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Symbolic forms of immortality in Madame Bovary, Niels Lyhne, and John Gabriel Borkman Cartlidge, Francis Roy 1978

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SYMBOLIC FORMS OF IMMORTALITY IN MADAME BOVARY, NIELS L Y M E , AND JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN FRANCIS ROY CARTLIDGE B . A . , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Co lumbia , 1973 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES i n the Program of Comparative L i t e r a t u r e We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the r e q u i r e d s tandard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June , 1977 (§) Roy Francis Cartlidge 1978 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s for an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia , I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g of th i s thesis f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d tha t copying or pub l i ca t ion of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Program Comparative Literature B ?XH??SPft o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 January 27 1978 ABSTRACT T h i s t h e s i s i s a study of the ways i n which the f e a r of d e a t h , and i t s n a t u r a l consequence, the d e s i r e f o r i m m o r t a l i t y , i s m a n i f e s t e d i n the major c h a r a c t e r s of th ree post -Romant ic works. In each c a s e , the f e a r of death i s unconsc ious , and has t o "be i n t e r p r e t e d from the dreams and i l l u s i o n s of the c h a r a c t e r s , which may not appear t o have any immediate connect ion w i t h death or i m m o r t a l i t y . In Madame Bovary , the b l i n d man i s the symbol ic a n t i t h e s i s of Emma's dreams of f i n d i n g a means of t ranscendence w i t h i n the w o r l d i t s e l f . He i s the embodiment o f the h o r r i f y i n g v i s i o n of b i o l o g i c a l p rocess t h a t l i e s at the heart of her f l i g h t from r e a l i t y . The p h a r m a c i s t , Homais, i s a l s o c o n s i d e r e d t o be a t tempt ing t o e s t a b l i s h a symbol ic form of i m m o r t a l i t y f o r h i m s e l f through the g l o r i f i c a t i o n of h i s r e p u t a t i o n and h i s s e n t i m e n t a l b e l i e f i n s c i e n t i f i c p r o g r e s s . In N i e l s Lyhne, the young hero attempts t o f r e e h i m s e l f from the romant ic i n f l u e n c e s of h i s ch i ldhood by p r o c l a i m i n g a new ph i losophy t h a t i s based, on a the i sm. However, h i s temperamental attachment t o the i d e a o f " i n f i n i t y " , and h i s i n a b i l i t y t o accept the p h y s i c a l nature of human be ings b e t r a y h i s unconsc ious d e s i r e f o r a s t a t e o f be ing i n which he w i l l be i n v u l n e r a b l e t o the f o r c e s of ag ing and death . In John G a b r i e l Borkman the t h r e e major c h a r a c t e r s attempt t o f i n d a means of denying the i n e v i t a b i l i t y o f t h e i r approaching deaths . Borkman t r i e s t o g a i n c o n t r o l over the f o r c e s of l i f e through the e x e r c i s e o f power and through an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h rocks and m e t a l t h a t seem t o h o l d the promise o f c o n f e r r i n g t h e i r i m m u t a b i l i t y onto h im. Borkman's w i f e wants her son t o devote h i s l i f e t o the g l o r i f i c a t i o n of the name of Borkman, t h a t her husband has d ishonoured. She hopes tha t her i d e a l i z e d s e l f - i m a g e w i l l l i v e o n " i n the "monument" t h a t E rhar t w i l l " e r e c t " t o the f a m i l y name. E l l a Rentheim, her s i s t e r , a l s o p l a n s to use E rhar t f o r the es tab l i shment of a symbol ic form of i m m o r t a l i t y , by t r y i n g t o persuade him t o adopt her f a m i l y name a f t e r she has d i e d . The method of t h i s t h e s i s c o u l d be a p p l i e d t o works from any age of l i t e r a t u r e , but I have chosen the n i n e t e e n t h century because o f the p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l i n f l u e n c e s t h a t e x i s t e d i n Europe a f t e r the Enlightenment' . A l l the a r t i s t i c movements o f the n i n e t e e n t h century were c o n d i t i o n e d by the legacy o f m e t a p h y s i c a l u n c e r t a i n t y t h a t the r e l i g i o u s s k e p t i c i s m of the Age of Reason had bequeathed t o the f u t u r e . In these t h r e e works , the c h a r a c t e r s devote the same r e l i g i o u s f e r v o u r t o the w o r l d l y o b j e c t s of t h e i r d e s i r e s a s , f o r m e r l y , man had devoted t o God. The unconscious hope i n a l l t h e i r attempts i s t h a t they w i l l d i s c o v e r a means of b e i n g d e l i v e r e d from d e a t h . - i v -Abstract Epigraph Introduction Madame Bovary Interchapter 1 Ni e l s Lyhne Interchapter 2 John Gabriel Borkman Conclusion Footnotes Bibliography TABLE OF CONTENTS page i i v 1 7 26 32 50 54 79 83 85 - V •-Nun gehort aber vor A l l e m zu den Wunschen des Menschen, wenigstens des Menschen, der se ine Wiinsche n i c h t durch d i e Naturnothwendigkei t b e s c h r a n k t , der Wunsch n i c h t zu s t e r b e n , ewig zu l e b e n ; j a , d i e s e r Wunsch i s t der l e t z t e und hochste Wunsch des Menschen, der Wunsch a l l e r Wiinsche, wie und w e i l das Leben der I n b e g r i f f a l l e r Guter i s t . Ludwig Feuerbach - 1 -In Le Bovarysme ^ ( 1 9 0 2 ) , J u l e s G a u l t i e r at tempts t o d e f i n e the nature o f the romant ic impulses t h a t p r o p e l the dreams and d e s i r e s of F l a u b e r t ' s t r a g i c h e r o i n e . He concludes t h a t she i s d r i v e n by the d e s i r e t o become "o ther than she i s " ; t h a t the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s of her f a n t a s i e s d e r i v e s p u r e l y from the f a c t t h a t they are u n r e a l . He r e s t s h i s case on the c o n v i c t i o n t h a t i f Emma were ever t o r e a l i z e her d e s i r e s , she would r e j e c t them because of the r e a l i t y t h a t they would then assume. La haine du r e e l est a v r a i d i r e s i f o r t e chez Mme Bovary , q u ' e l l e p o u r r a i t l a c o n t r a i n d r e a r e p u d i e r son propre r e v e , s ' i l v e n a i t , par i m p o s s i b l e , a prendre lui -meme l a forme d'une r e a l i t e . (p. 3 2 ) A c l o s e r e a d i n g of Madame Bovary does not support t h i s o p i n i o n , however. She i s happy w i t h Rodolphe and Leon as l o n g as she can make h e r s e l f b e l i e v e t h a t her dreams have been a c t u a l i z e d , and i t i s o n l y when the r e a l f a c t s of e x i s t e n c e invade her dreams t h a t her f a n t a s i e s c o l l a p s e . I f she i s not p e r f e c t l y content w i t h L e o n , i t i s because she has never seen him as her i d e a l l o v e r , and i f she i s d i s c o n t e n t w i t h t h e i r apartment i n Rouen, i t i s because her r e a l dream i s t o v i s i t a l a n d such as the one t h a t Rodolphe promised t o t a k e her t o . G a u l t i e r ' s t h e s i s i m p l i e s a randomness i n the cho ice of i d e a l s and i l l u s i o n s . I f u n r e a l i t y were the e s s e n t i a l q u a l i t y of the o b j e c t s of m e t a p h y s i c a l d e s i r e , then s u r e l y any ob jec t would be as e f f e c t i v e as any o t h e r . Emma's d e s i r e s are a combinat ion o f her l o n g i n g f o r r e l i g i o u s - 2 -f u l f i l l m e n t , of her a t t r a c t i o n t o the a r i s t o c r a t i c way of l i f e , and of dreams of romant ic and sensual exper ience . These dreams are f a r from random: her p reoccupat ions are the p reoccupat ions of m i l l i o n s of o t h e r s . What i s remarkable i n