A play in four acts
Translated by R. FARQUHARSON SHARP
John Rosmer, of Rosmersholm, an ex-clergyman.
Rebecca West, one of his household, originally engaged as
companion to the late Mrs. Rosmer.
Kroll, headmaster of the local grammar school, Rosmer's brother-
Mrs. Helseth, Rosmer's housekeeper.
(The action takes place at Rosmersholm, an old manor-house in the neighbourhood of a small town on a fjord in western Norway.)
(SCENE--The sitting-room at Rosmersholm; a spacious room, comfortably furnished in old-fashioned style. In the foreground, against the right-hand wall, is a stove decorated with sprigs of fresh birch and wild flowers. Farther back, a door. In the back wall folding doors leading into the entrance hall. In the left- hand wall a window, in front of which is a stand filled with flowers and plants. Near the stove stand a table, a couch and an easy-chair. The walls are hung round with portraits, dating from various periods, of clergymen, military officers and other officials in uniform. The window is open, and so are the doors into the lobby and the outer door. Through the latter is seen an avenue of old trees leading to a courtyard. It is a summer evening, after sunset. REBECCA WEST is sitting by the window crocheting a large white woollen shawl, which is nearly completed. From time to time she peeps out of window through the flowers. MRS. HELSETH comes in from the right.)
Rosmersholm is a play written in 1886 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In the estimation of many critics the piece is Ibsen's masterwork, only equalled by The Wild Duck of 1884. As expressed by the protagonist, Rosmer, the theme of the play is social and political change, in which the traditional ruling classes relinquish their right to impose their ideals on the rest of society, but the action is entirely personal, resting on the conduct of the immoral, or amoral, "free thinking" heroine, Rebecca, who sets herself to undermine Rosmer's religious and political beliefs because of his influential position in the community. Rebecca has abandoned not only Christianity but, unlike Rosmer, she has abandoned the whole ethical system of Christianity as well. Possibly she may be taken as Ibsen's answer to the question of whether or not Christian ethics can be expected to survive the death of the Christian religion.
Download Rosmersholm from Project Gutenberg
or find a paper copy
Other books by Henrik:
- An Enemy Of The People
- Hedda Gabler
- The Lady From The Sea
- The Master Builder
- Pillars of Society
- When We Dead Awaken
- The Doll's House
- Early Plays
- Little Eyolf
- The Feast at Solhoug