In this essay, Ibsen’s plays, The Wild Duck, and Ghosts are considered in relation to themes of illusions and realities. In both plays, families are held together by illusions, yet torn apart by truths that have been concealed to protect the children. Ibsen’s use of artistic realism is an ironic art form where illusions and realisms are contradicted to reveal the deeper conflicts of ordinary lives. Ibsen presents the complicated realities of ordinary lives and emphasizes the fact that there are always many realities -- just as there are many illusions.
Illusions and Realities in Ibsen’s Plays The Wild Duck and Ghosts
In Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, illusions and reality are set into a conflict within the story of a son’s personal desire to confront idealism. Throughout much of the play, the son, Greger, argues the value of truth with the reluctant Dr. Relling. Relling insists on the importance of illusions, but fails to discourage Greger’s intentions and a play that begins as a comedy quickly turns into a tragedy because of these conflicts. At the heart of the illusions in this play are the ways that people assume many roles in a family, impersonating multiple ideals as ways for managing their relationships. This theme of impersonation is also developed in Ibsen’s Ghosts, where family relations are slowly undone as the illusions and deceptions are stripped away. In both plays, deceptions are strategic and designed to protect the children from the pains and struggles of their families’ histories. Ultimately, in these plays, families are held together by illusions, yet torn apart by truths that have been concealed to protect the children.
Illusions and Realism
In The Wild Duck, as Relling continues to discourage Greger from revealing damaging truths about family secrets, Relling insists, "If you take away make-believe from the average man, you take away happiness as well" (Ibsen, 294)....