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Henrik Ibsen was born at Skien in Norway on March 20, 1828. When he was eight,
his father went bankrupt. This event made a deep impression upon him. After they
went bankrupt, his family moved to a small farm north of the town where they
lived in poverty. Henrik was forced to attend a small local school. He received
a substandard education. In 1843, the family returned to town. Unfortunately
they were still poor. Ibsen came from a very dysfunctional family. His
domineering father was an alcoholic who found solace in alcohol. His quiet
mother found comfort in religion. He used them as a model for his plays. The
blend of an overbearing husband and a submissive wife made appearances in his
plays Brand, A Doll's House, and Ghosts. The bitter character of Hjalmar Ekdal
in The Wild Duck was based on Ibsen's father. When he was sixteen, he moved to
Grimstad to work for a druggist. He had wanted to become a doctor, but game up
on the idea after he failed Greek and Math on his University entrance exams.
Medicine was not his only ambition. He also wanted to be a painter. In 1850,
Ibsen entered the first of his three writing periods. His romantic period went
from 1850 to 1873. The greatest works from this period are the Brandand Peer
Gynt Most of the plays that he wrote during these years are romantic historical
dramas. Lady Inger of Ostraat was a romantic drama with intrigue. The Vikings of
Helgeland was a simple and sad tragedy. The last play of the Romantic period was
Emperor and Galilean. It is similar to Ibsen's other play Catiline because it
showed his impatience with traditional attitudes and values. In both plays he
showed sympathy for historical characters who were famous for being rebellious.
Ibsen became the stage manager and playwright of the National Stage in Bergen in
1851. He worked there for six years. In 1857, he moved to Christiania (Oslo),
where he became director of the Norwegian Theatre. He neglected both writing and
the theatre. He plunged into social life with his literary friends and drank
heavily. In 1858, Ibsen married Suzannah Thoresen, with whom he had one child,
Sigurd Ibsen. This was a marriage that was often as misunderstood as the
marriages of Ibsen's dramas. At the age of thirty, Ibsen saw his first
performances of Shakespeare in Copenhagen and Dresden. Shakespeare's work
convinced Ibsen that serious drama must strive toward a psychological truth and
form its basis on the characters and conflicts of mankind. Ibsen and his friend
Bjшrnstjerne Bjшrnson founded "The Norwegian Company" in
1859. After the Norwegian Theatre went bankrupt in 1862, Ibsen was depressed and
broke. As a result, he was sometimes seen drunk on the streets of Christiania.
His success with The Pretenders in 1863 inspired him to write several poems.
Ibsen became bitterly disappointed with current political events, especially
Norway's failure to help the Danes in their war against Prussia. In 1864 he left
Norway. After he left, he spent most of his time in Rome, Dresden and Munich. He
was supported by a pension from the Norwegian state and income from his books.
In 1866, he had a significant breakthrough with his play Brand. In his speech to
Christiania students in 1874, Ibsen said, "All I have written, I have
mentally lived through. Partly I have written on that which only by glimpses,
and at my best moments, I have felt stirring vividly within me as something
great and beautiful. I have written on that which, so to speak, has stood higher
than my daily self. But I have also written on the opposite, on that which to
introspective contemplation appears as the dregs and sediments of one's own
nature. Yes, gentlemen, nobody can poetically present that to which he has not
to a certain degree and at least at times the model within himself." In
1877, Ibsen entered his second period of writing with his play Pillars of
Society. Ibsen wrote a series of plays dealing with social problems, such as A
Doll's House and Ghosts. He also wrote a series of plays dealing with
psychological problems, such as The Lady from the Seas and Hedda Gabler. He
wrote eight plays during of this period and both originated and perfected the
problem play. The term "problem play" refers specifically to the type
of drama which Ibsen wrote beginning with Pillars of Society in 1877. In these
plays, the emphasis is on the presentation of a social or ... more
Find essay on Of Romantic And Realistic
Troilus And Criseyde By Chaucer
Chaucers epic poem, Troilus and Criseyde, is not a new tale, but one Chaucer
merely expanded upon. One of these expansions that Chaucers work has become
renowned for is the improvement of the characters. Generally, Chaucers
characters have more texture, depth, humanity, and subtlety than those of the
previous tales. Of the three main figures in the epic poem, Troilus, Criseyde,
and Pandarus, Pandarus is the character that Chaucer took the most liberty with,
creating and evolving Pandarus until he had taken on an entirely different role.
