Yair Bezalel's Reviews > Four Great Plays: Ghosts; The Wild Duck; An Enemy of the People; A Doll's House

Four Great Plays by Henrik Ibsen
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Jan 23, 11


I had tried reading this collection of Ibsen plays years ago and found myself bored to near literal death. But I returned to it just recently with a, hopefully, more open mind. In a sense I’m glad, but in another it’s just a bit humbling and scarring. Ibsen depicts more or less normal people in his day and age destroyed by their societies values, and adherence to communal norms beyond logic, reason, and all but the most extreme tips of human compassion. And unlike many modern writers who seem to favor the oblique and obscure (wanting to say it all, plus nothing, plus everything else), Ibsen lays it bare with simple (at times too simple) dialogue and stories of real people involved in real small town actions. A warning, these plays are not uppers. I read them and was amazed at the ingenuity employed by Ibsen, but also more than a bit downcast afterwards from the too believable depictions of human ignorance and willingness to hide in the mass societal at the cost of compassion, dignity, and sometimes just common sense.
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