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The Master Builder Paperback – September 25, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1466203112 ISBN-10: 1466203110

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1466203110
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466203112
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,883,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Here the Ibsen classic gets an overhaul to make the language more accessible to modern audiences. For nontraditionalists only.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

Drama in three acts by Henrik Ibsen, originally published as Bygmester Solness in 1892 and first performed in 1893. The play explores the needs of the artist in relation to those of society and the limits of artistic creativity. There is an autobiographical element in the depiction of the aging architect, Halvard Solness, who feels pressure from a younger, more idealistic and ambitious generation of architects and fears the decay of his own creativity. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Solness is also concerned that his "luck" will change.
Israel Drazin
The Master Builder may best be termed psychological and is a very interesting case study of a particular type - a Machiavellian schemer with a guilty conscience.
Bill R. Moore
The characters, though full of passion, are not always realistic.
Mary Whipple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
The first two reviews state as fact that this is often called Ibsen's masterpiece, but that is far from the majority critical view, which rightly gives that exalted title to The Wild Duck, with Rosmersholm probably second. However, this is generally considered one of his best plays, though in my view it is the least good of his major works. Ibsen's genius is thankfully such that it still shines through and makes the play worth reading over a century later.

It certainly differs from most of his work, especially his best-known. A late drama, it is usually classified with mostly symbolic later works, in contrast to the "problem plays" that made his name by dealing with contemporary sociopolitical issues. The Master Builder may best be termed psychological and is a very interesting case study of a particular type - a Machiavellian schemer with a guilty conscience. The protagonist is Halvard Solness, a successful aging architect who has gotten his position by ruthlessly and selfishly holding back competition and by an astonishing string of luck he attributes to vaguely metaphysical forces. However, he is deadly certain his luck will soon end, and he fears the younger generation, which only increases his unscrupulous scheming. Worse, he is fully aware of how he has used and held back others and is thus tortured by a guilty conscience. Finally, he has a strange but overwhelming feeling of debt to his wife, whom he believes has suffered as he has gained - first through destruction of her family castle, the rebuilding of which made his career, and the death of their sons. The question of his sanity is present throughout, even to himself, and he often wonders how much, if at all, he is responsible for her trials.
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Format: Paperback
Written in 1892, when Ibsen was a mature playwright, this tension-filled play focuses on an older man's fear that he will be replaced by the younger generation before he has been able to reconcile his professional success with his personal sacrifices. Halvard Solness is a Master Builder who once built churches and towers but who now builds only houses. Arrogant, manipulative, and often paranoid, there is little he will not do to control outcomes.

When Hilde Wangel suddenly knocks on his door, the younger generation arrives. Exuberant and flirtatious, Hilde reminds Halvard that exactly ten years ago, when she was the twelve-year-old daughter of a client, he called her his little princess and promised to buy her a kingdom. Ingratiating herself with Halvard, Hilde listens as he reveals his accumulated guilt, his fear of godly retribution, and his simultaneous belief that he is one of the "special people" who can bring his desires to fruition through the summoning of demons, "called 'luck' by others." Hilde, believing she can free him creatively, urges the acrophobic Halvard to place a wreath at the top of the tower on the house he has built for his wife-a symbolic celebration of a new kind of life through Hilde, building castles in the air.

The characters, though full of passion, are not always realistic. Their psychological grounding seems uncertain, and their behavior does not seem to flow out of a sense of personal unity. Halvard believes that certain people can make direct connections with him and read his mind. He also believes that that his success has occurred because years ago he made a bargain with demons which resulted in the loss of everything he and his wife held dear-he is successful, but guilty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a new more colloquial English translation of this famous play.
Halvard Solness is a well-respected master builder at the top of his profession. His success was due to a chance fire that destroyed his home and made it possible for him to build many new homes on the large land mass. However, the fire caused the death of his two children and left his wife unable to bear others. This mixture of good and bad luck gnaws at him.
Solness is convinced that people have a demon inside them that can control them and force them to do evil. He also believes that certain people, such as he, can summon other demons outside themselves to do their will. He knows that he wanted his house, inherited from his in-laws, to burn down so that he could show his skill by using the land to build many houses. He thinks that the demons obeyed his will and he is therefore responsible for what happened to his children and his wife.
It is difficult if not impossible to decide what Ibsen meant by the demons. Was he mocking a Christian belief, as he did in other plays? This interpretation fits well with Mrs. Solness thinking that the fire was a divine punishment for her sins, his notion that he deserves divine punishment, and the final outcome of the play. Or, was Ibsen describing a psychological guilt feeling? Or, perhaps Ibsen was portraying a man going insane because of his guilt feelings.
Solness is also concerned that his "luck" will change. He fears that a younger man will compete with him and pass him by. He uses all kinds of strategies to keep his employee Ragner from leaving him and starting his own business.
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