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When We Dead Awaken

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,124 ratings  ·  84 reviews
When We Dead Awaken (Norwegian: Når vi døde vågner) is the last play written by Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. Published in December 1899, Ibsen wrote the play between February and November of that year.
Paperback, 124 pages
Published October 3rd 2005 by Dodo Press (first published 1899)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Riku Sayuj
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays, translated

Just listen to the silence once the dead awaken in the epilogue. The silence that speaks of the irony - of confused expectations - as we live through life expecting our lives to make some sort of a big impact and in the end find that the artist we posed for has made us only a background figure in the crowd… is that what we gave our lives for? Is that the God-Artist we worshipped, not the cruel one… the ironic one?
 Sophia B
The end of a great line of plays - the drama that draws together all the puzzles and threads from all the other plays and from all of Ibsen´s own dramas - his life. To understand this abstract play you have to have really read a lot of him. There are metaphors upon metaphors and hints and lines that reflect upon previous characters and endings and as well, it reflects Ibsen´s view of his own life, his struggle, his choices and doubts. I recommend Erling Sandmo´s afterword, that reflect upon all ...more
Othy
Nov 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
I've never been much one for reading drama (as opposed to seeing it performed), so I don't read many plays. I was, though, very much impressed with this one for purely literary reasons. I'm not sure how one would stage this one, especially with the ending, though as a pure story I thought it was very masterfully done. Creepy and enigmatic, though going just far deep enough so that one can get the idea of just how much further the ideas go.
Connor
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
What the fuck did I just read. Picked this up from the Said book On Late Style which discussed this briefly.

Insanely dark, depressing, full of imagery of rocks/turning into rocks/ossification. Some pretty obvious symbolism in this work, which isn't particularly interesting (the tangible muse trying to murder him), but the overall sense of being dead and struggling to be alive was really interesting and well-played out.
Steven
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great Ibsen play, his last, and haunted by questions of death, love, work, and giving to meaning to life ... climbing a mountain to die in an avalanche.
Matthew
Aug 17, 2014 rated it liked it
It is often the case that a writer ends their career on a disappointing work. Charles Dickens followed two brilliant novels (A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations) with the weaker Our Mutual Friend, his last complete work. After writing two of his richest novels (The Little Sister and The Long Goodbye), Raymond Chandler’s last finished novel, Payback, is rather thin. Similarly Dostoevsky’s last novel is A Raw Youth, hardly a great work.

It would be nice to think that Ibsen would have ended
...more
Chiek Er
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
A second chance

Most of us have at least one great love or infatuation in our early lives that we let slip because we were too stupid, or too afraid to try only to regret forever for the rest of our lives. Some dwell on their loss and live like a dead men in a world without someone to love. Few have the rare fortune like professor Rubek to be reunited with the love of his life, Irene, after being separated for many years and was awaken from the dead. Others regret their loss but become reconciled
...more
Manar
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Two stars: one for the avalanche and the other for Maia's stupid song.

I'm free! I'm free!

Imagine listening to your professor singing the song and jumping around class. It did not do Ibsen's play any good. I do believe Irena is either dumb or has mental issues for not freeing herself from whatever the sick feelings she had for a man who appreciates his art more than his muse!
Mike
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned
2.5 stars. I wish I liked this play more than I do because Ibsen’s later prose plays are some of my favorite ever written. But the symbolism here is too heavy-handed, the characters are too stereotypically brooding, and the ending is almost laughable. I only wish Ibsen’s health had lasted for another decade so that he could have made the transition into the next phase of his career.
Charles Berman
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Poetic and spare evocation of our simultaneous yearning for and dread of the full experience of life; revolves around familiar themes of Ibsen with a sense of both finality and deliberate ambiguity.
sidra
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
IRENE. We see the irretrievable only when—
Breaks off.
PROFESSOR RUBEK. (Looks inquiringly at her.) When—?
IRENE. When we dead awaken.
PROFESSOR RUBEK. (Shakes his head mournfully.) What do we really see then?
IRENE. We see that we have never lived.
She goes towards the slope and descends.
Ali
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very strange play.
It reminded me of a story I heard about a boy who fell in love with his best friend when they were children. They grew up together and eventually dated on again off again from the age of twelve to about the age of seventeen. However, she died in an accident. He continued to love her for five years, going out with all kinds of girls that didn't mean anything, waiting for the day when they would be reunited. And then, one day, he woke up and he didn't love her anymore. This gir
...more
Tslyklu
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ks-recommended
Angst about the relationship between ~the creator and ~the muse. Ya Allah just fuck already and get back to work. Should have cut everything but

Professor Rubek [Defensively]: I never did you any wrong! Never, Irene!
Irene: Yes, you did! You did wrong to my inner-most, inborn nature--
Professor Rubek [Starting back]: I!
Irene: Yes, you! I exposed myself wholly and unreservedly to your gaze--
[More softly]
And never once did you touch me.

