Describe the emancipation in the play "The Pillars of Society" by Henrik Ibsen.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Ibsen's play The Pillars of Society, emancipation comes in the final act when the principle character, Bernick, is brought to truthful realizations by the averting of near catastrophe though other people's intervention. Bernick has a long history of immoral behavior, deceit, manipulation and fraud. The towne doesn't about it though because other people agree to protect him by taking the blame themselves (Johan); by manipulated into being blames (Aune); by promising to keep his secrets (Lona). In the end, when his son is saved from death at sea by his wife's action; when the one being framed saves the shipful of sailors; when the protector of his secret leaves for America with Dina, Bernick has a revelation of gratitude that his son is safe, the ship is saved and Johan is gone, and learns the true pillars of society truth and freedom, which he exercises by telling the townspeople all his evil plots and the truths behind the lies, thus liberating himself in emancipation from the dark bondage of lies, misdeeds, manipulations and deceptions.

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The Pillars of Society

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