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Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) was a Norwegian playwright best known for A Doll’s House, among his many works. Frequently cited as the most influential playwright of the early 20th century, Ibsen’s work was controversial and inspiring. Often regarded as the best dramatist since Shakespeare, Ibsen grew up in poverty, themes that would later be reflected in his work. Ibsen's work includes:
- A Doll's House
- The Lady from the Sea
- Hedda Gabler
- The Master Builder
Henrik Ibsen - A Young Playwright
Ibsen began writing plays while still a teenager. Taking Norwegian folktales as his inspiration, Ibsen struggled for recognition until the publication of Peer Gynt in 1867. Afterwards, Ibsen became the creative director of the Christiania Theater in Oslo, where he began to publish stronger plays and receive acclaim. However, Ibsen soon moved to Italy and Germany, where he produced A Doll’s House in 1879. This play, in particular, was critical of the assigned sex roles of Ibsen’ society. The main character, Nora, leaves her husband and children in order to discover herself, a notion that was highly controversial in its day. Today, A Doll’s House is frequently cited as the world’s most performed play.
Henrik Ibsen's Career
Ibsen’s later career saw the production of more introspective plays such as Hedda Gabler, which again features a strong female protagonist. Ibsen died in 1906 in Oslo having transformed play writing from its Victorian sensibilities into a modern art that moved drama beyond mere entertainment. The Ibsen Museum, his last home, is open for visitors in Oslo.