Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Johan Ibsen (; 20 March 1828 – 23 May 1906) was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of realism" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre. His major works include Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of the People, Emperor and Galilean, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, The Wild Duck, Rosmersholm, and The Master Builder.

Several of his plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when European theatre was required to model strict morals of family life and propriety. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind many façades, revealing much that was disquieting to many contemporaries. It utilized a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. The poetic and cinematic play Peer Gynt, however, has strong surreal elements.

Ibsen is often ranked as one of the truly great playwrights in the European tradition. Richard Hornby describes him as "a profound poetic dramatist—the best since Shakespeare". He influenced other playwrights and novelists such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller, James Joyce, and Eugene O'Neill. His works also influenced the burgeoning feminist movement in the United States through a number of his female characters, the most famous example being Nora in “A Doll’s House.” He portrayed a “violent death and rebirth” for women, showing an alternate course that their lives could take if they stepped away from the roles the current society expected them to fill.

Ibsen wrote his plays in Danish (the common written language of Denmark and Norway) and they were published by the Danish publisher Gyldendal. Although most of his plays are set in Norway—often in places reminiscent of Skien, the port town where he grew up—Ibsen lived for 27 years in Italy and Germany, and rarely visited Norway during his most productive years. Born into a merchant family connected to the patriciate of Skien, his dramas were shaped by his family background. He was the father of Prime Minister Sigurd Ibsen.

Read more about Henrik Ibsen:  Family and Youth, Life and Writings, Death, Ancestry, Descendants, Works, Adaptations, Legacy, Honours

Famous quotes by henrik ibsen:

    I’m afraid for all those who’ll have the bread snatched from their mouths by these machines.... What business has science and capitalism got, bringing all these new inventions into the works, before society has produced a generation educated up to using them!
    Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)

    The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom—these are the pillars of society.
    Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)

    A marriage based on full confidence, based on complete and unqualified frankness on both sides; they are not keeping anything back; there’s no deception underneath it all. If I might so put it, it’s an agreement for the mutual forgiveness of sin.
    Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)

    Don’t use that foreign word ‘ideals.’ We have that excellent native word ‘lies.’
    Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)

    The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That’s one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population—the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it’s the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it’s the fools that form the overwhelming majority.
    Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)