Annotated Bibliography of Criticism


Greenberg, Yael. “The Hidden Architecture In Ibsen’s Rosmersholm.” Modern Language Review 89 (1994): 138-148. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.

This article states that Rebecca’s guilt towards her father leads her to turn down Rosmer’s marriage proposal. Similarly, it is guilt that drives her to suicide. In the play, the White Horse, which represents Rosmer’s guilt towards his late wife Beata, parallels Rebecca displaying guilt over her father through crocheting a white shawl. Since she functions out of her unconscious by holding on to the deceased Dr. West, she shows guilt through an act called “illustrative action.” In addition, she juxtaposes Dr. West and Beata through visual language that further emphasizes her hidden guilt. Through a dialogue with Brendel, the act of sacrificing one’s ideals is also linked to her past of sacrificing her life for Dr. West. Her speech, which comes across as ambiguous, eventually leads to Rosmer assuming that they should get married. It is also evident that Kroll’s words triggered Rebecca’s emotional reaction towards her father, leading to a confession. In this instance, Rebecca’s unconscious is revealed through associative thinking. This is evident through Rebecca’s confession, which recounts her life with Dr. West, associating him with an intention to confess about causing Beata’s suicide. Furthermore, Ibsen’s use of the word ‘corpse’ expresses Rebecca’s and Rosmer’s guilt about both Dr. West and Beata. Toward the end, Brendel’s metaphorical words “to sacrifice” pushes a guilt-ridden Rebecca to make a sacrifice for her father. She ends up committing suicide to make up for the wrongdoings against her father. As a result of perceiving another character’s words, Rebecca’s unconscious is triggered, leading to her own death in Rosmersholm.

—Vivien Oye


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