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Having defaulted in her wifely duty, she also neglected her duty as a mother, Manders goes on. She says that her husband's scandalous conduct invaded the walls of this very house for she witnessed Alving's approaches to the servant Joanna. Alving continues, "and that intimacy had consequences." Only later on does Manders discover that the "consequences" are Regina. Alving goes on to describe how she sat up with her husband during his drinking bouts, being his companion so he would not leave the house to seek others.Because she sent Oswald to boarding schools all his life rather than educating him at home, the child has become a thorough profligate. She had to listen to his ribald talk and then, with brute force, bring him to bed.Summary Regina Engstrand, a young girl in service for Mrs. She tries to prevent her father, Jacob Engstrand, from entering.
She regards the occasion as the end of "this long dreadful comedy." After tomorrow she shall feel as if the dead husband had never lived here. Engstrand's appearance keynotes the theme of a depraved parent who ensnares his child in his own dissolution, especially as the carpenter asks Regina to join him in his planned enterprise.
Then "there will be no one else here but my boy and his mother," she declares. Implying that she is not his true-born daughter, Ibsen also introduces the theme that children, although unaware of their origins, inherit qualities from their parents.
The respectability and social orthodoxy which he expresses in phrases like "daughter's duty" rather than defining his principles through thoughtful investigations, show that Manders supports anyone whose cant agrees with his own. Arranged on the table which stands between them, these volumes are in fact their first subject of dissension. Alving shows she is no longer satisfied by dogma; she must learn truth through her own experience. Having established these intellectual qualities of the mother, Ibsen now brings forth Oswald. Alving's life, he presents the greatest problem she will confront.
One does not have to read them to denounce them, Manders states. Since Manders indicates no ability to learn anything not expressed in pious formulas, we cannot expect his character to change during the drama. Alving, on the other hand, welcoming controversy and opposing the results of her experience to what she has always been taught, is fully prepared to face the full impact of events forthcoming in the rest of the play. This arrangement of character introduction suggests the opposing tensions of the play.
Regina, her dead mother, and Engstrand parallel Oswald, his mother, and the dead Mr. One side represents that part of society whose members have loose morals, aspirations to gentility, and who grab at whatever opportunity for self-betterment they can; the other side represents the best in society, a group whose members are cultured, propertied, and have strong ethics.
In the middle, as if he were a fulcrum balancing the extremes, stands Pastor Manders.It is his duty to speak now, but not just as a friend, Manders says, "it is your priest that stands before you just as he once did at the most critical moment of your life." He reminds her how she came to him after the first year of marriage, refusing to return to her husband.She softly reminds him that the first year was "unspeakably unhappy." To crave for happiness is simply to be "possessed by a spirit of revolt," he answers.Why he assured me so himself." Manders thinks it would be best for Engstrand if Regina returned to live with him, but Mrs. Alving quickly insists that her son takes after her.During their conversation, Oswald shocks the pastor by depicting the fidelity and beauty of family life among the common-law marriages of his fellow painters in Paris.She endured all this for Oswald's sake, sending him to boarding schools when he was old enough to ask questions.As long as his father was alive, Oswald never set foot in his home.Bound in marriage by a "sacred bond" her duty was "to cleave to the man you had chosen"; though a husband be profligate, a wife's duty is to bear the cross laid upon her shoulders by "a higher will," Manders continues. Alving answers, for Manders knew nothing of her life from that moment on.It was imprudent for her to have sought refuge with him at the time, and he is proud to have had the strength of character to lead her back "to the path of duty" and back to her husband. He must know now "that my husband died just as great a profligate as he had been all his life." In fact, she tells him, a disease he contracted from his lifelong excesses caused his death. To think that all the years of her wedded life were nothing but "a hidden abyss of misery" makes his brain reel.Engstrand has come to ask Regina to live with him and work for him in his planned "seamen's home." He says he has saved enough money from doing carpentry work on the new orphanage to begin this enterprise and now that she has grown into "such a fine wench" she would be a valuable asset. Politely inquiring after Oswald, Manders then asks who reads these books. Alving, there are many occasions in life when one has to rely on the opinions of others.He clearly implies that this seamen's home will be a high class brothel. Since Engstrand requires a strong influence to keep him from drinking, Manders suggests that Regina, out of filial duty, return to live with him and be "the guiding hand" in her father's life. He gives a start after reading the title page of one, and with increasing disapproval looks at some others. Shocked to find they are hers, he wonders how such readings could contribute to her feeling of self-reliance, as she puts it, or how they can confirm her own impressions. "I have read quite enough about them to disapprove of them," he answers. That is the way in the world, and it is quite right that it should be so. He now wishes to discuss their mutual business — the Captain Alving Orphanage — built by Mrs. Although she has left all the arrangements to Manders, he wants to ask whether they should insure the buildings.