WGS 345 • 14-Social Dramas of Henrik Ibsen
This course offers a detailed introduction to Ibsen's social dramas (1877-1899), emphasizing their unity as a prolonged commentary on the society of his era and the variety of its human problems. Eight of the twelve plays are read in chronological order so as to show how each play stands in relation to those which precede or follow. Particular attention is paid to how Ibsen interprets basic human situations in different ways in different plays. Ibsen's patterned use of certain Norwegian words to create thematic ties between specific plays and characters is explored. The course pays special attention to the following topics: (1) the family, the home, the sphere of private life and their relationship to the public world of reputation, work, and citizenship; (2) the predicaments and choices of men and women in a male-dominated society; (3) Ibsen's interest in biological themes such as health, sickness, and heredity; (4) the origins and risks of various kinds of human creativity; and (5) the motives of interventions into the lives of others.