Henrik Ibsen: Four Major Plays
Four Major Plays
Oxford University Press
8 June 2008
$9.95 in Canada
A Doll’s House provoked uproar when it made its Scandinavian debut in 1879. In it, and its immediate successor, Ghosts, Ibsen brought to light attitudes that a self-righteous, hypocritical society would have preferred to leave unexamined; his heroines’ perceptions about society and their position in it are conveyed with a clarity that is still shockingly dramatic.
In Hedda Gabler and The Master Builder Ibsen shifted his focus from the pressures exerted on women by society to the pressures individuals exert on other individuals in their urge to dominate and control one another. Hedda Gabler, ‘a-crawl with the foulest passions of humanity’, as one contemporary reviewer claimed, is also a flawed idealist in an anguished private dilemma; in creating her Ibsen brought dramatic prose towards the expression of a reality beneath the surface of words.
This collection of plays is taken from the Oxford Ibsen, James McFarlane’s acclaimed scholarly edition.