Culture Conveyed Through Pastor Manders
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen is a very culturally centered play that takes place during
the 1880’s in Norway when Lutheranism was the dominant religion. The culture and
religion is evident in many aspects of Ghosts, but is shown mostly through
Pastor Manders who helps guides the Alving family through their troubling times. Ibsen was able to easily relate the culture, morals and situations in his play to the culture he lived in because it was during his life (March 20, 1828 to May 23, 1906) - he published Ghosts in December, 1881.
Although Ghosts was not the most adored or coveted play to see, it was probably
the most infamous among all of ...view middle of the document...
Throughout the plot there seems to be a correlation between the mistakes Pastor Manders makes and the obvious relation between him and society. Although the Alvings create the most problems, Ibsen puts a quiet burden on Pastor Manders, and society, because of the mistakes he makes in thinking that he can fix everything to be perfect when everything in the plot is wrong. An example would be when Mrs. Alving fled from her husband and came to Pastor Manders. He turned her away despite his feelings he had towards her because of what he thought was right in society.
The play starts off with Oswald coming home from Paris to spend time with his
mother. She’s suspicious, but is happy to see him. Before he comes home she
starts to build an orphanage in the memory of her dead husband, but in reality
she is just trying to keep any money from inheritance to go to Oswald. She tells
Pastor Manders about these plans, but the goal for both of them is to keep up
the appearance that she had a happy and healthy marriage while her husband was
still alive, but that was anything but true. As Mrs. Alving said “What about the truth?” and Pastor Manders replied with “What about the ideals?” Ideals are thought to be the truth in today’s culture but in the play they are illusions. In reality her husband, Captain Alving, was disloyal to her and hurt her when he drank.
This is the reason Oswald was away to begin with; after she moved to the country
to try to hide the problems they were having, she sent Oswald to a boarding
school. Pastor Manders disagreed with this action saying that “A child’s proper place is, and must be, the home of his fathers.” While Oswald is away he finds out that he suffers from an inherited STD and will soon be comatose. He comes home to tell his mother, but also falls in love with Regina Engstrand, who is unknowingly his half sister. Soon the orphanage burns down before it’s opening, and Oswald gets much, much worse. In the end, Mrs. Alving has to make the choice between euthanizing her own son or to let
him stay brain dead. We never find out what she does.
Pastor Manders plays a major part in this plot because he serves as the perfect
man in the society’s eyes as a spiritual advisor. He strictly follows the
practices of the common religion, Lutheranism, and enforces all social
necessities in every person he helps. Examples of his role in...