her i s the way i n which these dreams are mixed t o g e t h e r . No one f a n t a s y seems t o dominate the o t h e r s . The u n i t i n g f a c t o r i n a l l these f a n t a s i e s i s t h a t they seem t o c o n t a i n the promise of t ranscendence away from l i f e as i t i s : t h a t l o v e , or acceptance i n t o the a r i s t o c r a c y , or r e l i g i o u s e x p e r i e n c e , w i l l l i b e r a t e her from the normal r u l e s of. human l i f e . G a u l t i e r attempts t o ana lyze man's d e s i r e t o become "what he i s no t " wi thout spending any t ime d e f i n i n g what he i s . I propose t h a t r o m a n t i c , m e t a p h y s i c a l d e s i r e has i t s o r i g i n s i n a r e j e c t i o n o f those s p e c i f i c f a c t s of human e x i s t e n c e t h a t d e f i n e our m o r t a l i t y : we are b o r n , we grow o l d , and we d i e . T r a d i t i o n a l l y , God was the power th rough which man c o u l d f i n d t ranscendence (escape from m o r t a l i t y ) and h i s d e f i n i t i o n ( i m m o r t a l , a l l -knowing, c h a n g e l e s s , a l l - p o w e r f u l ) , i s the a n t i t h e s i s of man's fundamental c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s as a human b e i n g . In t h i s sense , God can be seen t o be the e x p r e s s i o n of a w i s h ; he i s what man i s n o t , and he seems t o have the power o f c o n f e r r i n g some of h i s e s s e n t i a l l y n o n - m o r t a l a t t r i b u t e s upon man. Man i s not a t t r a c t e d t o the i d e a of God because he i s e s s e n t i a l l y u n r e a l , but because of the promise t h a t he r e p r e s e n t s : the p o s s i b i l i t y of t r a n s c e n d i n g d e a t h . - 3 -In t h i s t h e s i s I s h a l l put forward the argument t h a t the f e a r of d e a t h , and i t s n a t u r a l consequence, the d e s i r e of i m m o r t a l i t y , not on ly l i e s at the r o o t s of r e l i g i o u s d e s i r e , but can a l s o be shown t o e x p l a i n romant ic d e s i r e . The t r a d i t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s of God, e x p l a i n e d out of e x i s t e n c e by the En l ightenment , o f t e n reappear i n some ob jec t t h a t has no m a n i f e s t l y r e l i g i o u s content whatsoever , nor i s the person who i s caught i n the g r i p of h i s i l l u s i o n aware t h a t he has a t t r i b u t e d t h e s e q u a l i t i e s t o the ob ject of h i s d e s i r e . Th is ob jec t may be an i d e a l i z e d l o v e r , a faraway p l a c e , or a disembodied i d e a such as p r o g r e s s , " T r u t h " , or " t h e I n f i n i t e " . Whatever form i t may t a k e , the ob jec t of romant ic d e s i r e r e p r e s e n t s the promise of a symbol ic v i c t o r y over l i f e and d e a t h : a form of i m m o r t a l i t y . For the purposes of t h i s t h e s i s , I s h a l l c o n s i d e r any form of behaviour t h a t has as i t s ob jec t a d e n i a l or evas ion of the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of death t o be an attempt t o set up a s u b s t i t u t e form of i m m o r t a l i t y . I t may be o b j e c t e d t h a t the term " i m m o r t a l i t y " i s a l l owed too b r o a d ' a connota t ion h e r e , s ince i t depar ts so f a r from the i d e a of the cont inued e x i s t e n c e o f the s o u l a f t e r death . Yet the same o b j e c t i o n c o u l d be l e v e l l e d at anyone who has proposed an i d e a such as " s o c i a l " , " h i s t o r i c a l " , or " c o s m o l o g i c a l " i m m o r t a l i t y . The n o t i o n t h a t men may l i v e on through t h e i r works , "and i n the memory of f u t u r e g e n e r a t i o n s , has been cur rent s i n c e the t ime o f the Romans, and i s an i d e a t h a t was p a r t i c u l a r l y a t t r a c t i v e _ h -t o the a r t i s t s of the Romantic p e r i o d . Goethe 's c o n v i c t i o n t h a t " t h e t r a c e s of our e a r t h l y days can never be erased by t i m e " c e r t a i n l y d i f f e r s from the i d e a l of a c t u a l death lessness t h a t i s c e n t r a l t o C h r i s t i a n t h e o l o g y . S c h i l l e r ' s v iew of i m m o r t a l i t y , whereby the l i f e - f o r c e of man u n i t e s w i t h the U n i v e r s a l Sou l or Mind a f t e r d e a t h , might j u s t i f i a b l y be argued not t o be i m m o r t a l i t y at a l l , s ince i t would e n t a i l the o b l i t e r a t i o n of the i d e n t i t y of the i n d i v i d u a l . For most of u s , c o n t i n u i t y o f i d e n t i t y i s the minimum requirement f o r a s t a t e t h a t we would be w i l l i n g t o c a l l i m m o r t a l i t y . That 'Romanticism was a r e a c t i o n t o , r a t h e r than a r e j e c t i o n o f , t h e r a t i o n a l i s m of the En l ightenment , i s p a r t i c u l a r l y apparent i n the p r e -occupat ion of the romant ic w r i t e r s w i t h the c o n f l i c t between the f i n i t e nature of the w o r l d and the immorta l a s p i r a t i o n s of the s o u l . B lake may have h o t l y d i s p u t e d the " t r u t h s " t h a t "Reason" p r o p o s e s , yet the f a c t t h a t he found i t necessary t o c o n s t r u c t a new c o s m o l o g i c a l mythology a t t e s t s t o h i s t a c i t r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t a f t e r V o l t a i r e , i t was no longer p o s s i b l e t o conce ive of God i n the t r a d i t i o n a l way. S i m i l a r l y , the a t t r a c t i o n of Goethe and S c h i l l e r t o pantheism was a consequence of a s k e p t i c i s m towards t r a d i t i o n a l r e l i g i o n t h a t they i n h e r i t e d from the age of Hume, Locke , B a y l e , F o n t e n e l l e and V o l t a i r e . Wordsworth hoped t o f i n d p roo fs f o r the i m m o r t a l i t y of the s o u l i n e a r l y c h i l d h o o d r e c o l l e c t i o n s r a t h e r than i n the message of the G o s p e l s , and a l though Chateaubr iand - 5 -proc la imed h i m s e l f t o be a C h r i s t i a n , h i s works are remembered f o r t h e i r evocat ion of an " i n f i n i t e " t h a t i s f a r more a b s t r a c t and p e r s o n a l i z e d than t h a t conta ined i n the t e a c h i n g s of the C a t h o l i c church . The. attempt t o d i s c o v e r a means of a l l e v i a t i n g the a n x i e t y t h a t the thought of death i n s t i l s i n man i s common t o a l l c u l t u r e s and t o every stage of c i v i l i z a t i o n , and i s by no means e x c l u s i v e l y the concern \\ of the r o m a n t i c s . Yet the i r r e v e r e n t r a t i o n a l i s m of the En l igh tenment , which chose as i t s t a r g e t s some of the most endur ing and c o m f o r t i n g f i c t i o n s i n our c u l t u r e , i n s t i g a t e d a c r i s i s of m e t a p h y s i c a l a n x i e t y t h a t i s p robab ly u n e q u a l l e d i n the h i s t o r y of the West. Th is a n x i e t y can be detec ted i n every aspect of the romant ic movement, and l i e s at the heart of the f e e l i n g of uneas iness and d e s p e r a t i o n t h a t t y p i f i e s the romant ic c h a r a c t e r . The t h r e e post- :Romantic works I have chosen a l l c o n t a i n an a p p r a i s a l of romant ic c h a r a c t e r s t h a t shows t h e i r i l l u s i o n s t o o r i g i n a t e i n a r e j e c t i o n of t h e f a c t s of m o r t a l i t y . The hat red of l i f e may be s h a r e d , as i n the case of F l a u b e r t and Madame Bovary , by the author and h i s c h a r a c t e r . Emma i s c r i t i c i z e d , not f o r her d e s i r e f o r t ranscendence , but f o r her attempt t o s a t i s f y i t through the w o r l d , r a t h e r than through a r t . N i e l s Lyhne seems l e s s capable of a c c e p t i n g the r e a l i t y , and a p p r e c i a t i n g the