One of the best-known, most frequently performed of modern plays, displaying Ibsen's genius for realistic prose drama. A classic expression of women's rights, the play builds to a climax in which the central character, Nora, rejects a smothering marriage and life in "a doll's house."
The three plays in this volume cover the period during which Ibsen (1828-1906) was preoccupied wih realistic problems of personal and social morality. In The Pillars of the Community, partly by means of symbolism, he exposes the effects of a lie told to preserve a man's public reputation. The solution - to admit the truth - scarcely seemed so simple seven years later, when Ibsen completed The Wild Duck in apparent disillusionment. Hedda Gabler, the latest of these plays, is both a drama of individual conflict and a partial return to social themes.
Of the three plays in this volume, Ghosts and A Public Enemy are social dramas of his middle period; and the former, described by one London critic as "an open sewer", raised the greatest outcry of all Ibsen's attacks on convention. When We Dead Wake, his last play, handles in a symbolic manner the individual's inner conflict and, incidentally, provides the dramatist's own comment on his lifework and his renunciation of verse.