However, this is not to say that Chaucer did not add his own style to Troilus
and Criseyde. Chaucers continual development of the primary characters
definitely lend more interest and humor to the epic poem, Troilus and Criseyde.
The most interesting character by far is Pandarus. He serves as the protagonist
and go between for Troilus and Criseyde. In fact, one could argue if it were not
for him, Troilus may never have attained the brief affections of his lady love,
Criseyde. When Pandarus comes across an uneasy Troilus and inquires as to the
cause of his trouble, his speech is very eloquent. It is this speech that gives
the reader his first glimpse of how subtlety and indirectness will initially
characterize Pandarus. Further along the passage, Pandarus torments Troilus into
anger, causing him to reveal the source of his woe. (Chaucer 24-5). In regard to
the introduction of Pandarus, Kirby concludes: "Chaucer makes us feel
that here is a witty, likable chap who does not take life too seriously and who
does not hesitate to mingle friendly works with good-natured taunts." (127)
Pandarus also reveals that he is fairly well educated with his allusion to Niobe.
In addition to the revelation of his education, this also reveals Pandarus
penchant for a pattern of persuasion which he employs throughout his role.
"Pandarus thinks the that way to make a man do something that he does not
want to do is not to tell him bluntly and baldly what course of action he should
pursue, but rather, gradually to lead up to the main point, expanding on the
notion in various ways and especially by quoting sufficient authority and
testimony to show his plan is the correct one, in fact, the only one
possible" (Kirby 133). This demonstrates that not only does Pandarus have a
classical education, but that he also maintains some grasp on the concept of
psychology. Aside from the intellectual side of Pandarus, Chaucer develops a
very human aspect to this character. Chaucer purposefully places Pandarus in the
role of the unrequited lover, making him seem less feeble-minded. At the same
time however, Pandarus reasserts his illogical reasoning in order to convince
Troilus to divulge his heart wrenching secret. Even after Troilus curt
dismissal, Pandarus continues to badger the beleaguered knight, demonstrating
yet another strong personality characteristic: tenacity. This is supported by
Pandarus physically shaking Troilus. "And with that word he gan hym for to
shake,/And seyde, "Thef/ thow shalt hyre name telle,/But tho gan sely
Troilus for to quake/As though men sholde han led hym into helle,"(Chaucer
36). Consequentially frightened, Troilus tells Pandarus of his love for
Criseyde, Pandarus niece and even goes so far as to agree to enlist
Pandarus help in bringing his nieces heart to the beleaguered knight. In
his dealings with his niece, issues of Pandarus morality comes into being,
especially as his roll of the go-between for Troilus and Criseyde. "The
word pander, where he has bequeathed the English language, illuminates the
negative connotations that are put on his actions in modern meaning"
(Berkley Research 3). In regard to Pandarus selling of Criseydes honor,
one scholar believes that his loose morals would be fitting for someone of
younger years, but on an older man, it would be a serious affront to his
morality (Rosetti 177). A slightly more favorable view holds that as Pandarus is
beholden to aide a friend, Chaucer uses the characters charm to influence
readers to view the act as less of crime. Finally, one can take the opinion that
Pandarus actions coincide perfectly with the ideas of Courtly love and
therefore are less odious (Kirby 181). However grim these opinions maybe,
Chaucer, and as a result, Pandarus, takes the bull by the figurative horns and
addresses the issue. Criseyde questions Pandarus after his declaration of
Troilus love by saying: "Alas, for wo! Why nere I deed?/For of the
world the feyth is al agoon./Allas! what sholden straunge to me doon,/When he,
that for my beste frend I wende,/Ret ... more
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