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Theme of depair in Ibsen's "Ghosts"?Really every person suffers in this drama even...

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minnu | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 13, 2008 at 2:28 AM via web

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Theme of depair in Ibsen's "Ghosts"?

Really every person suffers in this drama even Captain Alving. Really despair is like a cloud in every character in this play.

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reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted October 13, 2008 at 5:48 AM (Answer #2)

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All characters do, indeed, suffer from despair, yet deception may be a more accurate description! Mrs. Alving must face the despair that she could possibly have helped Oswald, her son. Yet, she deceives Oswald from keeping her husband's illness from him. Oswald despairs of his condition, yet he also does not face his own reality. Regina is also at the heart of this deception.

If it is true that "the sins of the father are visited on the children" than this drama explicates the despair caused from one generation to the next. However, isn't Ibsen asking us to look more deeply at how we personally respond to despair and allow it to influence our life?

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richbiev | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 29, 2008 at 5:55 PM (Answer #5)

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All characters do, indeed, suffer from despair, yet deception may be a more accurate description! Mrs. Alving must face the despair that she could possibly have helped Oswald, her son. Yet, she deceives Oswald from keeping her husband's illness from him. Oswald despairs of his condition, yet he also does not face his own reality. Regina is also at the heart of this deception.

If it is true that "the sins of the father are visited on the children" than this drama explicates the despair caused from one generation to the next. However, isn't Ibsen asking us to look more deeply at how we personally respond to despair and allow it to influence our life?

No, I don't think Ibsen is asking us to look more deeply at despair. I believe the play is asking us to be careful about living with lies. He's pointing out that despair is the result of living a lie and that once you do that, you start piling up lie after lie. Eventually, you can't go back and make it all better. 

Despair is the result of the actions taken. The point is to stop the actions that lead to despair and not analyze despair. (In my humble opinion!)

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