Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review- Peer Gynt

For the Author A-Z Challenge I read Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Among the masterpieces of world literature, this great verse drama by Norway's famed playwright humorously yet profoundly explores the virtues, vices, and follies common to all humanity as it follows the roguish life of a charming but arrogant young man. A literary delight since it was first published in 1875.
I'd heard of Peer Gynt many times before (mostly because of the music Grieg wrote for it) but it was something I probably would not have picked up if it hadn't been for the A-Z challenge. It was an interesting book though so overall I don't regret reading it.
What I found the most fascinating about the play was Peer Gynt's comments on God... most of them were totally erroneous but nonetheless thought provoking and interesting.

"It's me, Peer Gunt! Are you listening, Lord? Look after me, Father; let me be spared! Make them turn back! Or lower the gig! Stop their! Oh, let the boxers clog! Please! Don't fuss with the world's affairs! It'll manage itself for awhile. Ha if he's listening! Deaf as usual! That's nice! A God that can't answer prayers."
"How delightful to feel one''s soul upraised. To think nobly is more than to get rich quick. Trust all to Him. He knows just how high He can fill my cup with bitter blight. He does have a fatherly interest in me. But economical.... that He's not!" 
"There's no faith left among men any more. No Christian love, as it's written and taught. Few good deeds, and still less prayer and no respect for the Deity's might. In a storm like this, the Lord God rages. Those beasts should remember they take a chance, but instead, they're openly sacrilegious! But I have no guilt, when I can prove I was there with my money, ready to give and what do I get for it? It's been said: 'A conscience at ease is a downy pillow.' Oh yes, on land that can't be denied; But on board ship, it isn't worth mud to be honest among that rabble below. At sea, you can't be yourself at all. 
"Now that's what I call Christianity! Nothing unpleasant to jar the mind... and the subject... being oneself to the end.... bought out in the pastor's eulogy, has everything in it to recommend." 

Sometimes it was funny as well! Kind of a sardonic tongue in cheek kind of funny and maybe only a kind of humor that I only appreciate? ;)
Passenger- I'd be satisfied if you'd make me a present of your cadaver?
Peer Gynt- "Now this is too much!"
Passenger- Just the body you know! It's important for my research!
Peer Gynt- Will you go!
Passenger- But my dear sir, think how you'll benefit! You'll be opened up and brought to light. I'm investigating the source of dreams, But I'll also go into your joints and seams..."

When about to marry the troll princess
Peer Gynt- I have no tail!
Troll King- We'll get you one. Steward, my Sunday best! Tie it on.
Peer Gynt- Lay off! You think I've lost my mind?
Troll King- You can't court my daughter with a smooth behind!  

Passenger- The souls in funeral urns don't try on weekdays to dress for tragedy.
Peer Gynt- Be off you monster! Get away! I won't die! It's the land for me!
Passenger- You needn't worry in that respect... no one dies halfway through the last act. 

All in all I found it an interesting little play and I'd be kind of interested to see it preformed. It certainly wasn't my favorite but it was enjoyable. If you like this kind of thing I'd say go for it but if not don't bother. :)

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