How Does Ibsen Present the Character of Pastor Manders in the Play, Ghosts?

Topics: Religion, Marriage, Faith Pages: 3 (926 words) Published: February 3, 2013
Ibsen presents Pastor Manders throughout the play as a preacher, a priest who tries to lecture the other characters and invite them to religion and morality. Manders is shown as a wise man try to guide this family as the father has been a womanizer and has been recently dead. Therefore, out of despair, the mother of the family, Mrs Alving tries to seek advice from Manders. In fact Ibsen dramatizes Mander as a religious, close-minded, mysterious preacher who clings to dogmatic beliefs and social standards which seem to be destructive rather than being effective.

The main aspect of Manders personality is his strong belief in duty. Throughout the play he invites the members of the family to stick with their duties. This aspect is highly emphasized so that it can be considered as a major theme in the play. When Mrs Alving turns to Manders trying to escape from home and enjoy her own life, it is Manders who dissuade her. As Manders quotes “ But a wife is not appointed to be her husband’s judge. It was your duty to bear humility the cross which a Higher Power had, in its wisdom, laid upon you.” (p 22). He believes that it’s her duty to tolerates all the humility which has fallen upon her. In order to save her good name and reputation no matter if it costs her life. Here Ibsen is criticizing Victorians who blindly had to follow the social standards without questioning them. As a priest he seems to dictate his beliefs in social standards and religion to almost everyone without considering the consequences of his sermons, as he says, “ It is my duty to say to you” (p 23). In another conversation with Mrs Alving, Manders states, “ We have simply to do our duty, Mrs. Alving! And your duty was to hold firmly to the man you had once chosen, and to whom you were bound by the holiest ties.” (p 22). Ibsen here depicts another ugly side of tradition belief in duty. No matter how unfaithful the husband is, the wife is to stick to her duty as the mother of children and stay in...
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