beauty of the wor ld than Jacobsen , nor does he succeed as a w r i t e r . John G a b r i e l Borkman i s a d e p i c t i o n of a man who attempts t o conquer h i s - 6 -unconsc ious f e a r of death through the a c q u i s i t i o n of power, and shows the d e s t r u c t i v e consequences of the d e s i r e not t o l i v e i n the w o r l d . I b s e n , l i k e F l a u b e r t and Jacobsen , ho lds on t o t h e i d e a t h a t a form of i m m o r t a l i t y i s p o s s i b l e t o man through a r t . T h i s i s an important par t of I b s e n ' s f i n a l statement on h i s l i f e and work t h a t i s conta ined i n When We Dead Awaken. In each of the t h r e e works , we s h a l l d i s c o v e r a symbol ic framework t h a t i s t i e d t o the s p e c i f i c i l l u s i o n s of the c h a r a c t e r s t h a t w i l l a l l o w us t o see t h a t t h e i r dreams are p r e d i c a t e d on a w ish f o r exemption from the process t h a t c a r r i e s every human b e i n g i n e v i t a b l y towards death : an unconsc ious d e s i r e f o r i m m o r t a l i t y . - 7 -F l a u b e r t ' s n o v e l i s p r i m a r i l y remembered, at l e a s t among those who have taken care t o read i t w i t h the s e n s i t i v i t y and i n t e l l i g e n c e t h a t i t d e s e r v e s , as a remarkable a e s t h e t i c achievement. Indeed, the a u t h o r ' s l o n g and p a i n s t a k i n g d e d i c a t i o n t o the i d e a l s of p e r f e c t and complex symmetry on the one hand, and p r e c i s e use of he ightened language on the o t h e r , r e s u l t e d i n h i s p roduc ing an almost t a n g i b l e a e s t h e t i c exper ience i n a work of l i t e r a t u r e . He f e l t t h a t h i s duty as a w r i t e r was t o evoke, t o b r i n g i n t o b e i n g , an imaginary c i r c u m s t a n c e , not so t h a t the reader would understand i t t o be a r e f l e c t i o n of something i n the r e a l w o r l d , but i n order t h a t he would respond t o i t as an autonomous c r e a t i o n . Th is techn ique i s s i m i l a r t o t h a t of the Japanese w a t e r -c o l o u r i s t , who does not b e l i e v e t h a t he i s d e s c r i b i n g a branch of c h e r r y - b l o s s o m , but t h a t he i s c r e a t i n g another branch t h a t w i l l augment the sum t o t a l of r e a l i t y . "Ce qu i me semble b e a u , " F l a u b e r t wrote i n a l e t t e r t o Lou ise C o l e t , "ce que j e v o u d r a i s f a i r e , c ' e s t un l i v r e sur r i e n , . . . un l i v r e ou l e s u j e t s e r a i t presque i n v i s i b l e , s i c e l a se p e u t . " 1 A l though Madame 2 Bovary .might be s a i d t o have no p l o t , and be a l l but devo id of ; a c t i o n , i t cannot c l a i m t o be about n o t h i n g , nor does F l a u b e r t ' s use of " a complete ly o b j e c t i v e n a r r a t o r " leave us w i t h the f e e l i n g t h a t the work was w r i t t e n by no one. Throughout the work, we are aware of an i n t e l l i g e n t and power fu l mind t h a t c o n t r o l s the events and c o n s t a n t l y i n v o l v e s the r e a d e r ' s consc iousness i n a p p r e c i a t i o n and e v a l u a t i o n . T h i s sympathy and - 8 -judgment does not extend mere ly t o the language or t o the beauty of the c reated e f f e c t , but even as f a r as our i d e n t i f y i n g w i t h the c h a r a c t e r s whenever p o s s i b l e , and a s s e s s i n g them as human be ings i n accordance w i t h a s u r p r i s i n g l y s t r i n g e n t mora l framework t h a t emerges as the nove l p r o g r e s s e s . A l though F l a u b e r t was f o r c e d t o defend h i s book a g a i n s t the charge of o b s c e n i t y by a rgu ing t h a t h i s h e r o i n e ' s death was the r e s u l t of her f l o u t i n g .contemporary m o r a l i t y , many s e r i o u s c r i t i c s have a s s e r t e d t h a t the work ve ry d e f i n i t e l y c o n t a i n s a profound moral l e s s o n . Lamart ine complained i n a l e t t e r t o F l a u b e r t t h a t he cons idered Emma's "punishment" r a t h e r too severe f o r the " s i n s " she had committed , yet at the same t i m e , he was ve ry e f f u s i v e i n h i s p r a i s e of the " h i g h moral q u a l i t y " of the n o v e l . C e r t a i n l y i t has t o be s t r e s s e d t h a t the work appears t o be about something other than a sequence of v e r y o r d i n a r y events t h a t occur i n the most t y p i c a l and u n i n t e r e s t i n g of s e t t i n g s . B a u d e l a i r e was conv inced t h a t at the hear t o f the work was a " p s y c h o l o g i c a l m y s t e r y " , embodied i n Emma, which c o n s t i t u t e d i t s " c e n t r a l s u b j e c t " . ' 4 Not o n l y i s t h e r e i n the book a w e a l t h o f r e a l i s t i c d e p i c t i o n o f sur roundings and t h e d e t a i l s o f human l i f e , but a l s o an acute o b s e r v a t i o n of human a c t i o n s , and a p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y c o n v i n c i n g account of why these people a re a c t i n g i n the way they do , t h a t i s s u b s t a n t i a t e d by the nature of t h e i r a m b i t i o n s , t h e i r i d e a l s and t h e i r f a n t a s i e s . - 9 -The author never d i r e c t l y d e s c r i b e s the nature of the d i sease t h a t a f f l i c t s p r a c t i c a l l y a l l of h i s c h a r a c t e r s , nor do any of t h e s e c h a r a c t e r s ever reach a meaningfu l a p p r a i s a l of t h e i r predicament . Yet through a p r e c i s e system of imagery and suggest ion we are l e d i n t o acknowledging a p s y c h o l o g i c a l framework t h a t l i e s beneath the s u r f a c e , and p e r s i s t s throughout the work. The symbol ic po les of Madame Bovary are the a c t u a l and p h y s i c a l na tu re of l i f e and death on the one hand, and the s p i r i t u a l i s a t i o n o f l i f e and death i n the form of p s y c h o l o g i c a l evas ion on the o t h e r . S t a t e d more s i m p l y , the book i s about a s t r u g g l e between m o r t a l i t y and i m m o r t a l i t y , i n which m o r t a l i t y appears t o w in the d e c i s i v e v i c t o r y . Whether or not she c o u l d ever admit i t , Emma i s p a t h o l o g i c a l l y a f r a i d of d e a t h , and t h i s f e a r d r a s t i c a l l y a f f e c t s her behav iour d u r i n g her l i f e , and i s even r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the nature o f her own end. Emma's s e n t i m e n t a l educat ion began w i t h her c h i l d h o o d r e a d i n g of P a u l ;et V i r g i n i e which seemed t o her t o con jure up a wor ld of be ings whose concerns were fundamenta l l y d i f f e r e n t from those of o ther peop le . When she was t h i r t e e n , she had at tended a convent schoo l and had l o s t h e r s e l f i n the m y s t i c r i c h n e s s of church symbology t h a t t r a n s p o r t e d h e r , i n her i m a g i n a t i o n , t o a wor ld f a r more b e a u t i f u l t h a n the one she knew. I t was at the convent t h a t she became enchanted by the sensuousness inherent i n C a t h o l i c mythology which taught t h a t a woman might become the " b e t r o t h e d " , t h e " w i f e " and the " c e l e s t i a l l o v e r " of C h r i s t . She was p a s s i o n a t e l y devoted t o the works of Chateaubr iand and L a m a r t i n e , and t o - 10 -s t o r i e s about the l i v e s of b e a u t i f u l and i l l u s t r i o u s women o f the p a s t . Yet her romant ic r e a d i n g d i d not awaken i n her a l o v e f o r the b e a u t i e s of n a t u r e , f o r she had a l r e a d y c o n t r a c t e d an a n t i p a t h y towards the c o u n t r y s i d e as a r e s u l t of her l i f e on her f a t h e r ' s fa rm: C ' e t a i t , pendant l a semaine, quelque resume d ' H i s t