What is the significance of the title of Ibsen's Ghosts?

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On one level, Ghosts is an entirely appropriate title for the play, as the spirits of the departed continue to exercise a malign influence from beyond the grave.

A prime example is Captain Alving. Though long-dead, his reckless and irresponsible behavior while alive still has serious consequences. For instance, the very presence of his illegitimate offspring Regina acts as a constant reminder to his daughter Helen of her father's infidelity. Indeed, one could say that Regina's presence haunts her.

Captain Alving's baneful influence also extends to his son Osvald. Osvald regards his late father as something of a hero, blissfully unaware of what he was really like. Osvald sets out to be just like Captain Alving; according to Pastor Manders, he even looks like him. But as the real-life Captain Alving was a dissolute drunk and philanderer, Osvald has unwittingly dedicated himself to living a lie. In that sense, one could say that he's pursuing a chimera—a spirit, if you will—in trying to...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 855 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on April 1, 2020