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Master Builder (Gosse & Archer Translation)

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By: (1828-1906)

Master Builder is a thought-provoking play that explores themes of power, ambition, and the consequences of unchecked egotism. The story follows the brilliant architect Halvard Solness, whose career has been marked by success and acclaim, but whose personal life is plagued by insecurities and regrets.

As the play unfolds, we see Solness grapple with his own desires for greatness and domination, often at the expense of those around him. His relationships with his employees, his wife, and a young aspiring architect all reveal the depths of his arrogance and manipulation.

The tension builds as Solness's past actions come back to haunt him, forcing him to confront the consequences of his choices and the toll they have taken on his soul. The ending is both tragic and hopeful, leaving the audience to contemplate the true nature of success and happiness.

The language in this translation by Gosse & Archer is eloquent and emotive, capturing the complexities of Ibsen's characters and their struggles. The pacing is brisk, keeping the audience engaged from start to finish.

Overall, Master Builder is a captivating and thought-provoking play that offers a compelling exploration of human nature and the price of ambition. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in classic literature or psychological drama.

Book Description:
Halvard Solness is a master architect who has ruthlessly forged a preëminent career without regard for the feelings of those around him. In spite of this unscrupulous path of life, his conscience is still painfully alive, burdening him with guilt for past choices. He lives a tormented existence, fearful not only that he is going mad but also that he has unconsciously been in league with demonic powers in order to reach his present status. His long-suffering wife and his mistress try to deal with him in his fragile state while not being destroyed themselves. Into this fraught situation suddenly arrives the dangerous Hilda Wangel, an eldritch young woman claiming a special relationship with Solness from his past.

One of the five great plays of Ibsen’s final period, “The Master Builder” is laden with layers of symbolic significance. Like most Ibsen works, it begins quietly with dialogue between quite ordinary people and only gradually reveals its depths of meaning and power. Summary by Expatriate

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