Myth and Neurosis in Ibsen's Mature Plays


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Myth and realism are quite incompatible, we suppose. Their curious marriage in Ibsen's plays, in which mythic patterns are enacted by the Norwegian burghers and their matrons, poses problems which call the nature of modern myth criticism into question. The case is not unique, of course. Eliot praised Joyce's use of myth in Ulysses, and described its function as that of a template, imposing form of the chaos of modern life.1 But Ibsen, writing earlier, depicts not a chaotic world which needs shaping, but a highly structured world in the process of unravelling.

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