Read Peer Gynt: A Dramatic Poem by Henrik Ibsen Free Online
Book Title: Peer Gynt: A Dramatic Poem|
The author of the book: Henrik Ibsen
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: April 30th 1966
ISBN 13: 9780140441673
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Reader ratings: 4.5
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 698 KB
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If theatre is at its best when it makes you feel pity and terror in the Aristotelian sense of catharsis, Peer Gynt is undoubtedly one of the great plays in the history of stage art.
I can't say it felt particularly cathartic, though, reading it in its thorny Norwegian, and then watching it on stage in a furiously angry Swedish. Trolltider... we live in an era of trolls, and Peer Gynt is strangely close to our egomaniac times, in which the Nietzschean Übermensch takes what he can get with no regrets. Maybe because I recognise too much of the confusing story in real life, I felt terror but no relief. I felt pity, but no compassion.
Peer Gynt is the Norwegian Faust, a man so convinced of his own entitlement that he doesn't hesitate to betray both his mother Åse and his lover Solveig to embark on a wild adventure in search for his own fulfilment. He dares to strike a devil's deal with the trolls of the forest and then to blatantly deny any knowledge of his own actions, lying whenever it is convenient, taking no responsibility at all for anything he says or does or promises. Even the trolls are dumped at his convenience.
Peer Gynt, the man in charge of a grandiosity monopoly, is capable of charming his way back into the hearts of those who were abused and mistreated by him over and over. Whenever he decides to change, the world bows to his whims. Terror? Plenty! Pity? For those who get into close contact with him, trolls included.
Redemption? Undeserved, and not granted by me. Solveig! Do what Nora did! You are not Peer's doll, and you deserve better than a tyrant playing with you at his leisure in a prison called A Doll's House.
Catharsis? No! As long as the Peer Gynts of the world get away with behaving like monsters without any punishment, there can be no catharsis for me, not even in a brilliant theatre.
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Read information about the authorHenrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the "father of modern drama." Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.
His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian values of family life and propriety largely held sway in Europe and any challenge to them was considered immoral and outrageous. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind many facades, possessing a revelatory nature that was disquieting to many contemporaries.
Ibsen largely founded the modern stage by introducing a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. Victorian-era plays were expected to be moral dramas with noble protagonists pitted against darker forces; every drama was expected to result in a morally appropriate conclusion, meaning that goodness was to bring happiness, and immorality pain. Ibsen challenged this notion and the beliefs of his times and shattered the illusions of his audiences.
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