Review: Ghosts

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Ghosts
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Book Review


3 out of 5 stars to Ghosts, a play written in 1881 by Henrik Ibsen. After I read Henrik Ibsens’s realistic play Ghosts, I immediately formed opinions of the characters. I liked Mrs. Alving and Regina. I thought that Oswald was a brat and a nuisance. I didn’t understand how Mrs. Alving could love him, even though he was her flesh and blood. He seemed to be nothing but a spoiled child despite being in his twenties. Mrs. Alving exemplified a woman who was angry with her late husband for the misdeeds he committed. She was a figurehead for the family, and thus a powerful character. Pastor Manders was definitely an exhausting character as was Engstrand. I couldn’t get a strong grip on either of them because I didn’t know who set the nursery on fire. In my mind, whichever one of them set it aflame was the evil character, and the other was the good character. It is not all that black and white though, which I didn’t find out until I watched the film version.
After seeing the film version of the play Ghosts, I fell in love with the actress who portrayed Mrs. Alving. She definitely improved upon the character of Mrs. Alving that I understood when I read the play. She showed me how much of a woman she was when she flirted with Pastor Manders in the very beginning. She was played much more feminine in the film version than she was in the written script, at least in my opinion. I believe that seeing her act out the pain, show her emotions and enter into deep thought showed how human and real the character was. I did not feel this way while I was reading the script. I liked her character then, but that was only because she was losing someone that she loved. I always pity the underdog, which is what I think she is even more so in the film version. She had to fight Pastor Manders, remain strong for Oswald, deal with Engstrand, and find the ability to support Regina. She was losing in every situation of her life, and by seeing her in the play, I was able to not only understand her pain even more, but root for her. I liked her in the script version, but it was not until the video version that I could truly realize what she had to go through.
The character of Engstrand was a puzzle to me. While reading the script, I didn’t like Engstrand, but I didn’t dislike him either. He just didn’t appeal to me at all. I didn’t have a picture of him in my mind either, which is odd. Normally, I can see a movie of the story in my mind as I read the script, but in this case, his appearance was vague and blurry. I had no face to match the character. Consequently, when I saw the film version, I was destined to interpret Engstrand exactly as the director of the play did. As a result, he did and he didn’t improve upon the impression that I had of him; however, I also don’t know if I liked what I saw. Engstrand appeared too rough looking, and all of the facial hair diminished the charm of the character. I thought that he was a little bit more clean-cut, but the film shows the darker side of Engstrand. I was convinced though, that it was not Engstrand who set the nursery aflame though. I felt that it was Pastor Manders, at least in the film version.
Pastor Manders was another character who produced a myriad of opinions in my mind. When I read the script, he seemed to be full of passion and life. I thought that he would end up in bed with Mrs. Alving. However, in the film, he is asexual, except for the brief interlude with Mrs. Alving at the opening of the film. He came across as a priest, and only a priest, which is why he did not appeal to me. He didn’t have any “love of life” in him as Regina, Oswald, and the Captain all did. Overall, I think that the film version improved my opinions of most characters, but I ended up disliking certain characters that I hadn’t before.
The film version definitely exemplifies realism more than naturalism for several reasons. One of the main reasons that makes the film version realistic instead of naturalistic is that the film version did not actually show the barn ablaze. In naturalistic pieces, directors would actually show the smoke and the burning from the barn. Also, they would have the camera focus on Oswald, who would be standing there ready to fight it. I understand that it would be hard to do in a theatre though. I am unsure about the staging of the film. Was it staged without an audience simply so that someone could just video record it? Or, was the play staged for an audience with someone in the background videotaping it. I think that it was meant only to be videotaped, in which case, it could have been done outdoors to show the barn burning. Therefore, since the burning barn was not actually shown, the film is more realistic than naturalistic.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

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