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by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts Lies and Deceit Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used William Archer's translation.

Quote #1

MANDERS. [Lowering his voice.] But one should not talk about it, Mrs. Alving. One is certainly not bound to account to everybody for what one reads and thinks within one's own four walls. (1.181)

Depending on how it's played, this can be a laugh line. Pastor Manders's point is you may think whatever you want, but keep it to yourself. Publicly announcing your eccentricities can only disturb others and upset the status quo.

Quote #2

OSWALD. Well, then, allow me to inform you. I have met with it when one or other of our pattern husbands and fathers has come to Paris to have a look round on his own account, and has done the artists the honour of visiting their humble haunts. They knew what was what. These gentlemen could tell us all about places and things we had never dreamt of. (1.337)

Hypocrisy is a special breed of "lies and deceit" within the play. Oswald becomes distraught recounting the hypocrisy of so-called "pattern husbands" – but in truth, almost everyone in the play is guilty of hypocrisy in some form or another.

Quote #3

MANDERS. It almost makes me dizzy. Your whole married life, the seeming union of all these years, was nothing more than a hidden abyss! (1.396)

Manders agrees that Mrs. Alving could do nothing but hide the truth. As someone who cares for her, however, he rues that things turned out that way.

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