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by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts Memory and the Past 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. When Oswald appeared there, in the doorway, with the pipe in his mouth, I could have sworn I saw his father, large as life. (1.279)

Oswald's resemblance to his father, noticed by Pastor Manders, is one of the many ghosts in the play. As Mrs. Alving learns more of her son's illness, it's almost though her husband is back in the house.

Quote #2

OSWALD. Yes, I recollect it distinctly. He took me on his knee, and gave me the pipe. "Smoke, boy," he said; "smoke away, boy!" And I smoked as hard as I could, until I felt I was growing quite pale, and the perspiration stood in great drops on my forehead. Then he burst out laughing heartily – (1.290)

Oswald has few memories of his father, but this one is telling. It expresses his father's addictions and slightly cruel sense of humor. It also reveals his mother's sensitivity, and Oswald's own helplessness in understanding what was going on between them.

Quote #3

MANDERS. I will first stir up your memory a little. The moment is well chosen. To-morrow will be the tenth anniversary of your husband's death. To-morrow the memorial in his honour will be unveiled. To-morrow I shall have to speak to the whole assembled multitude. But to-day I will speak to you alone. (1.354)

Setting the play on the anniversary of Captain Alving's death gives the play's action added emotional weight.

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