o i r e s a i n t e ou l e s Conferences de l ' a b b e F r a y s s i n o u s , e t , l e dimanche, des passages du Genie du C h r i s t i a n i s m e , par r e c r e a t i o n . Comme e l l e e c o u t a , l e s premieres f o i s , l a l amenta t ion sonore des m e l a n c o l i e s romantiques se repetant a tous l e s echos de l a t e r r e et de 1 ' e t e r n i t e ! S i son enfance se f u t ecoulee dans l ' a r r i e r e - b o u t i q u e d 'un q u a r t i e r marchand, e l l e se s e r a i t p e u t - e t r e ouver te a l o r s aux envahissements l y r i q u e s de l a n a t u r e , que, d ' o r d i n a i r e . , ne nous a r r i v e n t que par l a t r a d u c t i o n des e c r i v a i n s . Mais e l l e c o n n a i s s a i t t r o p l a campagne; e l l e s a v a i t l e belement des t r o u p e a u x , l e s l a i t a g e s , l e s c h a r r u e s . (p. 71) The l i f e at l e s B e r t a u x , w i t h i t s drudgery and i t s p r o x i m i t y t o the e t e r n a l c y c l e of b i r t h , l i f e and death i s i n s u f f e r a b l e t o Emma, but we do not get any r e a l i n s i g h t i n t o her f e e l i n g s at t h i s e a r l y s tage . U n t i l Char les has come t o know Emma as much as he ever w i l l , t he n a r r a t i v e f o l l o w s h i s consc iousness and remains p r i m a r i l y h i s s t o r y . Yet at the b a l l , a f t e r Char les has s e t t l e d i n t o a s t a t e of g r a t e f u l worsh ip o f h i s w i f e , and Emma i s a l r e a d y f e e l i n g d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h her husband, the memory of her l i f e at the farm breaks r u d e l y through her i l l u s i o n s of acceptance i n t o the a r i s t o c r a t i c w o r l d : - 11 -Un domestique monta sur une c h a i s e et cassa deux v i t r e s ; au b r u i t des e c l a t s de v e r r e , Mme. Bovary t o u r n a l a t e t e et apergut dans l e j a r d i n , c o n t r e l e s b a r r e a u x , des faces de paysans qu i r e g a r d a i e n t . A l o r s l e souveni r des Bertaux l u i a r r i v a . E l l e r e v i t l a ferme, l a mare bourbeuse, son pere en b louse sous l e s v p o n n i e r s , et e l l e se r e v i t e l l e - m e m e , comme a u t r e f o i s , ecremant avec son d o i g t l e s t e r r i n e s de l a i t dans l a l a i t e r i e . M a i s , aux f u l g u r a t i o n s de l ' h e u r e p r e s e n t e , sa v i e p a s s e e , s i n e t t e j u s q u ' a l o r s , s ' e v a n o u i s s a i t tou t e n t i e r e , et e l l e d o u t a i t presque de l ' a v o i s X vecue. E l l e e t a i t l a ; p u i s , autour du b a i , i l n ' y a v a i t p l u s que de 1'ombre, e t a l e e sur t o u t l e r e s t e . (pp. 85 - 86) Emma's dreams of d i s c o v e r i n g a means o f c u t t i n g h e r s e l f o f f from her past have been i n t e r r u p t e d by the unexpected appearance o f people who be long t o the wor ld t h a t she i s t r y i n g t o l e a v e b e h i n d . Her attempt t o d i s s o c i a t e h e r s e l f from her peasant background i s t h e outward m a n i -f e s t a t i o n of an unconscious d e s i r e t o e s t a b l i s h a d i s c o n t i n u i t y between h e r s e l f and o r d i n a r y human b e i n g s , i n order t o f u l f i l a profound w i s h t h a t her u l t i m a t e f a t e w i l l not be the same as t h e i r s . She must not admit t o h e r s e l f t h a t these memories are r e a l , b a s i c . They were j u s t a dream. But i n many ways she s t i l l has ve ry much i n common w i t h the peasants who are gaping i n o u t s i d e the windows. A l though the V i scount i n v i t e s her t o the w a l t z , she does not know how t o dance. Her c h i l d l i k e and ingenuous a b s o r p t i o n w i t h the s m a l l e s t d e t a i l s o f her surroundings resembles the dumb awe of the c o u n t r y - f o l k from whom she wishes t o d i s s o c i a t e h e r s e l f . - 12 -She i s impressed by every gesture of these a r i s t o c r a t i c c r e a t u r e s ; by t h e i r noncha lance , t h e i r seeming i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y t o the i n f l u e n c e s of o r d i n a r y l i f e , even by t h e i r c r u e l t y . There does not seem t o be any p o i n t of resemblance between these a r i s t o c r a t s and o r d i n a r y human b e i n g s , and her embarassment at hav ing t o a t tend the b a l l w i t h her husband, who i s d a i l y becoming more b a n a l and l e s s a t t r a c t i v e t o h e r , u n d e r l i n e s her deep d e s i r e t o break f r e e from the l i m i t a t i o n s of o r d i n a r y exper ience A l though she i n s i s t s t o h e r s e l f t h a t t h i s b a l l i s r e a l , her a c t u a l s t a t e of mind i s bet rayed by the menta l t o r p o r t h a t s e i z e s her when she dances w i t h the handsome nobleman. She i s so overwhelmed by the n o v e l t y of the sensat ions t h a t are f l o o d i n g through her t h a t she becomes d i s t a n c e d from her s u r r o u n d i n g s , and t o t a l l y confused and d i s o r i e n t e d , she has t o be l e d back t o her c h a i r . Emma i s not a t r u e p a r t i c i p a n t i n the b a l l , f o r she i s i n t h e p o s i t i o f someone who i s seek ing " p r o o f s " i n her present s i t u a t i o n t h a t the i d e a l i s e d wor ld o f her f a n t a s i e s , which she has gleaned from her b o o k s , a c t u a l l y e x i s t s . Une dame, pres d ' e l l e , l a i s s a tomber son e V e n t a i l . Un danseur p a s s a i t . —Que vous s e r i e z b o n , mons ieur , d i t l a dame, de v o u l o i r b i e n ramasser mon e v e n t a i l , qu i est d e r r i e r e ce c a n a p e ' . Le monsieur s ' i n c l i n a , e t , pendant q u ' i l f a i s a i t l e mouvement d 'e tendre son b r a s , Emma v i t l a main de l a jeune dame qu i j e t a i t dans son chapeau quelquechose de b l a n c , p l i e en t r i a n g l e . Le monsieur ramenant 1 ' e v e n t a i l , l ' o f f r i t a l a dame, respectueusement; e l l e l e remerc ia d 'un s igne de t e t e et se mi t a r e s p i r e r son bouquet. (p. 86) - 13 -She i s determined t h a t the memories of her c h i l d h o o d , and her da i ly -e x i s t e n c e at Tostes w i l l not be synonymous i n any way w i t h the new i d e n t i t y t h a t she i s s t r u g g l i n g t o c l a i m f o r h e r s e l f . The par t of h e r s e l f t h a t she hopes t o l o s e i s c l o s e l y i d e n t i f i e d w i t h the w o r l d , and what she s t r i v e s f o r i s symbol ised by o b j e c t s and memories t h a t seem t o h o l d the promise o f an e x i s t e n c e whose very essence w i l l be fundamenta l l y d i f f e r e n t from any th ing t h a t she has known. She i s not so n a i v e e i t h e r , as t o b e l i e v e t h a t the w o r l d t o which she seeks e n t r a n c e , which she has p ieced together from her books , i s synonymous w i t h the w o r l d of h i g h s o c i e t y , but she cannot h e l p f e e l i n g t h a t her i d e a l count ry i s somehow a c c e s s i b l e through i t . So w i t h i n her t e d i o u s e x i s t e n c e she a f f o r d s an almost r e l i g i o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e to . the o b j e c t s and memories t h a t might p r o v i d e a key t o t h i s f a n t a s t i c w o r l d , a c i g a r b o x , a dance w i t h a handsome nobleman. . . . e l l e s e r r a pieusement dans l a commode sa b e l l e t o i l e t t e et j u s q u ' a ses s o u l i e r s de s a t i n , dont l a semel le s ' e t a i t j a u n i e a l a . c i r e g l i s s a n t e du parquet . Son coeur e t a i t comme eux; au f ro t tement de l a r i c h e s s e , i l s ' e t a i t p l a c e dessus quelque chose qu i ne s ' e f f a c e r a i t pas . (p. 8 9 ) We have a l r e a d y seen t h a t Emma never s e n t i m e n t a l i s e d the l i f e of t h e