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A FAMILY-DRAMA IN THREE ACTS
I have never seen this remark of Oswald’s adequately explained, either as a matter of economic fact or as a trait of character.
Another blemish, of somewhat greater moment, is the inconceivable facility with which, in the third act, Manders suffers himself to be victimized by Engstrand.
All these little things, taken together, detract, as it seems to me, from the artistic completeness of the play, and impair its claim to rank as the poet’s masterpiece.
Even in prose drama, his greatest and most consummate achievements were yet to come.
Must we, then, wholly dissent from Björnson’s judgment? I think not. In a historical, if not in an aesthetic, sense, Ghosts may well rank as Ibsen’s greatest work.
It was the play that first gave the full measure of his technical and spiritual originality and daring. It has done far more than any other of his plays to “move boundary posts.”
It has advanced the frontiers of dramatic art and implanted new ideas, both technical and intellectual, in the minds of a whole generation of playwrights.
It ranks with Hernani and La Dame aux Camélias among the epoch-making plays of the nineteenth century, while in point of essential originality it towers above them.
We cannot, I think, get nearer to the truth than Georg Brandes did in the above-quoted phrase from his first notice of the play, describing it as not, perhaps, the poet’s greatest work, but certainly his noblest deed.
In another essay, Brandes has pointed to it, with equal justice, as marking Ibsen’s final breach with his early—one might almost say his hereditary romanticism.
He here becomes, at last, “the most modern of the moderns.” “This, I am convinced,” says the Danish critic, “is his imperishable glory, and will give lasting life to his works.”
|No. of Pages||70|
|PDF Size||0.2 MB|
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