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Synopsis of Henrik Ibsen's Lady Inger

PLOT OF LADY INGER TOLD IN DETAIL Vassar Miscellany News, Volume VIII, Number 37, 19 March 1924

Chairman. II Hall.

To those who are going to II Hall: you are urged to acquaint yourselves, with the story of the play beforehand. The plot is most involved. As it is a play of intrigue, every sentence is significant and necessary to a full understanding of the action. The following may help to make some things clear: The action takes place at Ostrat Castle in Norway, the stronghold of Lady Inger Gyldenlove, in the year 1528, and is based on actual history.

The play deals with the conflict between Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. The Danes, having slain or outlawed all the old Norwegian nobility, now have sway over the lands. Their ally is King Gustav of Sweden. Their position is not secure, however, for a party in Sweden headed by Peter Kanzler is attempting to oust King Gustav from the throne, and the peasants in Norway consider this an excellent time to rebel also, and throw off the Danish yoke for once and all. They look to Lady Inger Gyldenlove as their one hope of leadership and in the first act of the play we see them begging her lo let them join the rebels in Sweden. Lady Inger, however, though she hates the Danes and would like nothing better than to drive them from the land, dares not join the Swedes for fear of the Danes, because of the dread that they will discover her son, Nils Stensson (son also of Stens Sture) who is held as a hostage in Sweden by Peter Kanzler. Peter has promised to return her son to her when she promises to support the rebel cause. This, however, she has never dared to do because of the pressure brought to bear upon her by the Danes, who also realize that her influence over her people is very great. Thus, Lady Inger holds a strategic position with both sides asking for her support, and she not daring to take any decisive action because she fears that the vengeance of whatever side she rejects will be wreaked on her son.

How Lady Inger works out her problem is the story of the play. The plot is involved, but there are thrills, romance and "atmosphere embodied in the work." "With all its defects." says William Archer, "it seems to me manifestly the work of a great poet. I cannot help seeing in Lady Inger a figure of truly tragic grandeur..... and in many passages of the dialogue, the touch of a master hand."


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