The Master Builder (Thrift Editions)
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The Master Builder (Thrift Editions)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,459 ratings  ·  48 reviews
One of the Norwegian playwright's most mysterious, symbolic, and lyrical dramas explores the life of architect Halvard Solness, once ruthlessly ambitious, but who, in his later years, not only feels threatened by the younger generation but also fears the decay of his own creativity. A tragic end for one of the most fascinating characters in modern drama.
paper, 64 pages
Published August 20th 2001 by Dover Publications (first published December 1892)
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Maryam Shahriari
خوشحالم که در سرچ کتاب‌های معماری به این نمایشنامه برخوردم و بعد هم توانستم در کتابخانه‌ای که عضوش هستم پیدا کنم و بخوانمش.‏

معماری از آن دسته شغل‌هاست که چون با آدمی و خواسته‌هایش سر و کار دارد، می‌تواند توسط همه قشر از افراد جامعه با تخصص‌های مختلف مورد بحث قرار بگیرد. این که به دنیای تفکرات معمارانه و آن چه که باعث خالق و ساختشان می‌شود از دید یک نمایشنامه‌نویس نگاه شده باشد، برای من جذاب و لذت‌بخش بود.‏

هالوارد سولنس شخصیت اول این نمایشنامه استاد معماری است که در سنین میانسالی به سر می‌برد و...more
Isotilia
I loved the play 'The Master Builder', I don't know why. It represents the eternal conflict between generations, the new sucessor to the old, human tragedies, sanity and insanity. I'm impressed how all talented authors around the world (even from so distant countries as Norway)express the same mystical, transcedental feeling. Artists have the ability to express these human common unexplanable feelings in an understandable way for their culture and their time. 'The Master Builder' is exactly this...more
Daria
I think this play and Hedda Gabler are my two Ibsen faves so far. I'm getting the impression that his two beloved drama topics are a) spouses lying to each other and b) crazy people. Give him one, two, three insane characters - heck, let's make the whole cast slightly deranged, why not? - and he can give you a strange and disturbing play which is nevertheless very realistic.

I get it, Ibsen. You're trying to prove we're all mad people at heart. *Hides face in hands*
Rich Law
This is the strangest of the (four) Ibsen plays I've read. It seems more like a fable than the ultra-realism you see in a Doll's House. Nevertheless, it's pretty powerful stuff.

The main themes I took away from this were fear and it how causes people to manipulate others. Not only that but I think every single character has the threat of abandonment hanging over their head the whole time. So it's typically cheerful Ibsen.

The real triumph, I think, is Ibsen's characterisation of Aline Solness, the...more
Ben
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christy
This is an easy, light read. Enjoyable and maintained my attention to the very last sentence. As for the story line, its kind of sad to think that a talented man and his sweet wife are unable to move on from the past. God has so much more for us and "greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world". The Master Builder did not need to be tormented by the "devils" in life. The belief that for one to be blessed, someone else must have misfortune is what made him weak. Sad.
Mike Jensen
Ibsen’s masterpiece is about an old man clinging to youth with disastrous results for himself and others. Do not use this Dover Thrift Edition with its dated translation and inadequate introduction and apparatus. Look for the Penguin or Michael Myers translations instead.
JonSnow
Astoundingly good play. It is tragically beautiful in its construction, execution, and conclusion. I cannot praise it enough! Truly touching, but truly sad. It is a heart wrenching story about beauty, love, art, and the invisible forces that draw these together.
Rolls
Another brutally frank portrait of a self obsessed man in his later years. Soleness is on par with Lear with a mind teetering towards the brink of madness. Teetering is an apt word given Soleness' sad end. Beautiful.
أحمد صــــلاح
لم أكن أعرف أن المسرح يمكن أن"
يصل إلى هذه الدرجة من الجمال والحبكة الرائعة
نحن نظلم المسرح كثيرا
"حين نفضل عليه الروايات
هذا ما دار برأسي الصغير
بعد ان قرأت هذه التحفة من المسرح
Sarah
Never seen any Ibsen or read any and had very little idea what to expect. It was a bit weird but definitely captivated me (have an extra half star). It is odd to think of Ibsen writing this in Norway so long ago - before my grandfather was born as it is so different to anything else I have read from that time. I don't think I buy into the symbolism that the description on the cassette box claims - seems more of a psychological exercise to me. And beautifully performed. I think if I got the chanc...more
Zadignose
Help! Save me from having read this play! My brain is broken, and I don't know what to say. Claptrap! I think... or is it... aarghh...