c o u n t r y s i d e , f o r she had w i tnessed i t every day at l e s B e r t a u x , where the crude f a c t s of e x i s t e n c e were too c l o s e t o the s u r f a c e not t o d i s t u r b her hear t w i t h i t s dreams of i v o r y c a s t l e s and f o u n t a i n s f u l l o f j e w e l s . - 14 -Rodolphe would come and take her t o t h i s fabu lous and sensua l l a n d where music and happiness r e i g n e d f o r e v e r ; a f a n t a s t i c w o r l d , yet p o s s i b l e , thanks t o the f a c t t h a t Emma e x i s t e d always at the l e v e l of i m a g i n a t i o n , t o which reason i s a very i n f r e q u e n t v i s i t o r . Au galop de quatre chevaux, e l l e e t a i t emportee depuis h u i t j o u r s ve rs un pays nouveau, d 'ou i l s ne r e v i e n d r a i e n t p l u s . I l s a l l a i e n t , i l s a l l a i e n t , l e s bras e n l a c e s , sans p a r l e r . Souvent , du haut d'une montagne, i l s aperceva ient tou t a coup quelque c i t e sp lend ide avec des. domes, des p o n t s , des n a v i r e s , des f o r e t s de c i t r o n n i e r s et des c a t h e d r a l e s de marbre b l a n e , dont l e s c l o c h e r s a igus p o r t a i e n t des n i d s de c igognes . On marchai t au pas a cause des grandes d a l l e s , et i l y a v a i t par t e r r e des bouquets de f l e u r s que vous o f f r a i e n t des f e m e s h a b i l l e e s en co rse t rouge. On entenda i t sonner des c l o c h e s , henn i r des m u l e t s , avec l e murmure des g u i t a r e s et l e b r u i t des f o n t a i n e s , dont l a vapeur s ' e n v o l a n t r a f r a x c h i s s a i t des t a s de f r u i t s , d i sposes en pyramides au p i e d des s t a t u e s p a l e s , qu i s o u r i a i e n t sous l e s j e t s d ' e a u . (p. 223) Rodolphe, who i n Emma's mind has become a s t range mix tu re of Wal ter Scot t hero and weal thy a r i s t o c r a t l o v e r who knows a l l the s e c r e t s of c o u r t - l i f e (and hence must be f a m i l i a r w i t h the l o c a t i o n of h e a v e n - o n -e a r t h , the country of her dreams) f a i l s t o appear on the day o f elopement. A l though Emma i s s h a t t e r e d by t h i s t u r n of e v e n t s , which plunges her i n t o a s t range malady i n which her l i f e i s despa i red o f , she i s at l e a s t saved the d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t of d i s c o v e r i n g t h a t no such count ry e x i s t s . I t i s of c r u c i a l impor tance , I b e l i e v e , t h a t the reader understands t h a t Emma not o n l y l i k e s t o b e l i e v e i n such a f o r e i g n l a n d , but t h a t she a c t u a l l y t h i n k s t h a t i t does e x i s t somewhere on t h e f a c e of t h i s e a r t h . - 15- -Emma i s not s a t i s f i e d t o devote h e r s e l f t o a p ious e x i s t e n c e i n the s e r v i c e of God, w i t h the promise of p a r a d i s e and e t e r n i t y at the end of her days . She belongs t o t h a t r a c e o f p e o p l e , who, as S a r t r e s a y s , "veu lent e x i s t e r t o u t a l a f o i s et t o u t de s u i t e " ^ , d e s i r i n g e v e r y t h i n g from . every moment. Only when Emma reaches the c l i m a x o f her s t range i l l n e s s , and i t i s f e a r e d t h a t she w i l l d i e , does she t u r n her d e s i r e s back t o God. In her f e v e r , she i s v i s i t e d by an h a l l u c i n a t i o n of c e l e s t i a l j oy i n which she yearns t o be r e c e i v e d once more by C h r i s t , as though by a l o v e r she has n e g l e c t e d , w h i l e God the F a t h e r , throned i n m a j e s t y , sends down h i s messengers t o c a r r y her o f f t o immortal b l i s s . A l o r s e l l e l a i s s a retomber sa t e t e , croyant entendre dans l e s espaces l e chant des harpes seraphiques et a p e r c e v o i r en un c i e l d ' a z u r , sur un t r o n e d ' o r , au m i l i e u des s a i n t s tenant des palmes v e r t e s , D ieu l e Pere t o u t e c l a t a n t de m a j e s t e , et qu i d 'un s igne f a i s a i t descendre vers l a t e r r e des anges aux a i l e s de flamme pour l ' e m p o r t e r dans l e u r s b r a s . Cet te v i s i o n sp lend ide demeura dans sa memoire comme l a chose l a p l u s b e l l e q u ' i l f u t p o s s i b l e de r e v e r . (p. 239) I t i s t h i s memory t h a t l e a d s her t o po ison h e r s e l f a f t e r her f i n a l d isappointment w i t h l i f e , i n t h e hope t h a t C h r i s t w i l l b r i n g about the m i r a c l e t h a t she has v a i n l y sought i n the wor ld of r e a l i t y : a s t a t e of t ranscendance i n which she w i l l f i n d a r e p r i e v e from t h e c o n d i t i o n of m o r t a l i t y . But a l though she t r i e s t o devote h e r s e l f f o r a w h i l e t o a - 16 -l i f e of r e l i g i o u s p i e t y a f t e r her r e c o v e r y , she l a t e r repeats her attempt t o f i n d a w o r l d l y r e a l i s a t i o n of her immorta l l o n g i n g s i n her l i a i s o n w i t h Leon. Emma Bovary p o s s e s s e s , i n almost l i m i t l e s s q u a n t i t i e s , a l l t h a t i s necessary t o ensure t h a t her heart w i l l be f i n a l l y , u t t e r l y s h a t t e r e d . A l l her dreams and d e s i r e s are d i r e c t e d towards one end o n l y : t o f i n d a means of d i s s o c i a t i n g h e r s e l f f rom a l l t h a t i s commonplace and s o r d i d i n l i f e , i n order t h a t she may exper ience h e r s e l f as a b e i n g perhaps w i t h more s i m i l a r i t i e s t o the f a b l e d q u a l i t i e s of the gods than t o o r d i n a r y mankind. Th is r a d i c a l v iew of "Bovarysme" can be s u b s t a n t i a t e d , I t h i n k , by a study o f F l a u b e r t ' s use of themat ic j u x t a p o s i t i o n w i t h i n the s t o r y . J u s t as Emma's l o n g i n g f o r an e a r t h l y s t a t e o f i m m o r t a l i t y i s represented throughout the book by an i d e a l i s e d and f a n t a s t i c a l p i c t u r e o f p o s s i b l e r e a l i t y , so F l a u b e r t symbol ises the phantom of m o r t a l i t y i n a way which c h a r a c t e r i s e s i t as p a i n f u l , u g l y , decay ing and obscene. Th is i s not t o say t h a t the a u t h o r ' s v iew of l i f e i s n e c e s s a r i l y t o be i d e n t i f i e d w i t h these images from the " r e a l w o r l d " , but t h a t through them, we are a b l e t o i d e n t i f y the h o r r o r of l i f e t h a t i s the profound cause of Emma's f l i g h t i n t o f a n t a s y . As Emma and Rodolphe beg in t h e i r l o v e a f f a i r , the author p rov ides a tawdry b a c k c l o t h of the a g r i c u l t u r a l f a i r . Rodolphe 's promises o f l o v e are echoed by t h e empty phrases of c i v i c o f f i c i a l s p r o m i s i n g a g l o r i o u s f u t u r e f o r the w o r l d . As the two lovers .move c l o s e r t o g e t h e r , a p r i z e f o r a s u p e r i o r q u a l i t y of manure i s announced i n the market p l a c e . - IT -"Ensemble de bonnes c u l t u r e s ! c r i a l e p r e s i d e n t . — T a n t o t , par exemple, quand j e s u i s venu chez vous . . . "A "M. B i z e t , de Quincampoix . " — S a v a i s - j e que j e vous accompagnerais? " S o i x a n t e et d i x f r a n c s ! " — C e n t f o i s meme, j ' a i v o u l u p a r t i r , et j e vous a i s u i v i e , j e s u i s r e s t ! . " F u m i e r s . " (p. 178) Emma's l o n g i n g t o be c a r r i e d o f f i n t o a m a g i c a l w o r l d by a superhuman hero i s accompanied by an image from the wor ld o f b i o l o g i c a l r e a l i t y t h a t not on ly f u r n i s h e s an i r o n i c comment on the nature of her dreams, but i s an exact symbol of t h e hated aspec ts of l i f e t h a t makes those dreams so a t t r a c t i v e . The appearance o f the b l i n d man i n the n o v e l occurs at the p o i n t at which Emma i s most i n v o l v e d i n the events which w i l l b r i n g about her d e s t r u c t i o n . A l though she i s at the he ight o f her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Leon , she i s a l r e a d y h o p e l e s s l y entangled w i t h her debts t o Lheureux. The b l i n d man i s her ange l o f d e a t h , j u s t as he i s a l i v i n g symbol of human decay and u g l i n e s s . The p i c t u r e t h a t he p resents i s v i v i d l y obscene, f o r here i s a b l a t a n t express ion of e v e r y t h i n g , t h a t "decent" bourgeo is s o c i e t y would most l i k e t o deny the e x i s t e n c e of i n the w o r l d . The e f f e c t t h a t he has on Emma i s e s p e c i a l l y p r o f o u n d , and t h e very sound o f h i s v o i c e c a r r i e s her away t o " l e s espaces d'une m e l a n c o l i e sans b o r n e s " . ( p . 