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The Feast at Solhoug   By: (1828-1906)

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The Feast at Solhoug by Henrik Ibsen is a compelling play that delves into themes of power, love, and sacrifice. Set in a small village, the story revolves around the residents of Solhoug Manor and their intertwined relationships.

One of the notable aspects of the play is the way Ibsen skillfully explores the dynamics of power. The central conflict arises when Margit, the Lady of Solhoug, refuses to marry her suitor, Gunnar, unless he can bring her the last surviving heir of Solhoug. This plot device sets in motion a series of power struggles, as each character vies for control and influence over the others.

Love is another central theme explored throughout the play. The complicated love triangle between Margit, her sister Signe, and the charismatic stranger Falk adds a layer of tension and emotion to the narrative. The intertwining romances, which are filled with passion and longing, provide insight into the complexities of human relationships.

Furthermore, The Feast at Solhoug delves into the theme of sacrifice. Both Margit and Signe find themselves torn between duty and personal desires. Their choices and sacrifices reveal the depths of their character, highlighting the transformative power of love and selflessness.

Ibsen's writing is masterful, effectively capturing the essence of each character and their motivations. The dialogue is sharp and engaging, revealing the characters' inner thoughts and emotions. Additionally, the play's pacing is well-executed, with moments of intensity and quiet reflection carefully balanced throughout.

The Feast at Solhoug, while lesser-known compared to Ibsen's later works, is nevertheless a captivating play that showcases the playwright's talent for exploring complex human nature. Through themes of power, love, and sacrifice, Ibsen presents a thought-provoking narrative that resonates with readers long after the final curtain falls.

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E text prepared by Douglas Levy




From The Collected Works of Henrik Ibsen, Volume 1 Revised and Edited by William Archer

Translation by William Archer and Mary Morrison


Exactly a year after the production of Lady Inger of Ostrat that is to say on the "Foundation Day" of the Bergen Theatre, January 2, 1866 The Feast at Solhoug was produced. The poet himself has written its history in full in the Preface to the second edition. The only comment that need be made upon his rejoinder to his critics has been made, with perfect fairness as it seems to me, by George Brandes in the following passage: "No one who is unacquainted with the Scandinavian languages can fully understand the charm that the style and melody of the old ballads exercise upon the Scandinavian mind. The beautiful ballads and songs of Des Knaben Wunderhorn have perhaps had a similar power over German minds; but, as far as I am aware, no German poet has has ever succeeded in inventing a metre suitable for dramatic purposes, which yet retained the mediaeval ballad's sonorous swing and rich aroma. The explanation of the powerful impression produced in its day by Henrik Hertz's Svend Dyring's House is to be found in the fact that in it, for the first time, the problem was solved of how to fashion a metre akin to that of the heroic ballads, a metre possessing as great mobility as the verse of the Niebelungenlied , along with a dramatic value not inferior to that of the pentameter... Continue reading book >>

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