Henrik Ibsen Drama Analysis
“To be a poet is, most of all, to see,” Henrik Ibsen said, and early in his literary career, he had already recognized the hammer as at once the symbol of creation and of destruction, with mythical overtones of the Old Norse thunder god, Thor, who unflinchingly sacrificed his own hand to bind the wolf Fenris and save his world from the unleashed forces of the underworld. Ibsen’s early poem “The Miner” shows his gaze fixed firmly into the depths: “Downward I must break my way . . . break me the way, my heavy hammer, to the hidden mystery’s heart.” Throughout his literary canon, although he is best known for his prose dramas, the rich poetic vein is never far from the working face of Ibsen’s creativity.
The constructions and destructions necessary to the realization of Ibsen’s vision fall into two distinct categories on either side of the watershed year of 1875. Fjelde differentiates them in apt architectural metaphor, viewing the earlier romantic group of Ibsen’s plays as a diverse old quarter, ranging from Roman villa to Viking guildhalls and even a contemporary honeymoon hotel, while glimpsing immediately beyond a small arid space “what appears to be a model town of virtually identical row houses . . . dark and swarming with secret life.”
Whatever the outward style of their construction, at the core, all of Ibsen’s earlier plays share a basically romantic orientation. Romanticism had already reached its fiery...
(The entire section is 5074 words.)
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