Ibsen and Words of Liberty

Rajeev Ahmed | ১৭ এপ্রিল ২০০৮ ৪:২৭ অপরাহ্ন

This often misunderstood Norwegian playwright once remarked, “With pleasure I will torpedo the ark.” As a young writer, he was discontent with everything. He found himself ibsen.jpg……
Centennial Essays On Ibsen / Edited by Niaz Zaman & Sadrul Amin / Published by the Department of English, University of Dhaka. / Cover Painting: Nazlee Laila Mansur / Cover Design: Zahirul Islam Auntor / Price: 200.00 taka
unable to identify with any existing forms of drama, so Henrik Ibsen- the second most performed playwright in the prestigious stages of the world after William Shakespeare, set out to create his own.

Ibsen experienced multiple shifts in dramatic form and philosophy as he gradually came to terms with the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual forces that were at war within his complex psyche. But throughout, his plays are characterized by their rebellious spirit and their unforgiving scrutiny of Ibsen’s own faults and virtues.

The book “Centennial Essays on Ibsen” is the literary piece of work of a couple of days Ibsen Commemoration organized by the English Department of Dhaka University, in May 2006. It is one of the most convivial tributes to the Father of Modern Realistic Drama on his hundredth anniversary of death from Bangladeshi and Norwegian scholars, academics and students.

This book contains seventeen in-depth analyses on Ibsen’s work and his astringent vision towards the modern society. Jon Nygaard, in his paper titled “Ibsen’s Vision of Identity, ibsen2.jpg…….
Henrik Johan Ibsen (March 20, 1828–May 23, 1906)
Freedom and Power” explained ‘Modernity’, which is the institutions and forms of behavior established first of all in post-feudal Europe. Modernism is a system that created an “Iron cage” or a stable, disciplined life which undermined the individuality of each social sector, and produced in the nineteenth century a series of philosophers of anti-capitalism, anti-modernism and anti-industrialism like Hegel, Kierkegaard, Carl Marx and Nietzsche. Including theories of modernity Nygaard focused on several issues like the difference between Classical and Modern condition, the interrelation between the State and the Individual, the paradox of modernity in which Nygaard said that the state of Ibsen was against freedom because the new political freedoms reduced and sometimes killed the amazing dream of freedom. This paradox of revolution is interestingly paralleled in the paradox of modernism. Mr. Nygaard also showed the difference and a little similarity between bloodthirsty French Revolution and the Silent Revolution of Norway.

As a poet, Ibsen dispersedly expressed his thoughts and personal views on politics, ideals, war, cowardice, art and cultural, love and dislikes. Ketil Jensehaugen, in his essay titled “The Poet Henrik Ibsen” had a great observation on Ibsen’s poems. He noticed that at the time when Ibsen was publishing his poems, he seemed to have given up on the nationalistic idealism as a liberating force, and turned to individualism which is a task of the courageous artiste to change the minds of people and the prevailed societal norms in a radical way, and not the politicians with their compromises.

In the article “Strains and Conflicts in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House: A Reification of the Drama within the Modern Nuclear Family” by Md. Salah Uddin Al Faruque tried to defend Helmer, husband of Nora, by blaming on capitalist economic system. According to his revelation the sustainability of conjugal happiness depends on a dialectically transformed relationship between husband and wife. And this conjugal happiness can be swept up with the infection of avarice, materialism and a possessive mentality which are offered by capitalism. But the writer of the article ignored the truth that capitalism and modernism are associated with the notions of patriarchy or in other words male-dominating society.

What is a woman supposed to do? And what does she do? Dilruba Jahan, Tasik Mumin and Umme Kulsum made an effort to find women’s role in society as co-writer of the part titled “Nora and Hedda: Disillusionment and Anguish in Search of Women’s Identity”. Nora and Hedda, two major characters of two famous plays “A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler, attempt to unmask themselves from the conventional relationships and strings with their husbands, their fathers, their male admirers and other character of the society by their self-awareness that they achieved from their everyday experiences of their post-feudal families. These two characters have strong feminine approach towards the society by deserting the male-dominated society’s determined roles for women. In another essay by Kajal Bandyopadhyay, we find the same opinion about female power and apostasy. The search for freedom can be seen in Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”. The similarity is noticed by Rifat Mahbub and Jiniya Afroze in their article titled “Ibsen’s a Doll’s House and Chopin’s The Awakening: Nora and Edna’s search for Freedom”. But the basic difference between Nora and Edna is the decision of leaving the house like a runaway to find Nora’s own freedom and Edna’s idea of freedom embodies the freedom of her physical, emotional and intellectual selves.

“Nora as a Witch-Like Figure” by the co-writers, Farhanaz Rabbani and Golam Gaus Al-Quaderi is a very interesting essay to read. The Co-writers presented the history of witch craft and answered the question why the witchcraft was associated with women. They explained different traits of witches such as alienation, pretension and secrecy, and heresy. Judging from the course of history the co-writer said that a witch was different because of the way she perceived society and also by the way society perceived her. If the play was written in middle age, Nora might be portrayed as a witch by the playwright. In this part the writers, through an intriguing angle and a feudalistic way made an effort to look at Nora.

Ibsen’s plays have the universal appeal and that is the main reason why his plays are still staged in almost all countries. The idea of Liberation and Freedom is the main source of power of his plays. From feminism to world revolution, Ibsen’s plays are the most influential elements of performing art amongst the cultural activists throughout the world. Asma Chowdhury in her article “The Relevance of Ibsen Today” concluded that Ibsen’s character came from the middle strata of society.

