Peer Gynt Literary Analysis
Henrik Ibsen wrote Peer Gynt in 1867, he never intended that it should be performed as a play, but rather as a work of poetic fantasy that should be read. However, the book became increasingly popular and in 1876 it was adapted to be performed on stage. Ibsen wrote the poem without any concern for its length as when he wrote it he had no desire to turn it into a play. When he adapted it for performance he cut lines from every section rather than cut out entire scenes. One of the reasons for its great popularity was that it made use of a number of Norwegian fairy tales. However, Ibsen also used the text to satirise the recent trends of getting back to nature and simplicity.
Peer Gynt is a character who runs away from commitment, he is also someone who is selfish and has little concerns for the sacrifices that others have to make in order for him to continue on his adventures from the Norwegian mountains to the North African Desert. Ibsen’s choice to write a satire revolving around a self-centered protagonist implies that he is writing with social implications for nineteenth century society, in mind.
The origins of the style that the story is written in are Romantic, but the play also includes early Modernism’s fragmentation. There are a number of metaphors of isolated individuals within society. The play’s two protagonists and lovers, are incompatible. Solveig is very committed, while Peer is a superficial person, but a character that allows for others’ projections on him, rather than a coherent character.
He is also a very vital character, and has been written about as one of the grandest characters of the nineteenth century, yet it is understood that Peer’s life is one of procrastination and avoidance. He is a character who suffers from arrested personality development, or even from a Peter Pan complex in that all he desires to do is seek adventure rather than work or commit to Solveig.
At the time, while some critics described the play as being brilliant, and as a satire to Norway’s egotism, self-sufficiency and narrowness, other notable figures of the time, including Hans Christian Andersen (who also wrote about fairy tales), Clemens Petersen and Georg Brandes, joined together in a hostile manner against the