Dare I condemn theater for being too theatrical?

A few days of distance from this, and I keep thinking that this play is to theater what a TV Soap Opera like Passions is to cinema art.

Okay, I'm not really very familiar with that show, but the point is that this is what happens when medium/genre conventions become so wacky as to produce something entirely divorced...more
Ashley
Dec 08, 2008 Ashley rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people reading major plays
It's probably mostly founded on the obvious architectural bond they share, but this play rings to me (as well as other reviewers I see) of The Fountainhead in terms of the hero, protagonist, the "Master Builder" himself, only here of course we see him doubtful, flawed, and ultimately fail; and on that note of the hero's demise it also takes me back to King Lear of the Steppes by Turgenev. Well written and interesting in its psychologies of character, (such as Mrs. Solsen's pain over her lost dol...more
Perry Whitford
An aging architect named Halvard Solness manipulates the affections of a young secretary in order to retain the services of her fiance and his father. He fears that they will break away from him, fears the 'younger generation' in general, which is exacerbated when he is visited by an associate of his wife, a twenty two year old woman called Hilda Wangel.
But Halvard soon discovers that he and Hilda have a prior association too. Ten years ago, when she was a girl, he built a church tower in her ho...more
Michael
I see these characters, despite the scene descriptions that indicate otherwise, talking in rooms with dirty, earthen walls bare of all ornament - the men and the women wearing drab wool sweaters and fine wrist watches. I guess maybe I'm just imposing my own perception of Scandinavian narrative art - mostly gleaned from Bergman films - on this play.

I don't suppose there's much to say about this relatively simple play. The plot and pacing remind me of a proto-Albee piece, where demons eat at ever...more
علی
استاد معمار که همیشه در اندیشه ی ساختن خانه های مسکونی برای مردم بوده، از این که ناچار است مجتمع های اداری بسازد، سرخورده و دلگیر است. او طرحی بزرگ و نهایی برای یک خانه ی مسکونی دارد و معتقد است این طرح تنها برای آسایش و زندگی شیرین مردم تهیه شده. وقتی ایده ی خود را با شور و شوق با هیلده در میان می گذارد، زن به سادگی از او می پرسد چرا دست به کار نمی شود. معمار اعتراف می کند که طرحش آرمانی ست و هیچ کس طالب چنین طرح بزرگ و با شکوهی برای محل زندگی کردن نیست. هیلده او را تشویق می کند و استاد معمار ب...more
بسام عبد العزيز
مسرحية اجتماعية أخرى لهنريك إبسن يناقش فيها الصراع بين القديم و الحديث..

لدينا المعماري الكبير المشهور.. عبقرية معمارية فذة. و لدينا المعماري الشاب الذي يعمل تحت إمرته...

يحاول المعماري الكبير أن يقتل الطموح داخل المعماري الشاب خوفا من أن ينجح الشاب و يتفوق على أستاذه.. و في سبيل هذا يقوم المعماري الكبير بعمل كل شيء و أي شيء حتى لو كان منافيا للاخلاق..

لم أشعر بأي تعاطف او ارتباط بأية شخصية في المسرحية.. شعرت بها مباشرة بشدة.. مثلها في هذا مثل بيت الدمية ..

في أحيان كثيرة شعرت أن الفكرة الأساسية...more
Richard
Another classic Ibsen play. The master builder was struggling with associating his success with his abilities, preferring to attribute it instead to luck, and it seemed to conflict with his refusal to give up his title as the master builder. He was a confused person, uncertain about the motivation behind his work and fearful of the younger generation that would eventually crush him. Even though this lost character does not leave a good impression, I suppose many people experience a similar kind...more
Alejandro Teruel
A fascinating play which resonates on several planes. First it is the tragedy of an outwardly successful self-made builder, whose arrogant exterior only masks his inner frustrations, fears and frustrations. Secondly, it is also the tragedy of an old man who is afraid of youth and is not above ruining other people´s lives to keep ahead. It is also the story of a descent into madness, of delusions and manipulation. On another plane it a symbolic account of the pain and the price of artistic creati...more
Sarah
Mar 30, 2012 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
When I first read this play oh so many years ago, I was frustrated by its lack of specificity. Did our master builder burn down his house or not? Is his young lady friend magical or not? I want answers, Ibsen!