248). There i s something about the d e s c r i p t i o n o f the b l i n d man's f a c e t h a t somehow r e c a l l s the d e s c r i p t i o n of the schoolboy C h a r l e s ' hat i n the opening pages of the book. - 18 -C ' e t a i t une de ces c o i f f e u r s d ' o r d r e compos i te , ou l ' o n r e t r o u v e l e s elements du "bonnet a p o l l , du chapska , du chapeau r o n d , de l a casquet te de l o u t r e de du bonnet de c o t o n , une de ces pauvres choses , e n f i n , dont l a l a i d e u r muette a des profondeurs d ' e x p r e s s i o n comme l e v i s a g e d 'un i m b e c i l e . (p. 38) T h i s hopeless o b j e c t , so f u l l o f c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , i s p resented as a symbol o f l u d i c r o u s p r e t e n t i o u s n e s s and chaos , and p rov ides the p e r f e c t symbol f o r t h e w h o l l y f a n t a s t i c a l manner i n which Emma's dreams have been patched t o g e t h e r from the a s s o r t e d read ings o f her g i r l h o o d , from her r e l i g i o u s e d u c a t i o n , from the t h e a t r e , and from adver t isements i n women's j o u r n a l s . The t r u t h t h a t these f a n t a s i e s are in tended t o concea l i s the s u b j e c t i o n of a l l l i v i n g t h i n g s t o the laws of b i o l o g i c a l p r o c e s s , whose u l t i m a t e symbol i s death . When the b l i n d man p u l l s o f f h i s o l d beaver h a t , h i s f a c e i s r e v e a l e d as a huge, d e c a y i n g , open wound. He has r e v e a l e d the d i s g u s t i n g secre t which l i e s beh ind a l l p re tense and e v a s i o n . quand i l l e r e t i r a i t , i l decouv ra i t a l a p l a c e des p a u p i e r e s , deux o r b i t e s beantes t o u t ensang lantees . La c h a i r s ' e f f i l o q u a i t par lambeaux r o u g e s ; et i l en c o u l a i t des l i q u i d e s qu i se f i g e a i e n t en g a l e s v e r t e s j u s q u ' a u n e z , dont l e s n a r i n e s n o i r e s r e n i f l a i e n t convu ls ivement . Pour vous p a r l e r , i l se r e n v e r s a i t l a t e t e avec un r i r e i d i o t ; — a l o r s ses p r u n e l l e s b l e u a t r e s , r o u l a n t d 'un mouvement c o n t i n u e , a l l a i e n t se cogner , ve rs l e s tempes, sur l e bord de l a p l a i e v i v e . (p. 291) Jus t as the t r a p p i n g s of a r i s t o c r a t i c l i f e a r e , i n a s e n s e , a complex dev i ce t o h i d e from the a r i s t o c r a t h i s b a s i c s i m i l a r i t y of b e i n g t o t h a t - 19 -of the p e a s a n t , so are Emma's dreams above a l l t h r e a t e n e d by the presence of the b l i n d man. Her dreams o f a s t a t e i n which she w i l l be i n v u l n e r a b l e t o the f o r c e s which a f f l i c t o r d i n a r y m o r t a l s have conf ronted the ve ry phenomenon t h a t gave them impetus . Her l o n g i n g f o r an i d e a l s p i r i t u a l and s e n s u a l l i f e has at l a s t found i t s own s p e c i a l nemesis : a b r u t a l and depraved v i s i o n of the f l e s h . Homais i s , to a l a r g e e x t e n t , a p a r a l l e l c h a r a c t e r t o Emma w i t h i n the n o v e l . He too seeks i m m o r t a l i t y , but at l e a s t h i s symbol o f t h i s s t a t e i s a t t a i n a b l e i n the w o r l d . He i s content t o seek r e c o g n i t i o n i n the wor ld o f men and a f f a i r s , whereas Emma seems on ly t o be s a t i s f i e d i f she can r e c e i v e a form of r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t no human b e i n g i s capable of bestowing . Perhaps she seeks the r e c o g n i t i o n of the gods. The pharmacist succeeds i n g e t t i n g h i s C r o i x d 'Honneur, but the d o c t o r ' s w i f e w i l l never f i n d what she i s seek ing i n t h i s w o r l d . Homais shares Emma's d i s g u s t f o r t h e i n e s c a p a b l e p r o o f s of m o r t a l i t y p r o v i d e d by t h e s i c k and t h e p o o r , yet h i s r e a c t i o n t o the s i t u a t i o n i s fundamenta l l y " w o r l d l y " . Homais sees s c i e n c e as a panacea f o r a l l s o c i a l i l l s . , which w i l l remove a l l u g l i n e s s and pover ty from t h e face of the e a r t h . He sees i n s c i e n c e a qu ick and mi racu lous s o l u t i o n to e v e r y t h i n g i n the w o r l d t h a t o f fends h i s s e n s i b i l i t i e s . Emma f e e l s t h a t t h i n g s must s u r e l y get b e t t e r as t ime p r o g r e s s e s , and can o n l y imagine t h a t t h i n g s must improve w i t h a mere change of scenery . L i f e , f o r h e r , i s always j u s t around the c o r n e r . - 20 -The pharmacist shares t h i s romant ic hope, yet f o r him i t i s always the s c i e n t i f i c U t o p i a t h a t i s fo reve r imminent , j u s t beyond the h o r i z o n . Homais' unconscious f e a r of death i s the f o r c e t h a t d r i v e s him t o act as though the human c o n d i t i o n were an a c c i d e n t a l malady t h a t w i l l one day be " c u r e d " by the m i r a c l e of modern m e d i c i n e . Yet as Emma's f a n t a s i e s r e s u l t i n t r a g e d y , so do Homais' l u d i c r o u s p r o j e c t s meet w i t h hopeless f a i l u r e , and added misery for . t h e i r u n f o r t u n a t e r e c i p i e n t s . The f i a s c o of H i p p o l y t e ' s o p e r a t i o n i s the r e s u l t of Homais' d e s i r e t o t h r u s t h i s f a n t a s t i c n o t i o n of s c i e n c e onto the w o r l d . H i s r e a c t i o n t o the b l i n d man i s t o suggest a preposterous cure of a " p h l o g i s t o n s a l v e " and c a r e f u l d i e t i n g . When he d i s c o v e r s some t ime l a t e r t h a t h i s cure was u s e l e s s , he i s f o r c e d t o d i s p l a y h i s r e a l h a t r e d of the s i c k by i n s t i g a t i n g a campaign aga ins t the b l i n d man w i t h the i n t e n t i o n of hav ing him f o r e v e r hidden from h i s , and s o c i e t y ' s , eyes , i n an asy lum. The cont inued presence of the b l i n d man t h r e a t e n s Homais w i t h the p o s s i b i l i t y of a d m i t t i n g t o h i m s e l f t h a t he i s sub ject t o the same laws of p h y s i c a l process t h a t are v i s i b l y r a v a g i n g the poor beggar . Sommes-nous encore a ces temps monstreux du moyen age , ou i l e t a i t permis aux vagabonds d ' e t a l e r par nos p l a c e s pub l iques l a l e p r e et l e s s c r o f u l e s q u ' i l s ava ient rappor tees de l a c r o i s a d e ? (p. 36l) F l a u b e r t makes a d i r e c t judgment on such men as Homais at t h i s p o i n t i n the n a r r a t i v e , when he comments t h a t the p h a r m a c i s t ' s a c t i o n " d e c e l a i t l a profondeur. de son i n t e l l i g e n c e et l a s c e l e r a t e s s e de sa v a n i t e " (p. 36l). - 21 -Homais i s a s e l f - s t y l e d enemy of the c h u r c h , and l i v e s i n the i l l u s i o n t h a t he i s c a r r y i n g the s p i r i