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The Lady from the Sea

Henrik Ibsen

Book Overview: 

The title character in Ibsen's drama, Ellida Wangel, is married to a prosperous doctor, but feels stifled by her roles as wife and stepmother to her husband's two daughters by a previous marriage, Hilde and Bolette. Ten years earlier she had promised to marry another man - and on a sultry summer day, he comes back to her. Ellida must decide whether to choose the safety of her life with Wangel, or to yield to the siren song of the sea.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . home; and that was very fortunate for me.

Arnholm. What do you mean?

Lyngstrand. Yes, for it was in the shipwreck that I got this little weakness—of my chest. I was so long in the ice-cold water before they picked me up; and so I had to give up the sea. Yes, that was very fortunate.

Arnholm. Indeed! Do you think so?

Lyngstrand. Yes, for the weakness isn't dangerous; and now I can be a sculptor, as I so dearly want to be. Just think; to model in that delicious clay, that yields so caressingly to your fingers!

Ellida. And what are you going to model? Is it to be mermen and mermaids? Or is it to be old Vikings?

Lyngstrand. No, not that. As soon as I can set about it, I am going to try if I can produce a great work—a group, as they call it.

Ellida. Yes; but what's the group to be?

Lyngstrand. Oh! something I've experienced myself.

Arnholm. Yes, yes; always stick . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Dem Irrtum erlegen, "Die Frau vom Meer" gehöre zu den Dramen, die ich noch nicht von Henrik Ibsen gelesen habe, stieß ich bald auf die ersten Unterstreichungen, die ich vor fünfzehn Jahren vorgenommen haben muss. Aber selbst bis zur letzten Seite hin erkannte ich keine Szene und keine Charaktere...more

Available at BBC Radio 3.

A new version of Ibsen's late drama, adapted for radio by Frank McGuinness.
Before her marriage to Dr Wangel, Ellida, his second wife, had promised herself to a sailor who then disappeared. Years later, Ellida's family life is strained. Her relations with her step-daughter...more

There's a point near the end of this play that I really like. Ellida has married nice, sensible Dr. Wangel, but her heart still belongs to the sailor she knew all those years ago, who mysteriously disappeared. She can feel his presence through these strange signs. The strangest of them all was th...more

جامعهی مردسالارانهی نروژِ زمان ایبسن، علیرغم احترام ظاهریاش به زنان (رفتار عروسکوار با آنها)، چنان عرصه را بر زنان تنگ میکند که پایان داستانهای ایبسن، همواره با تنها راه رهایی (یعنی خودکشی، یا فرار از خانهی شوهر) همراه است.
به عبارتی، جامعه هیچگاه در خودش تغییر بوجود نمیآورد و مصلحانش را دشمن مردم...more

Regarding Ibsen, Maugham said it best. Although the quote is lost to me now, it goes something like this- So Ibsen spent a really long time writing plays, he was always wracked for plot ideas, until at last would fall back on the same plot he had used time and time before-some people are together...more

I enjoyed this play, something mysterious about it; not a mystery, just a somewhat strange story line that is less about the sea than you might think from the title. Ibsen's characters were beautifully conceived, probably the best thing about the play, and the ending has a bit of a twist.

Another very enjoyable play from Ibsen. I love his work. He has the ability to enfold a moral truth in a compelling story like a beautiful multi-coloured and multi-textured fabric hiding and protecting a precious gem. One can feast on the beauty of the wrapping while anticipating the surprise wit...more

”Adio doamnă; de acum încolo, ești doar un naufragiu în viața mea.”

Femeia mării mi-a lăsat o umbră de melancolie în gând; tristețea se ascunde undeva în cuvintele marinarului pierdut în valurile vieții.

A lost love returns
15 March 2015

Okay, I have mentioned before that reading a play can be somewhat more difficult that watching it performed; one of the reasons being that sometimes it is difficult to differentiate the characters. However, after being forced to put this play down after reading th...more

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