Then, enter avalanche
Erik Wirfs-Brock
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays
There are much, much better musings about the artistic process than this gloomy play with overly obvious symblism, although there are definitely flashes of great writing in here
Fabio
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Story has it that during a female rights gathering Ibsen remarked that he was not worthy of the introduction as a 'fighter for women's rights,' because he never consciously wrote with the intention of writing propaganda for the cause. I believe it.

If the story was not true and he was merely an apologist of women's rights, the value of Ibsen's work would be just historical, as some early advocate of morals we consider standard today. But that would be boring, the way most liberation stories are t
...more
Sarah
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
محمد عبادة
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theater-plays
Only to think how Ibsen's translator and critic Mr.William Archer was wrong when he thought this play wasn't a masterpiece of Ibsen in the sense that Ghosts - for example - was!
One of the gloomiest and most aesthetically superior works of art that I ever came across, it's worth being Ibsen's last play and life conclusion ..
Mr.Archer believed that it was a possibility that the deterioration of Ibsen's mind could have begun while he was working on it, for reasons relating to those logical jumps an
...more
Adrian Colesberry
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I went on a tear on 2007 and read all of Henrik Ibsen and all of August Strindberg. Before I could get to all of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, I had to turn back to writing, and I can't read while I write. Ibsen is wonderful. The thing I like most about Ibsen is that he loves and respects women at least in his writing. Not all of his plays are tragedies either. Many are very funny and many have mixed endings, not all are downers.
Though I'm not a big fan of Peer Gynt. Strindberg's parody of Peer Gyn
...more
Realini
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen

Here is another play that I have to mark down as a loss.
It may be very good, although it is not included among Ibsen’s major works.
And I must say that I have listened to and enjoyed more than five of his plays,
In this last case, I did not find the proper time, or mood and the experience failed.
A condition sine qua non for enjoyment is attention, and I haven’t even been attentive throughout the play. In other words, this is play that I should try again, some oth
...more
Jwee Chiek
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Last play by Ibsen but just as incredibly enjoyable and philosophical on life like his earlier stuff. Most normal folks would have had a least one great love or infatuation in their lives to have escaped them. They cursed and cried over their loss because of their inaction and cowardice. They swore henceforth that happiness was dead. Rarely would one have the fortune of Professor Rubek to encounter one´s lost love later in life and wake from the dead. A second chance to seize his Irene, the love ...more
Jc Er
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Completely realistic that all have their personal stories of some one we love or were infatuated with but who have slipped through our fingers. Either we we too scared to love or too stupid to take actions. In any case we suffered a great deal for a love that could have been but didn´t. Some never recovered from our heart break and therefore never tasted true happiness in life. Rarely does one get a second chance like Ibsen´s Professor Rubek to encouter his great love, Irene, once again later in ...more
Tony
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but for the abrupt tragic end

I read this play quickly as it deals with interesting ideas. Life versus death, resurrection versus death, man versus woman, fantasy versus reality. But the ending I found too abrupt. A good read but lacking in answers. (Unless you take Maia as the truly free bird at the end)
Chiek Er
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Love once lost but rediscovered again later in life. The joy such rare occurences bring is so great that it resurrects a person from the dead. He returns to a world where there is meaning, hope and happiness. Such is the ending of Ibsen´s great career as a playwright.
Kasey
Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, adult, play
very odd story--hard to understand in some places, but overall a nice story. Grades 11 and up :)
Gabriela
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
A tale full of mystery and psychological treats.
DalalK.
Aug 21, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
What was that all about? :|
Kjm
Oct 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Still digesting this work... Not as accessible as many of my other favorite Ibsen works but very thought provoking. I will have to think more and get back to you.
Fahad Riaz
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Its remarkable. Ibsen's last play!
أروى  محمد الزريعي
I found it a bit strange: it was simple yet complicated.
瑞傑 余
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A play relevant to all who have loved but lost their love only to meet their love once again later in life.
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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
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