Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Ice church

Ice church. Naturally formed, domelike place of peace made entirely of ice that is the main setting of acts 1 and 5. Located high in an unspecified region of the mountains of Scandinavia, this “church” symbolizes the inflexible side of Christianity and materially exemplifies Brand’s belief that salvation must come through total suffering and sacrifice. Predictably, this religion is not merely cold and heartless, but also ruthlessly unrelenting.

Village church

Village church. Presumably, a small, Lutheran state church. While this church is meant to be the center of village life, religion here has grown lifeless and ritualistic and meaningless. Henrik Ibsen uses it to symbolize the lack of warmth and love among Christians. It is thus torn down by Brand and his followers.

New church

New church. Replacement for the previous village church. Built by Brand, the mayor, and the village people, this new building and new church are immediately rejected by them at the opening ceremony and the key is thrown into the river. It is meant to be a church where all the congregants will worship God in an “all or nothing” fashion; however, this proves impossible after Brand realizes that God is one of love and not of law.

Brand Historical Context

Charles Darwin
In November 1859, the English naturalist Charles Darwin published his book, On the Origin of Species, and...

(The entire section is 494 words.)

Brand Literary Style

Verse Drama
Ibsen wrote his play as a verse drama, also known as a dramatic poem, a play that is composed entirely of lines of...

(The entire section is 734 words.)

Brand Compare and Contrast

Late 1850s-Mid1860s: Denmark and Norway face unification issues, which eventually factor into the two wars in Northern Europe over the...

(The entire section is 202 words.)

Brand Topics for Further Study

Ibsen is not the only Norwegian who left the country in the nineteenth century. Between 1815 and 1915, tens of millions of Norwegians...

(The entire section is 276 words.)

Brand What Do I Read Next?

Anton Chekhov, along with Ibsen and August Strindberg, is widely considered to be one of the three most influential playwrights in early...

(The entire section is 413 words.)

Brand Bibliography and Further Reading

Sources
Bradbrook, M. C., Ibsen, The Norwegian: A Revaluation, Archon Books, 1966, p. 43.

Deer, Irving,...

(The entire section is 488 words.)

Brand Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Bellquist, John E. “Ibsen’s Brand and Når vi døde vågner: Tragedy, Romanticism, Apocalypse.” Scandinavian Studies 55, no. 4 (Autumn, 1983): 345-370. A discussion of Brand’s extreme idealism, which causes him to sacrifice the interests of his family members as well as his own life and happiness. Bellquist regards Brand as a typical Aristotelian tragic hero.

Eikeland, P. J. Ibsen Studies. New York: Haskell House, 1934. A collection of four essays. The essay on Brand, a particularly good introductory discussion for the general reader, emphasizes Brand’s Christianity, his willingness to admit to...

(The entire section is 232 words.)