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Henrik Ibsen's Prose Dramas Vol III Lady Inger of Ostrat   By: (1828-1906)

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Henrik Ibsen's Prose Dramas Vol III Lady Inger of Ostrat is a compelling play that delves into the complex themes of power, deceit, and societal constraints. Set in 16th-century Norway, the narrative follows Lady Inger Gyldenløve, a powerful noblewoman from Ostrat, as she navigates the treacherous political landscape of her time.

From the very beginning, Ibsen skillfully establishes a tense and ominous atmosphere. Lady Inger's stronghold becomes a microcosm of the power struggles among the nobility, as they strive to maintain their influence and secure their place in society. The playwright expertly builds tension by revealing the characters' hidden agendas and secrets, gradually unraveling the complexities of each individual's motivations.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the play is the character of Lady Inger herself. Strong-willed and fiercely independent, she embodies a woman struggling against the limitations imposed on her by society. Her desire for power and control drives her actions, but her path is not without its moral dilemmas. As the plot unfolds, Lady Inger is forced to confront the consequences of her choices, ultimately questioning her own integrity.

Ibsen masterfully explores the dynamics between the characters, revealing the intricate web of alliances and betrayals that define their relationships. The dialogue is rich and thought-provoking, often serving as a platform for intense debates on morality, loyalty, and the role of women in a patriarchal society. Each character is distinct, nuanced, and flawed, contributing to the play's depth and realism.

Furthermore, Ibsen's use of symbolism adds another layer of complexity to the story. The Ostrat fortress becomes a symbol of the suffocating confinement and isolation experienced by Lady Inger, mirroring the societal expectations placed upon her. The constant presence of the past haunts the characters, highlighting the weight of history and tradition in shaping their destinies.

In terms of style, the prose is captivating and evocative. Ibsen's vivid descriptions transport the reader to the heart of the Norwegian landscape, while his insightful reflections on human nature resonate long after the final page. The translation, though not without its occasional stumbles, effectively captures the intensity and emotional depth of the original work, making it accessible to a wider audience.

While Lady Inger of Ostrat may not be as well-known as some of Ibsen's other plays, it is certainly a hidden gem worth discovering. It remains a thought-provoking exploration of power dynamics, personal integrity, and the struggle for liberation in a society governed by rigid conventions. With its well-crafted characters, engaging plot, and powerful themes, this play stands as a testament to Ibsen's exceptional storytelling abilities and enduring relevance.

First Page:


LADY INGER OF OSTRAT, Translation by Charles Archer



LADY INGER OTTISDAUGHTER ROMER, widow of High Steward Nils Gyldenlove. ELINA GYLDENLOVE, her daughter. NILS LYKKE, Danish knight and councilor. OLAF SKAKTAVL, an outlawed Norwegian noble. NILS STENSSON. JENS BIELKE, Swedish commander. BIORN, major domo at Ostrat. FINN, a servant. EINAR HUK, bailiff at Ostrat. Servants, peasants, and Swedish men at arms.

The action takes place at Ostrat Manor, on the Trondhiem Fiord, the year 1528.

[PRONUNCIATION of NAMES. Ostrat=Ostrot; Inger=Ingher (g nearly as in "ringer"); Gyldenlove=Ghyldenlove; Elina (Norwegian, Eline)= Eleena; Stennson=Staynson; Biorn=Byorn; Jens Bielke=Yens Byelke; Huk=Hook. The final e's and the o's pronounced much as in German.]

Producer's Notes:

1. Diacritical Marks in Characters' names:

Romer, umlaut (diaresis) above the "o" Ostrat, umlaut above the "O", ring above the "a" Gyldenlove, umlaut above the "o" Biorn, umlaut above the "o"

2. All the text inside parentheses in the original is printed in italics, save for the characters' names. I've eliminated the usual markings indicating italics for the sake of readability. D. L.


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