86529 : The Master Builder
The ethics of form and space

The Master builder by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen was first published in 1892 and preformed shortly thereafter .   Halvard Solness the central eccentric character is a highly successful master builder, a bold, difficult and arrogant personality who has little empathy for the people in his office who have built his success .  The plays is commonly categorized as realism but as the characters develop a raw psychological locus the critique of a more symbolic and problematic nature develops.  Subtle hints of demagogy fray the ethical standing of the master builder and the play takes on a binary approach that measures the weakness of powerful abusive men who hide behind a manipulative and narcissistic shield.  His brutality is tempered when the young  carefree Hilda Wangel enters the stage.  Hilda reminds Halvard that they had meet a decade earlier when he had built the cathedral in her village and had come to her parents’ house when she was only 13, where he had made sexual advances,  kissing her and promising her a palace. The play renders a myriad of tense relationships causing us to reevaluate the normalcy of ones actions and the damaging effect of our behavior in the complex strata of status youth and age.


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