. Have you heard of that hat? You put it on and then no one can see you.
    • Dr. Rank, Act III, speaking of death
  • The black, cold, icy water. Down and down, without end — if it would only end.
    • Nora Helmer, Act III
  • But our home's been nothing but a playpen. I've been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa's doll-child. And in turn the children have been my dolls. I thought it fun when you played with me, just as they thought it fun when I played with them. That's been our marriage, Torvald.
    • Nora Helmer, Act III
    • Variant translation: Our home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was papa's doll-child; and here the children have been my dolls. I thought it great fun when you played with me, just as they thought it great fun when I played with them. That is what our marriage has been, Torvald.
  • If I'm ever to reach any understanding of myself and the things around me, I must learn to stand alone. That's why I can't stay here with you any longer.
    • Nora Helmer, Act III
  • I have other duties equally sacred ... Duties to myself.
    • Nora Helmer, Act III
    • Variant translation: I have another duty equally sacred ... My duty to myself.
  • Helmer: First and foremost, you are a wife and mother.
    Nora: That I don't believe any more. I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, just as you are.

Ghosts (1881)

  • To crave for happiness in this world is simply to be possessed by a spirit of revolt. What right have we to happiness?
    • Manders, Act I
  • 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 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. 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 as countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us.
    • Mrs. Alving, Act II

An Enemy of the People (1882)

You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.
  • A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.
    • Billing, Act I
  • The majority never has right on its side.
    • Dr. Stockmann, Act IV
    • Robert Farquharson translation
  • You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.
    • Dr. Stockmann, Act V
    • Robert Farquharson translation
  • Sagen er den, ser I, at den stærkeste mand i verden, det er han, som står mest alene.
    • You see, the point is that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.
    • Dr. Stockmann, Act V

The Wild Duck (1884)

  • Always do that, wild ducks do. They shoot to the bottom as deep as they can get, sir — and bite themselves fast in the tangle and seaweed — and all the devil's own mess that grows down there. And they never come up again.
    • Ekdal, Act II
  • A marriage based on full confidence, based on complete and unqualified frankness on both sides; they are not keeping anything back; there's no deception underneath it all. If I might so put it, it's an agreement for the mutual forgiveness of sin.
    • Hjalmar, Act IV
  • Forget that foreign word "ideals." We have that good old native word: "lies."
    • Relling, Act V
  • Tar De livsløgnen fra et gennemsnitsmenneske, så tar De lykken fra ham med det samme.
    • If you take the life lie from an average man, you take away his happiness as well.
    • Relling, Act V

Hedda Gabler (1890)

  • Our common lust for life.
    • Lövborg, Act II
  • Oh courage...oh yes! If only one had that...Then life might be livable, in spite of everything.
    • Hedda, Act II
  • Back he'll come...With vine leaves in his hair. Flushed and confident.
    • Hedda, Act II
  • Everything I touch seems destined to turn into something mean and farcical.
    • Hedda, Act IV

The Master Builder (1892)

  • The younger generation will come knocking at my door.
    • Solness, Act I
  • A forest bird never wants a cage.
    • Hilda, Act III
  • Castles in the air — they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build, too.
    • Hilda, Act III

When We Dead Awaken (1899)

  • People who don't know how to keep themselves healthy ought to have the decency to get themselves buried, and not waste time about it.
    • Ulfhejm, in Act I
  • When we dead awaken. ... We see that we have never lived.
    • Irene, in Act II

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Simple English

Henrik Johan Ibsen (born March 20 1828, died May 23 1906) was a major Norwegian playwright. He is often called the "father of modern drama."[1]

Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.[2]


  1. "Ibsen Celebration to Spotlight 'Father of Modern Drama'". Bowdoin College. 2007-01-23. http://www.bowdoin.edu/news/events/archives/003725.shtml. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  2. "Ibsen.net (English version)". National Library of Oslo with funding from the Norwegian government. http://ibsen.net/index.gan?id=83. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
mrj:Ибсен, Генрик Иоган

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