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Brand


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A: Henrik Ibsen Pf: 1866, Christiania; full version 1885, Stockholm Pb: 1866 Tr: 1906 G: Trag. in 5 acts; Norwegian rhymed verse S: Town on a Norwegian fjord, 1866 C: 11m, 4f, extrasPastor Brand, uncompromisingly devoted to his beliefs and critical of his countrymen's tendency towards compromise, has come to the highlands of Norway. Meeting Einar, a friend from his youth, Brand's robust arguments and courage in crossing the fjord in a storm so impress Einar's fiancée Agnes that she goes with Brand. They live modestly, while Brand devotes himself to ministry in the little community. He demands that his mother give up all her wealth, and when she refuses, will not go to her when she is dying. He refuses to take his sickly son to a warmer climate, and when he dies, insists that Agnes give away all his clothes. She dies from grief. Now quite alone and still convinced of his rightness, Brand builds a new church but, dismayed by the congregation and their leaders, he throws away the key and challenges the populace to follow him into the mountains to found an ideal new community. They set off for the icy wastes but rush back to the town when news comes of a huge shoal of fish in the fjord. Resisting a last temptation by a dream figure of Agnes to accept compromise, he is led by the half-crazed gypsy child Gerd into an avalanche. As he dies, Brand hears the words: ‘God is Love!’

A: Henrik Ibsen Pf: 1866, Christiania; full version 1885, Stockholm Pb: 1866 Tr: 1906 G: Trag. in 5 acts; Norwegian rhymed verse S: Town on a Norwegian fjord, 1866 C: 11m, 4f, extras

Brand's fierce attacks on the complacency of his fellow Norwegians reflect much of Ibsen's thinking, especially after he was forced in 1864 into exile by his fellow countrymen. However, he also recognizes the dangers in the ‘All or nothing’ philosophy of Brand, which was based in part on an idealistic pastor whom Ibsen had known in his home town of Skien, and in part on the ideas of the Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard, who, like Brand, rejected organized religion in favour of seeking truth within oneself.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Henrik Ibsen (1828—1906) Norwegian dramatist


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