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The morals of the wealthy classes are explored and condemned in Henrik Ibsen’s shocking 1881 play Ghosts. To all outward appearances, the Alvings are a generous and upstanding family. What Helene Alving tells her pastor one day, however, reveals an altogether different truth about her privileged background. Having suffered from her husband’s unfaithful ways throughout his life, Helene is desperate to prevent her wayward son, Osvald, from using any of his dead father’s money to continue his own destitute lifestyle. To that end, she builds an orphanage in memory of her husband to try and maintain a respectable front in their community and to use up funds that would have gone to her son’s inheritance. Thinking that at least she accomplished something to correct her family’s sins, Helene is in for some devastating revelations about the extent to which corruption has pervaded her home. Ghosts stands out as a landmark of scandal and beauty in the history of European drama.
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Opening Lines (Experimental)
MRS. HELEN ALVING, widow of Captain Alving, late Chamberlain to the King.
OSWALD ALVING, her son, a painter.
JACOB ENGSTRAND, a carpenter.
REGINA ENGSTRAND, Mrs. Alving's maid.
The action takes place at Mrs. Alving's country house, beside one of the large fjords in ...
Ratings for 'Ghosts' by Ibsen, Henrik