Ibsen’s treatment of individuals lays bare the innermost sentiments of people who are at once vicious and innocent. Muhammad saiful Islam on his essay “Hedda Gabler: An Explication of power Games” wrote that the desire to control another individual makes the characters of Hedda Gabler shameless manipulators of power. In Hedda Gabler power is a force that subjects, dominates and abuses individuals. The pace and changes of the society of late nineteenth century and its power game within the family and outside the family like nation to nation lead the world into the 1st world war of early twentieth century.

Literature, as the record of universal experience, has gradually acquired certain symbols that have become conventionalized–a kind of stage property of poets and artists and common people. The lily is a symbol of purity, the eagle of strength, red of passion, and gray of peace. These are symbols that carry their meaning in the mere naming of them. In “Symbolism in Ibsen’s The Wild Duck”, by Tania Tahmina, the central symbol is everywhere and it is what helps to tie everything together. The Wild duck represent liars with broken dreams, captivated in the poisonous marshes and never to soar again.

“Patriarchy and Machismo in Ibsen’s Plays” by Afrin Zeenat declared that Ibsen was not merely an entertainer. His plays were intended to change and develop the social relations between people in the world. He always tried to portray female character that is in every sense superior to male character. Over and over again, his female characters get important confronting the male character.

Introducing colloquial prose dialogues of the ordinary people, Ibsen is the first major dramatist of the nineteenth century to write modern tragedy. Unfolding the Christian zeal and fundamentalist insanity K. Rezaur Rahman compares Ibsen’s Brand with The Spire of william Golding. At the end, Mr. Rahman shows the defeat of two characters, Brand and Jocelin, is a yell of silence against the fundamentalism and sense of guilt. In the next essay “Ibsen and Miller” by Sadrul Amin and Nafisa Jamal, we find similarities and to what extent the former influenced the latter. Both the writers can be understood by their lives and works. Though the American playwright Mr. Miller had the seriousness to show a social that defines humanity. On the other hand Ibsen’s works were focused on the regular country affairs. But it is universal that both of the writers had a vision to make this world a better place to live in. Nowadays, that social commitment of the writers is nearly brushed away.

Satyajit Ray counterbalanced the materialism of society and his positive criticism towards capitalism is portrayed in his film “Ganoshatru”, that is an example of trans-culture with the Enemy of the people by Ibsen. In the essay “trasculturation in Enemy of the People and Ganoshatru”, Zerin alam and Nuzhat Amin had few observations like Mr. Ray’s protagonist character was not that radical as Ibsen indicated in his plays.

The most interesting part to me of that book is “Re-reading Ibsen” by Niaz Zaman. Here I found a unique and completely different revelation of Ibsen. One can easily perceive that the writer studied a lot while she intended to write on Ibsen. In her paper she said that Ibsen modified the idea of Greek tragedy by conveying the complexities of his own age, by making his plays far from simplistic portrayal of the world around him, by exploring the mind of women of post-feudal period, by suggesting the necessity of both men and women in art as in life. Dr. Niaz also remarked on the introduction of Nora. She said, her introduction is also a contribution to tragedy by Ibsen. “His plays are in the Greek sense, modified though they are by the passage of centuries which has removed the gods and God form the equation” she concludes.

In last two papers, the experience of Tahmina Ahmed while she was staging a play (A dolls house) of Ibsen and Ibsen’s popularity in Bangladesh by Shawkat Hossain explored the impact of Ibsen in Bangladeshi art and literature. The dialectics of character in Ibsen’s plays can be alive and multi-dimensional when someone directs those on the stage. And the students, who can recognize Ibsen with a floating knowledge of his works, also can get the spirit of refreshing freedom by studying a little more.

Now we are on a conclusion of that book review. After finishing this journey that stopped in seventeen ports I can say Ibsen was in far away from intellectual boundaries. Though we are making our journey increasingly difficult by political and economical boundaries, A Norwegian proved that one can be a universal figure by exterminating the prejudice of intellectuality. We can also conclude that, as a poet of prime importance, as an original and in many ways revolutionary thinker, as dramatic craftsman and artist Ibsen is rightly considered the greatest of modern dramatists, and one of the few dramatists of all time.


সর্বাধিক পঠিত

প্রতিক্রিয়া (0) »

এখনও কোনো প্রতিক্রিয়া আসেনি

আর এস এস

আপনার প্রতিক্রিয়া জানান

প্রতিক্রিয়া লেখার সময় লক্ষ্য রাখুন:
১. ছদ্মনামে করা প্রতিক্রিয়া এবং ব্যক্তিগত পরিচয়ের সূত্রে করা প্রতিক্রিয়া গৃহীত হবে না। বিষয়সংশ্লিষ্ট প্রতিক্রিয়া জানান।
২. বাংলা লেখায় ইংরেজিতে প্রতিক্রিয়া বা রোমান হরফে লেখা বাংলা প্রতিক্রিয়া গৃহীত হবে না।
৩. পেস্ট করা বিজয়-এ লিখিত বাংলা প্রতিক্রিয়া ব্রাউজারের কারণে রোমান হরফে দেখা যেতে পারে। তাতে সমস্যা নেই।

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy  |  About us  |  Contact us

© bdnews24.com