But now, with time, I've come to appreciate the essential weirdness of this play, and how its slipperyness plants in the shoes of its protagonist. We are in as dreamy of a world as he is, with nothing certain, so at the first glimpse of salvation, of course we too will agree with drastic me...more
Jim
This is what happens when Scandinavians don't get enough sunlight; another depressing work of art. Easy read, and interesting. But you could sense from the beginning this wasn't going to go well for the Master Builder.
Jonathan Hyde
Paired down ibsen realism at it's best. But it just didn't grab me as much as 'A Doll's House' or 'Hedda Gabler'. The feeling of entrapment brought on by marriage is becoming a prevalent theme from my reading of Ibsen. Perhaps marriage is too restrictive, as he seems to find entrapment in religion, social conventions and the very limitations of the aging process. I really feel like I have a good sense of the efficiency and pragmatism within scandinavian drama now (along with seeing Ibsen's Ghost...more
Jamie
The importance of living true to your life values and potential.
William Johnson
I read this because I saw Patrick Stewart perform this in Bath, England back in 2004. Little did I know but I was on a one-man tour of some of the most depressing theater in all the land as I saw three Ibsen plays and an August Strindberg epic with Ian McKellan. *sigh*. I was depressed but amazed too.

I read The Master Builder because the performance was fascinating and the text itself offers so many possible interpretations that reading it, even with Patrick Stewart in my head, still was enjoyab...more
Isaac
I enjoyed the interesting interplay between Halvard Solness and the female characters of the play, I found it far more interesting then the more obvious generational tension. His evasive dialogue with was Hilda really sharp, but I strangely enjoyed his wife's part the most, she was a haunting almost childlike figure but very aware of what was happening around her but her "duty" prevented her from dealing with it directly.
Sciosarah
I can see why people say that James Joyce's Exiles is so much like an Ibsen play, the dialogue is very similar, but I also think that they are two very different things. Reading this play was kind of like watching a film directed by Ingmar Bergman, distinctly Swedish, especially in the depiction of idealistic and independent but easily infatuated young women, and the tortured intellectual men they fall in love with.
Shaun Mackay
A 3-act drama which pits Halvard the self-proclaimed Master Builder against aging, loss, fame, love, and his own ego. It is hard to sympathize with the man, as he seems to bully all who get close to him, with the exception of Hilda. Hilda is a cross between a would-be lover and Halvard's own conscience. Difficult to see all the nuances at first, but upon closer inspection they become quite clear and powerful.
Kristopher
A well-written, if somewhat problematic play. It's incredibly difficult to pin down and would be fascinating to watch (I wouldn't recommend the version I was able to find on Netflix - a televised dramatic production; it lacked spirit). I didn't read this version, but it was the only one I could find that seems to have only this play. If you like Ibsen, this is like reading his "Tempest."
Leslie
This play is from the end of Ibsen's career and there is a clear difference in style and content from the earlier plays. I have appreciated his wit and social commentary but that was lacking in this play. Instead, there is a possibly mad builder and his relationship with God... If that sounds interesting, you will probably like this.
Brianna Marie
I just really love Ibsen. His characters are interesting and have wonderful flaws and their conversations are just so wonderful! This one seemed a little darker than the others I've read, but that only made it more interesting, if anything.
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Henrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the "father of modern drama." 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.

His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian valu...more
More about Henrik Ibsen...
A Doll's House Hedda Gabler Ghosts Four Major Plays: A Doll's House / Ghosts / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder An Enemy of the People

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“A talent for building children's souls, Hilde. So building their souls that they might grow straight and fine, nobly and beautifully formed, to their full human stature. That was where Aline's talent lay.” 3 likes
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