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by Henrik Ibsen

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Tragedy

Anticipation Stage

Mrs. Alving readies everything for the dedication of the Orphanage.

Once this ceremony is over, Mrs. Alving believes that her late husband will be finally, truly dead. She'll banish her ghosts and moves into the future with only her son as partner.

Dream Stage

Mrs. Alving confesses the truth – and her plan – to Pastor Manders.

Mrs. Alving enjoys the satisfaction of letting Pastor Manders know he's full of it. She has suffered and this memorial is going to put the ghost of her dead husband to bed for good.

Frustration Stage

Oswald goes after Regina. Mrs. Alving discovers her son is seriously ill. The Orphanage burns down.

Suddenly Mrs. Alving's desired path takes a number of left turns. She must dispel the attraction between Oswald and Regina by telling the truth about her husband.

Nightmare Stage

Oswald explains "the dread."

With Regina gone, Oswald requests that his mother be ready to kill him if he has an attack and is left in a vegetative state. Mrs. Alving sees this as an unimaginable act, and yet she agrees to it, believing that it won't happen.

Destruction Stage

Oswald loses his mental faculties.

Mrs. Alving faces an impossible decision: kill her son, or keep him as a living ghost.

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