Character Sketch of Mrs alving in Ghosts
The leading character of Ghosts – Mrs. Alving is brought up as a compliant girl to become a devoted wife. She enters in an incredible way. There is no physical or verbal allusion. There is a kind of external mark that covers the play. It comes so naturally to her that we get the feeling that it is a known coverlet to her and is accepted easily without anybody’s notice. This particular gloom that exists in the background provides a satirical comment on her assertion to read and think what would give pleasure to her. She is the founder of the Orphanage with its mark and insincerity and she is ready to restrict her freedom to speak the thoughts that existed in her mind. She accepts to mollify caucus by not using the Orphanage in a wrong way.
Ibsen has drawn the character of Mrs. Alving very elaborately. Moreover, her portrayal is realistic too. We can actually see her live throughout the play. Her agony can be, in fact, experienced by us all. He character grows inch by inch before us. She is painted in vibrating hues: We see her as a wife, as a lover, as a master and as a mother.
The readers come to know of her trouble. She is bolstered by her son’s frankness. She is shocked by the conservative judgement passed by Pastor Manders on her attempt to place herself under his protection, in the very first year of married life. She openly says that her husband, captain Alving, led a “debauched life.” He lived with his vices throughout his life; and died diseased and depraved. It was like Engstrand is – a drunkard. He committed the biggest crime by seducing the maid, Johanna, who gave birth to Regina.
Mrs. Alving is tortured with the crime committed by him. She is disgusted with her husband just like Johanna is with Engstrand. Pastor Manders feels that Mrs. Alving has been severe in judging her husband. He finds her accusations mere exaggeration and nothing else. Mrs. Alving opens out her heart to him when she says that she had borne a lot in the house.
“To keep him at home in the evenings and at night I had to make myself his companion in his secret dissipations up in his room. There I had to sit alone with him, and to clink my glass with him and drink with him and listen to his obscene, silly talk. I have had to fight with him to get him dragged to bed “all for her son’s sake.” She then took over the gearshifts of her house. She now had a weapon against him and he dared not murmur. And then she sends Oswald away as he was seven by that time and had started asking questions. “No one knows what it cost me.”
Pastor Manders wonders that she is raising a memorial for such a person. Mrs. Alving states that she feared this truth about her husband might reveal itself to the world and then the Orphanage would destroy all kinds of rumours and get rid of all suspicion. She also adds that she spent all her husband’s fortune so that her son, Oswald, does not inherit anything from his father. However she confesses being guilty of sending her son away.
Mrs. Alving thanks Pastor Manders heartily since he forced her into duty and when he praised as correct what her entire spirit rebelled against as something repulsive. It was then that she began to examine the ridges of his learning. What Manders calls it his life’s toughest struggle is his deplorable defeat, according to Mrs. Alving. His victory over his own life is a crime against them both, for Mrs. Alving. Mrs. Alving is constantly in struggle with Ghosts both within her and without. She blames herself totally for her husband’s immorality abandoning her moral obligation to censure it. Since she brought no light to his home, his life provided him no outlet for his “joy of life.”
It is very evident that Mrs. Alving cannot shift her duties and responsibilities by charity. She gets the result of her Sham. She had sent Oswald away to take care of his ideals and the result is that she is valued not as a mother, but as his death agent. But still she is unable to understand anything. She does not understand the cause of Oswald’s fears after she has revealed the past. Her son asks her to take his life, when he suffers another stroke. She agrees to perform even this. Her pain his in the fact that she has come to know about the sufferings of her loving son, Oswald.
The readers find interest in the character of Mrs. Alving as she is not able to take stance between putting up facades and behaving in a way that would show her personal reliability. On one hand, she reads contentious literature and feels regretful for the decency in her past life; and on the other hand she builds a memorial for the repute of her dead husband. She talks of principles and morals: but never tells Regina about her birth: though she brings up Oswald to idealize his dead father. She passes on the ‘Ghosts’ of her own fears to her children, without even realizing it.
Mrs. Alving is troubled with the tensions, which result in a society which is male dominated and where the female suffers a lot of weaknesses. Thus, this tragedy by Ibsen shows how a woman affirms her uniqueness and wisdom. In a nutshell, Mrs. Helene Alving lives with her maidservant, Regina, in a mansion in Norway’s countryside. At her relatives suggestion, she married her late husband, captain Alving. But it was a horrible marriage. She ran away once, to Pastor Manders, to whom she was attracted. He made her return to her husband. She suffered her husband’s debauchery but sent away their son, Oswald, when he was seven years of age, with the hope that he would never discover his dead father’s immorality.
Mrs. Helene Alving has established an Orphanage to memorialize captain Alving’s death. It is scheduled to be dedicated very soon. She doesn’t want anyone to doubt his goodness and honour. But at the same time, she is a free thinking woman and feels forced to tell her son the truth about his father. The end is tragic indeed; where she needs to play the role of a person, putting an end to the miseries of Oswald.