The role of Regina in Henrik Ibsen’s, Ghosts.
Within the first scene, Regina’s duplicitous character is revealed as colloquial and disrespectful language is used when addressing the drunken Engstrand, ‘Make less noise with that hoof’ (Isben, 2008, p. 4). Isben modifies her language to enhance Regina’s obvious distaste for Engstrand and his way of being, as she speaks plainly towards her supposed father as she recalls his mistreatment of her as he referred to his daughter as ‘nothing’. The sexuality shown in Regina’s character is also poignant within the first scene as Engstrand tries to persuade her to work for him entertaining sailors. Regina rejects this idea saying; ‘I wouldn’t marry a man like that. I know all about the wanderings of the sea’ (2008, p. 9). The unadorned, almost aggressive way in which Regina speaks to her father starkly contrasts the false politeness used when she’s speaking to Pastor Manders in the following scene. In response to the Pastor’s observation of Regina having ‘grown’, she retorts, furthering the evocative nature of the conversation, ‘Do you think so Pastor? Madame says I’ve filled out too’ (2008, p. 12). There seems to be coyness to the formerly blunt side to Regina we’ve just seen. The obvious difference in Regina’s reaction to both men displays her desire to move up in the world and her talent for subtle manipulation using her feminine wiles seems pivotal in achieving her goals due to her lowly stature as a maid. The role of Regina is also poignant when discussing the theme of the subjugation of women in the play. Isben uses feminine ideals displayed in Mrs Alving’s character to accentuate Regina’s strength of spirit. Mrs Alving’s martyrdom with regards to her endurance within an unhappy marriage despite Captain Alving’s adultery is supported in Act one. Mrs Alving and Pastor Manders touch upon their former attraction and the opportunity Mrs Alving missed to escape the ‘roaring misery’ (2008, p. 36) she suffered bound to a...
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