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In Ibsen's Ghost, Some Critics have called Mrs Alving selfless and altruistic, others have considered her primarily self centred. What is your view point?

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Introduction

Ibsen : "Ghosts" Some Critics have called Mrs Alving selfless and altruistic, others have considered her primarily self centred. What is your view point? If Mrs Alving's character was to be examined from a different perspective, for instance taking an outsiders view like that of a person who lives in the same town as Mrs Alving. From her actions we could safely say that she is a very charitable and generous person. If somebody has no knowledge of the intrigues and plots that form the background to Mrs Alving's deeds then on the surface it seems that the building of the orphanage is purely as a result of her excessive charity. When the motives to Mrs Alvings actions are explored the tide seems to turn because we see that Mrs Alving has a reason for each one of her actions. This conduct helps others, which makes some people think that Mrs Alving is altruistic but each of these actions as a consequence is beneficial to Mrs Alving herself, which leads to the viewpoint that she is primarily self-centred. ...read more.

Middle

The insurance issue can also prove that Mrs Alving is not entirely self-centred because in deciding to leave the building un-insured she is not securing her monetary input. Through her decision (although fuelled heavily by the Pastor she is easily persuaded) we can see that she is unconcerned about losing money and therefore not self-centred because she is keen to forget about her husband's money. But even a simple issue such as insurance still boils down to image, which seems to be very important in "ghosts", by not insuring the property the public... "Might so very easily come to the conclusion that neither you nor I had a proper trust in Divine Providence" Aside from the orphanage Mrs Alving's method of dealing with her son also shows signs of good will and selflessness. Mrs Alving changes and almost becomes a different personality when her son enters the rooms, she beams with pleasure and it seems that Oswald is the only thing that makes Mrs Alving happy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This may have been an almost paranoid or obsessive reaction but it was definitely selfless because for a mother to voluntarily give up her child for its own sake is an almost impossible feat for most mothers, and it must have been a huge sacrifice for Mrs Alving. The fact that after all she has been through, Mrs Alving is prepared to throw away all her apparently iron cast fundamental doctrines to let Oswald pursue happiness in the form of Regina despite the issues that could be raised is the final pivot of the argument that Mrs Alving is not egocentric and cares only about her son. Even if Mrs Alving lives her life through others because it makes her feel better, she is still helping others, which proves her altruism. I believe that if someone gives to others because it makes them feel better, that does not make that person selfish. Others are benefiting from their charity, regardless of the reasons behind it and because of this I believe that Mrs Alving is benevolent in upbringing her family and in helping the community. ?? ?? ?? ?? C.Tabisz 12/10/00 1 GVU ...read more.

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