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Word Count: 835
In his play Ghosts Ibsen forces the reader to think about his own ideas and believes as well as those of society and past ages Symbolism is one technique repeatedly used to portray the authors ideas through rain light fire the orphanage Oswald and through Engstrand himself The use of religion is also interesting in the way the town people and Pastor Mander uses it There are many symbols present throughout Ibsens work Rain is used as a symbol of the cleansing of evil and impurities Outside of Mrs Alvings home it remains rainy and stormy until she faces the truth about her husband The rain washes away the disguises so that the truth may be seen Generally when this takes place the sun another symbol rises revealing the reality of the situation Mrs Alving said And there we are one and all so pitifully afraid of the light 271 All the characters are afraid to face reality especially Mrs Alving represented by the light Fire is yet another symbol Ibsen uses When Oswald comes downstairs with Alvings pipe he recalls an incident when he was given a pipe in his youth Young Oswald smoked until he became sick This is a foreshadowing of his illness another sickness caused by careless actions Another example of fire is seen when the orphanage built in honor of Alving is burned 287 The fire creates a symbolism that represents the truth rising quickly and devouring all illusions However when the fire is extinguished the fantasy world is up in smoke and all that remains are the painful ashes of the past The orphanage is used as a subtle symbol for the illusion created by Mrs Alving The brothel Captain Alvings Home symbolizes the reality of his life In the end however the truth is made known about both by the burning of the orphanage 287 and the brothel taking its place These two actions illustrate the awakening
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