Peer Gynt Characters Analysis

Peer Gynt is a play created by Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwriter, during the year 1867. The story was named after the play’s main character, Peer Gynt and his journey from idleness and frivolous daydreaming, into a life of adventure as he embarks on a series of fantasy-filled conquests full of monsters, elves, and directionless pursuits.

All his life, he lived a life of different personalities and characters, chasing one senseless adventure to the other. Tired of all his careless exploits, he eventually decides on returning back to Norway, only to be reunited with a woman who has shown him love and devotion throughout the years.

The story is filled with illusory individuals, making it a colorful play that offers different projections of fantasy that revolves around the main character and his journeys.

An Analysis of Peer Gynt’s Main Characters

Peer Gynt

The story’s main character, Peer Gynt, is a lazy daydreamer whose mind is filled with fairytale characters and make-believe adventures. After starting a life away from home, he suffers from one mishap to the other while displaying different personalities including a businessman, prophet, chief, emperor and wanderer.

He eventually gets weary from all his travels and eventually decided to come back to his little town in Norway, only to be confronted by the Button-Moulder, claiming he lives his life with no sense of self and identity.

Aase

She is Peer’s mother and a wife of a once-rich man, who eventually became a drunkard known for wasting money and leaving absolutely nothing left for his family. A loving and caring mother who help keep her son’s feet on the ground, she is solely responsible for keeping Peer’s reality on the check on many different occasions in the story.

Aase is quick to reprimand her son whenever he commits mistakes. She portrays a character of an endearing mother who wouldn’t think twice about scolding Peer once she knows he gets involved in another trouble due to his own carelessness.

Solveig 

She is Peer’s love interest whom he met at a wedding.She is described as a woman of loyalty and devotion to the point of being there for Peer even if he was away from town for a long period of time. Solveig was mentioned as the play comes to an end, depicting a woman who kept her promise despite all the years of waiting.

Button-Moulder 

Likened to as death, the Button-Moulder showed up in the last scene to claim Peer’s life. Negotiations were made which he threatened to take away Peer’s soul for being not himself at the expense of going to a dimension of nothingness.

Not wanting to give up his soul, Peer pleads for Hell more than anything in order to avoid this dimension where nothing exists. The Button-Moulder promises to come back, giving Peer enough time to recount and enjoy his remaining years in his quiet town in Norway.

Helga 

A minor character in the story, Helga is the sister of Solveig. She woke Peer from his heavy slumber and even offered him some medicine to bring him back to his good shape. Peer subsequently gives him a memorabilia in the form of a button, for which she needs to give to her sister Solveig in order for her not to forget him.

Other characters involved in the story are the Monsieur Ballon, Mr. Cotton, and Herr Trumpeterstraale. Fictional characters on the other hand, such as the ones that occur inside Peer’s mind when dreaming, are composed of personalities resulting from his wild imagination.

Peer Gynt is a mix of fantasy and reality, creating a combination of events and mishaps that mark the play’s individuality and uniqueness.

Secondary characters

  • Aslak
  • Steward
  • Fiddler
  • The farmer at Haegstad
  • Ingrid
  • Dovre-master
  • Troll courtiers
  • An ugly child
  • Mr. Cotton, Monsieur Ballon, Herr von Eberkopf and Herr Trumpeterstraale, travellers
  • Anitra
  • Arabs, slave girls, dancing girls
  • Statue of Memnon (singing), Sphinx of Gizeh (dumb)
  • Begriffenfeldt
  • Huhu
  • Several lunatics with their warders
  • A strange passenger
  • A priest
  • A funeral procession
  • A bailiff
  • A thin man

 

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