The Master Builder (Mobi Classics)
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The Master Builder was the first work Ibsen wrote upon after his return to Norway from Europe in July 1891. It is generally grouped with the three other works written during this late period of Ibsen's life - Little Eyolf, John Gabriel Borkman, and When We Dead Awaken - as "symbolic plays" which lack the thematic clarity of such earlier works as Hedda Gabler. Early reactions to the play by Ibsen's critics were mixed, probably due its heightened symbolism, much of which is unclear. Hilde, for example, seems to alternate roles between an inspiring force, urging Solness to temper his rampant ambition and pursue real happiness, and a temptress, pushing Solness to commitments he cannot possibly make. English critic William Archer, however, has suggested that the play is not as completely symbolic as some have maintained, interpreting it instead as "a history of a sickly conscience, worked out in terms of pure psychology." He notes that in this regard the play is similar to earlier Ibsen works which deal mainly with a retrospective look at a character's psyche. Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.