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H. Ibsen: A playwright destined to unmake custom

Published on : 20 March 2019, 08:04 AM
H. Ibsen: A playwright destined to unmake custom

Today marks the 191st birth anniversary of famous Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet Henrik Johan Ibsen. On this day of 1828, Ibsen was born in the small port town of Skien in Telemark county in Norway into a well-to-do merchant family.

Ibesen unfortunately had a difficult and troubled childhood because of his family failing in business repeatedly and by the separation of her parents. As a teenager, he moved to Grimstad to work as an assistant in a pharmacy. His true education was self-taught and thus, preparing himself hard, he succeeded in passing the entrance exam to the university with the intention of studying medicine, an idea that he soon was stung by an incipient theatrical vocation.

With just 23 years old, in 1851, he was hired as an author by the National Theatre of Bergen -of which he would become stage director- and there he stayed for six years soaking up the theatrical world. In 1852, as part of his training, he made a trip to Copenhagen and Dresden. He was fascinated by Herrmann Hettner`s The Modern Drama, which greatly influenced his work afterward. They were fruitful years that helped him shape the trade. Of course, Shiller and the Danish Johan Ludvig also inspired him, among others. In 1857 he returned to Christiania to assume the direction role of the Norwegian Theatre and stayed there for another five years.

By this time, he married Suzannah Thoresen on June 18, 1858. Just a year after their marriage, Suzannah gave birth to Sigurd, the only child of them. Henrik and Suzannah did not have a luxurious life, they had gone through financial crisis. Being disenchanted with life, Ibsen left Norway and moved to Italy. He did not return to his homeland for 27 years and when he did return, he was a noted playwright.

He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902, 1903, and 1904. He was one of the most influential playwrights who modernized the theatre. For his great works in arts and culture, he is dubbed as ‘The Father of Realism’.

Ibsen died in Christiania -now Oslo- on 23 May, 1906. The world remembers this distinguished playwright with the utmost respect on his birthday.


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