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Essay/Term paper: Ibsen's ghosts vs. aristotle's poetics

Essay, term paper, research paper:  High School Essays

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on High School Essays: Ibsen's Ghosts Vs. Aristotle's Poetics, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

Ibsen"s Ghosts, although a relatively modern drama, maintains many classical

elements of tragedy as defined by Aristotle and championed by the ancient Greek

playwrights and poets. One element of displayed prominently in this case is

character. Aristotle believed that there were four main elements to a good tragic hero:

1) the character must be good, 2) decorum, 3) the character must be true to life, and

4) constancy within the characters demeanor and actions. The tragic hero in Ibsen"s

Ghosts, Mrs. Alving, fits into these criterion, yet Ibsen also strays from Aristotle"s

conventions.

"The character will be good if the purpose is good." (pg. 27), according to

Poetics. Ibsen attempts to create a good character in Mrs. Alving. Although she

makes many mistakes and her judgments lead to the ultimate tragedy her intentions

are good. "Yes, I was swayed by duty and consideration for others; that was why I

lied to my son day in and day out." (Ghosts; pg. 29) She loves and wants to protect

her son and to do so she feels she must shelter him from the truths of his father. "I

want my boy to be happy, that is all I want. Mrs. Alving"s goal is to purge herself and

her loved one"s from the past and the guilt which she feels for hiding the sins of her

husband and therefore her family name. "I had been taught about duty, and the sort of

thing that I believed in so long here. Everything seemed to turn upon duty-- my duty,

or his duty-- and I am afraid I made your poor father"s home unbearable for him

Oswald." (ghosts pd. 53)

Ibsen takes on a very "modernistic" attitude in his creation of Mrs. Alving. The

fact that she is female, intelligent and not at all portrayed as inferior to men, makes

her character and role as a tragic hero unique and impressive. She is insightful and

open to questioning the conventional thinking; "by praising as right and just what my

whole soul revolted against, as it would against something abominable. That was

what led me examine your teachings critically. I only wanted to unravel one point in

them; but as soon as I had got unraveled, the whole fabric came to pieces. And then I

realized that it was only machine-made." (Ghosts; pg. 31) He not only allows a

woman to be the heroin, but he exposes emotions and situations which were not

nessesarily acceptable at his time. Aristotle felt that "even a woman may be

good,....though a woman may be said to be an inferior being." Here it is seen that

although Aristotle acknowledges that a dramatist could use a female as a tragic hero,

he advises against it. He certainly would not have approved of the strong and

complex character Ibsen invented in Mrs. Alving. Ibsen"s apparent separation from

the traditional idea of tradgedy seems to highlight the already controversial themes.

Aristotle believed that the second element to a satisfactory character is propriety. He

defines propriety as "a type of manly valor; but valor in a woman, or unscrupulous

cleverness, is inappropriate." Although somewhat unconventional, Ibsen gives Mrs.

Alving admirable behavior and being. "I had always before me the fear that it was

impossible that the truth should not come out and be believed. That is why the

Orphanage is to exist, to silence all the rumors and clear away all doubt... "I had

another very good reason. I did not wish Oswald, my own son, to inherit a penny that

belonged to his father." (Ghosts; Pg. 24) This meaning that Mrs. Alving was a

courteous respectable part of her society, and despite her problems, she remained

composed and her motives once again, were appropriate in her time and society.

Mrs. Alving is a character created by Ibsen, but he created her in a way that made the

audience believe that she was real. Her personality was true to traits of humanity and

her emotions touched those of the audience. Mrs. Alving is a "riske""

character as part of Ghosts, which was "riske" in its examination of society.

The final element that Aristotle outlined as a necessity to a good character is

consistency within the personality of the character. Mrs. Alving"s actions and feelings

are "by rule either of necessity or probability." (Poetics; pg. 28) Poetics outlines the

elements which Aristotle felt were necessary to a tragic drama; these included plot,

character, time, and feeling, namely inspiration of pity and/or fear in the observers.



 

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