t of V o l t a i r e i n t o the n i n e t e e n t h century . When he f i n d s h i m s e l f i n the company o f the v i l l a g e , p r i e s t , when Emma i s d y i n g , he compares the c l e r g y t o ravens who are a t t r a c t e d by the s m e l l of death . A g a i n , F l a u b e r t breaks the s i l e n c e of h i s p ro fessed i d e a l of " impersona l n a r r a t i o n " , and g i ves us a h i n t of h i s own c o n v i c t i o n s about t h e o r i g i n s of Homais' h a t r e d of p r i e s t s T l a vue d'un e c c l e s i a s t i q u e l u i e t a i t personnel lement d e s a g r e a b l e , car l a soutane l e f a i s a i t rever au l i n c e u l , et i l e x e c r a i t l ' u n e un peu par epouvante de 1 ' a u t r e . (p. 3^2) The author never passes any s i m i l a r judgement on h i s h e r o i n e , but she , u n l i k e Homais, d i e s as a consequence of her " s i n s " . C h a r l e s ' d e a t h , and B e r t h e ' s b e i n g sent t o work i n c h i I d - l a b o u r , are a l s o i n d i r e c t l y a t t r i b u t a b l e t o Emma's a c t i o n s . Apart from the importance o f r e a l i s i n g the s p e c i f i c nature o f Emma's f a n t a s i e s , i t i s a l s o important t o note t h a t F l a u b e r t does a l l o w her a few p e r i o d s of happiness i n h i s n o v e l . As l o n g as she b e l i e v e s t h a t her c o n t r a d i c t o r y no t ions have momentar i ly found r e a l i s a t i o n i n the w o r l d , and t h a t her l o v e r i s the i m p o s s i b l e hero of her dreams, she i s t o t a l l y , b l i s s f u l l y happy, and she g i v e s h e r s e l f c o m p l e t e l y , body and s o u l , t o him. - 22 -When she i s i n l o v e w i t h Rodolphe: Jamais Mme Bovary ne f u t a u s s i b e l l e q u ' a c e t t e epoque; e l l e a v a i t c e t t e i n d e f i n i s s a b l e beaute qu i r e s u l t e de l a j o i e , de 1'enthousiasme, du s u c c e s , et q u i n ' e s t que l ' h a r m o n i e du temperament avec l e s c i r c o n s t a n c e s . Ses c o n v o i t i s e s , ses c h a g r i n s , 1'experience du p l a i s i r et ses i l l u s i o n s t o u j o u r s j e u n e s , comme font aux f l e u r s l e f u m i e r , l a p l u i e , l e s vents et l e s o l e i l , l ' a v a i e n t par g r a d a t i o n developpee, et e l l e s ' e p a n o u i s s a i t e n f i n dans l a p l e n i t u d e de sa n a t u r e . (p. 222) When she i s i n l o v e w i t h Leon: Ce fu ren t t r o i s j o u r s p l e i n s , e x q u i s , s p l e n d i d e s , une v r a i e lune de m i e l . I l s e t a i e n t a 1'Hotel de Boulogne, sur l e p o r t . Et i l s v i v a i e n t l a , v o l e t s fe rmes , por tes c l o s e s , avec des f l e u r s par t e r r e et .des s i r o p s a l a g l a c e , qu'on l e u r a p p o r t a i t des l e m a t i n . (p. 280) But these p e r i o d s o f happiness are always s h o r t - l i v e d . Her a f f e c t i o n s f o r her men cease comple te l y the moment t h a t she d i s c o v e r s t h a t t h e r e are l i m i t s on the c a p a b i l i t i e s t h a t she imagines t h a t they possess . As soon as she d i s c o v e r s t h a t Leon w i l l not s t e a l f o r h e r , she h u r l s him comple te l y out of her h e a r t . But the i d e a t h a t he w i l l s t e a l f o r her i s an i n v e n t i o n of her own, complete ly f a l s e , yet w h o l l y necessary t o t h e s a t i s f a c t i o n of her enormous d e s i r e s . Perhaps t h e r e i s an unconsc ious connect ion between Emma's f e a r of death and,her c h o i c e of a doctor f o r a husband, f o r i t i s a f t e r the ca tas t rophe of the o p e r a t i o n on H i p p o l y t e ' s l e g t h a t she l o s e s her l a s t - 23 -atom of respec t f o r him. She can no longer imagine t h a t her husband possesses any superhuman powers, and she f e e l s bet rayed by the r e v e l a t i o n . Comment done a v a i t - e l l e f a i t ( e l l e qu i e t a i t s i i n t e l l i g e n t e . ' ) pour se meprendre encore une f o i s ? Du r e s t e , par q u e l l e d e p l o r a b l e manie a v o i r a i n s i abime son e x i s t e n c e en s a c r i f i c e s c o n t i n u e l s ? E l l e se r a p p e l a tous ses i n s t i n c t s de l u x e , t o u t e s l e s p r i v a t i o n s de son ame, l e s bassesses du m a r i a g e , du menage, ses reves tombant dans l a boue comme des h i r o n d e l l e s b l e s s e e s , tou t ce q u ' e l l e a v a i t d e s i r e , tou t ce q u ' e l l e s ' e t a i t r e f u s e , tou t ce q u ' e l l e a u r a i t pu avo i r . ' Et p o u r q u o i , pourquoi? (p. 213) E l l e se r e p e n t a i t , comme d'un c r i m e , de sa v e r t u p a s s e e , et ce qu i en r e s t a i t encore s ' e c r o u l a i t sous l e s coups f u r i e u x de son o r g u e i l . (p. 213) When she d i s c o v e r s tha t Rodolphe does not have enough ready money t o g ive her the t h r e e thousand f r a n c s , she f e e l s complete ly b e t r a y e d , f o r she needs a man w i t h u n l i m i t e d w e a l t h i n order t o t r a n s p o r t her t o p a r a d i s e , t o save her from d e a t h . She has i n s t a l l e d a w a l l o f f a n t a s y between h e r s e l f and the w o r l d so t h a t she may not see i t s r e a l i t y , a w a l l which has t h e temporary power t o soothe h e r , but when i t i s f i n a l l y and i n e v i t a b l y d e s t r o y e d , t h a t r e a l i t y overwhelms h e r , and c a r r i e s her o f f i n t o anguish and d e s p a i r . Emma never c r i t i c i s e s h e r s e l f , never attempts t o ana lyse her d e s i r e s , f o r to s p l i t up her composite and i m p o s s i b l e demands i n t o r e c o g n i s a b l e and commonplace d e s i r e s would e n t a i l her s i m u l t a n e o u s l y r e c o g n i s i n g h e r s e l f as an o r d i n a r y human b e i n g sub ject t o the same p h y s i c a l laws as - 24 -everyone e l s e . Love , a r t , r e l i g i o n and sex are f o r her ming led together i n a f a n t a s t i c manner, and she makes no r e a l d i s t i n c t i o n between them. She wants t o make a god out of Rodolphe and a l o v e r out of J e s u s . She wants t o run headlong i n t o the arms of a hero who i s i n f i n i t e l y brave and compassionate , ab le t o do any deed f o r h e r , and ab le t o weep r i v e r s of t e a r s when n e c e s s a r y ; t o go t o him s h o u t i n g , " E n l e v e - m o i , emmene-moi, p a r t o n s ! A t o i , a t o i l t o u t e s mes ardeurs et tous mes r e v e s ! " (p.. 251) Emma's profound f e a r of l i f e demands t h a t her l o v e r be some k i n d o f s a v i o u r , i n whose arms she w i l l f i n d the m i r a c l e t h a t her s o u l s e c r e t l y yearns f o r : a r e p r i e v e from the human c o n d i t i o n . . A l though Homais f i n a l l y gets h i s medal , Emma w i l l never f i n d "un e t r e , f o r t et b e a u , une nature v a l e u r e u s e , p l e i n e a l a f o i s d ' e x a l t a t i o n de de r a f f i n e m e n t s , un coeur de poete sous une forme d 'ange , l y r e aux cordes d ' a i r a i n , sonnant vers l e c i e l des epi thalames e lega iques . . . " (p. 306) When she f i n a l l y sees no way out o f the h o r r i d web of debt and l i e s t h a t she has spun, Emma dec ides t o commit s u i c i d e . Yet her dreams about the a c t u a l nature of her d y i n g are as f a r removed from the r e a l i t y of d e a t h , as her dreams about p a r a d i s e on e a r t h are from the w o r l d i t s e l f . Tout et el le-meme l u i e t a i e n t i n s u p p o r t a b l e s . E l l e a u r a i t v o u l u , s 'echappant comme un o i s e a u , a l l e r se r a j e u n i r quelque p a r t , b i e n l o i n , dans l e s espaces immacules. (p. 271) S i m i l a r l y , the means t h a t she chooses t o p rov ide h e r s e l f w i t h t h i s