Henrik Ibsen was one of the world’s greatest dramatists. He was the leading figure of an artistic renaissance that took place in Norway at the end of the nineteenth century, a renaissance that also included the painter Edvard Munch. Ibsen lived from 1828 to 1906. He grew up in poverty, studied medicine for a while, then abandoned that to write plays. In 1858, he published his first play, The Vikings at Helgeland. That same year, he married Susannah Thoresen, the daughter of a pastor.
Ibsen obtained a scholarship to travel to Italy, where he wrote the plays that would establish his reputation, Brand and Peer Gynt. These were long, historical verse plays. He lived most of the rest of his life in Italy and Germany. Starting in 1869, he began to write prose plays. Some critics would say that at this point in his life, Ibsen abandoned poetry and took up realism. In 1877, he began what became a series of five plays in which he examines the moral faults of modern society. In order of appearance, the plays were The Pillars of Society, A Doll’s House, Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, and The Wild Duck. Continue reading