Please write an in-depth summary of Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen. This is a study guide question posted by eNotes Editorial. Please note that this material is intended to supplement the information presented in our eNotes study guide.
Rosmersholm by Henrik Ibsen, set in a small-town in Norway, is the story of a well-respected man named Rosmer who recently lost his wife, Beata, to suicide. Amidst his grief, Rosmer's friendship with Beata's best friend Rebecca develops, though their relationship remains platonic. As he processes his wife's death and becomes friends with Rebecca, his political leanings begin to develop and he becomes less conservative, and more interested in the liberal ideas of the newly elected government.
Rosmer's old friend, Kroll, is very upset at Rosmer's new political developments. One day Rosmer meets a man who dresses in rags but calls himself a genius, and Rosmer admires his political ideas. Rosmer helps the man by providing him with money for clothes. Kroll is upset by this and other changes he sees in Rosmer, and so Kroll begins to spread rumors about Rosmer and sabotage his social standing.
Some of these rumors involve Rosmer's growing friendship with Rebecca as something more romantic. Other rumors blame Rebecca or Rosmer directly for his wife's suicide. These ideas begin to tear at Rosmer, who becomes distraught and leans into his friendship with Rebecca as a result. It is clear they are in love, and he asks her to marry him but she refuses outright.
Rebecca, in an attempt to save Rosmer from his own anguish, gives a false confession, saying that she deliberately conned him to make him into a liberal, and that she told his wife she was pregnant in order to get her to commit suicide. Unable to fully conceal her real love, however, she ends the confession by telling him that, through this process of deception, she actually came to love him, and this causes Rosmer to see through her lies.
In his desperation, Rosmer becomes convinced that he must force Rebecca to prove her dedication to him, and he asks her to jump off the same bridge his wife died at if she really loves him. Rebecca agrees and Rosmer joins her, creating a tragic ending for the story.
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