romant ic death i s as u n s u i t e d t o her purpose as i t c o u l d p o s s i b l y be. - 25 -Her innocent cho ice of a r s e n i c as the agent of a p a i n l e s s and dreaml ike depar ture i s the f i n a l c l a s h i n the nove l between Emma's v iew of the w o r l d and the a c t u a l f a c t s of e x i s t e n c e . Her death i s unbearably l o n g , h o r r i b l y p a i n f u l , and ve ry u g l y . A l l her pretences have f lown away, and she i s t ransformed i n t o the i n c a r n a t i o n o f the s p e c t r e of hideous m o r t a l i t y , that she had spent her l i f e t r y i n g t o escape. As she l i e s d y i n g , she hears the b l i n d man's song d r i f t i n through the window. I I s o u f f l a b ien f o r t ce j o u r - l a , Et l e jupon court s 'envo la . ' (p. 303) The song i s a profane r e f e r e n c e t o the f l e s h l y r e a l i t i e s t h a t p r e t t y young g i r l s ' c l o t h i n g i s in tended to c o n c e a l . At the moment of her d e a t h , Emma has recogn i zed the b l i n d man as the symbol ic menace t o her i l l u s i o n s of i m m o r t a l i t y . - 26 -In the n o v e l we have j u s t s t u d i e d , the f e a r o f death t h a t p r o p e l s the main c h a r a c t e r i s not made e x p l i c i t i n the n a r r a t i v e , but has t o be i n f e r r e d from the nature of her dreams, i d e a l s , and i l l u s i o n s . Emma's f e a r of death i s w h o l l y u n c o n s c i o u s , and t h e r e i s ve ry l i t t l e e v i d e n c e , w i t h i n the book or e lsewhere , t h a t F l a u b e r t in tended us t o conclude t h a t h i s h e r o i n e ' s f a t e i s the r e s u l t of any th ing more than a n a i v e attempt t o break away from the s u f f o c a t i n g ted ium of her bourgeo is e x i s t e n c e . The " p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y c o n v i n c i n g account" t h a t I c l a i m t o be con ta ined i n the work i s r e v e a l e d through an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of s u r f a c e s igns t h a t p o i n t toward a concealed s t r u c t u r e i n the t e x t . I do not t h i n k i t presumptuous t o a s s e r t t h a t F l a u b e r t was h a r d l y more aware of the profound causes of h i s h e r o i n e ' s f a t e than she was h e r s e l f , and i t seems t h a t the o n l y hypothes is t h a t we can j u s t i f i a b l y d e r i v e from the s u r f a c e n a r r a t i v e i s the one t h a t G a u l t i e r o f f e r s i n Le_ Bovarysme: I I semble en e f f e t p a r f o i s que l a f a u s s e concept ion q u ' e l l e prend d 'e l le -meme et des choses s u f f i s e a causer son a v e r s i o n pour t o u t e r e a l i t e . ^ -Yet i n Madame Bovary , F l a u b e r t at l e a s t o f f e r s us a p o r t r a i t of the . " r e a l i t y " t h a t G a u l t i e r f a i l s t o d e s c r i b e i n h i s account of the work, and i t i s i n the manner o f vits~ ' d e p i c t i o m t h a t we are a b l e to f i n d the c lue t o the unconscious causes of Emma's a c t i o n s , and perhaps , t o F l a u b e r t ' s own a n t i p a t h y towards everyday r e a l i t y . In order t o c l a r i f y my c l a i m t h a t F l a u b e r t p r o v i d e s us w i t h the means - 27 -to a r r i v e at the o r i g i n s of Emma's f a n t a s i e s wi thout b e i n g aware t h a t he i s do ing s o , I f i n d i t h e l p f u l t o r e f e r the reader t o a d i s t i n c t i o n employed by the l i t e r a r y t h e o r i s t , Rene G i r a r d . In h i s b r i l l i a n t a n a l y s i s of m e t a p h y s i c a l d e s i r e , Mensonge Romantique  et V e r i t e Romanesque , G i r a r d d i v i d e s the authors whose works demonstrate the "mechanics" of d e s i r e i n t o two c a t e g o r i e s : the romantique ( r o m a n t i c ) , and the romanesque ( n o v e l i s t i c ) . The romantique authors are those whose works show the mechanism of d e s i r e and i l l u s i o n , yet who remain unaware of t h i s , s i n c e t h e i r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h t h e i r c h a r a c t e r s ' d e s i r e s i s too c l o s e . From t h i s p o i n t of v i e w , Chateaubr iand 's Rene can be s a i d t o be romant ique , s i n c e a l though we are ab le t o deduce the genes is and development o f the h e r o ' s dreams and d e s i r e s from i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t i s i n h e r e n t i n the t e x t , h i s dreams, f o r the most p a r t , seem t o be synonymous w i t h those of the author . In c o n t r a s t t o Rene, S t e n d h a l ' s Le Rouge et l e N o i r i s c l e a r l y romanesque, s i n c e the author demonstrates t h e laws govern ing t h e f o r m a t i o n o f h i s h e r o ' s ambi t ions i n accordance w i t h a scheme t h a t d i f f e r s markedly from J u l i e n ' s way o f t h i n k i n g about h i m s e l f . I n s o f a r as F l a u b e r t ' s n o v e l has l e d me t o a v iew o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' a c t i o n s t h a t seems t o be more p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y r e v e a l i n g than h i s own, I t h i n k I can i n c l u d e him among the authors who, f o r the purposes of t h i s t h e s i s , I s h a l l c a l l romant ique. F l a u b e r t ' s n o v e l can be cons idered an example of p s y c h o l o g i c a l r e a l i s m i n the sense t h a t he observes h i s h e r o i n e ' s thoughts w i t h the same - 28 -p a i n s t a k i n g care t h a t he devotes t o her a c t i o n s . Yet he i s not a " p s y c h o l o g i s t " i n the same way as Stendhal or D o s t o i e v s k y , nor does he seem t o care t o d i s c o v e r the u n d e r l y i n g f o r c e s i n human behav iour . G a u l t i e r i s h i m s e l f aware of the seeming c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n d i s c o v e r i n g a " p s y c h o l o g i c a l law" i n the work of an a r t i s t l i k e F l a u b e r t , and c l a i m s t o have based h i s own ideas on what he c a l l e d an " a r t i s t i c i n t u i t i o n " t h a t he l o c a t e s i n Madame Bovary. F l a u b e r t f u t , dans t o u t e l a f o r c e du te rme, un a r t i s t e . I I f a u t done se garder de penser q u ' i l a i t e c r i t ses l i v r e s dans l e but de demontrer 1'exact i tude d'une l o i psycho log ique et de l a f o r m u l e r . I I fau t garder de c r o i r e qu'on l u i p r e t e i c i c e t t e i n t e n t i o n . Aucun s o u c i sans doute ne f u t p l u s e l o i g n e de son e s p r i t et son p a r t i p r i s d ' a r t p u r , e x c l u a n t , comme s u b a l t e r n e , t o u t e p reoccupat ion morale ou ; , s c i e n t i f i q u e , .est une g a r a n t i e de son i n d i f f e r e n c e a cet egard.3 L i k e G a u l t i e r , I owe F l a u b e r t a t r i b u t e of thanks f o r the f a c t t h a t h i s n o v e l seems t o have been , almost a g a i n s t h i s w i s h e s , "about" something. In Madame Bovary , F l a u b e r t ' s v i s i o n of m o r t a l i t y i s communicated t o us by a r e c u r r e n t p a t t e r n o f imagery t h a t has p rov ided me w i t h the key t o an unders tand ing o f the deeper causes o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' a c t i o n s . In N i e l s Lyhne ( l 8 8 0 ) , the p reoccupat ion w i t h death i s man i fes ted i n an e x p l i c i t form i n the n a r r a t i v e , and i s l i n k e d by the author t o the fo rmat ion of the h e r o ' s dreams and a m b i t i o n s . The n o v e l occup ies a middle p o s i t i o n , bo th t h e m a t i c a l l y and c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y , between the o ther - 29 -two works s t u d i e d i n t h i s t h e s i s , and Jacobsen 's t reatment of N i e l s ' c h a r a c t e r ba lances p e r f e c t l y between F l a u b e r t ' s - r o m a n t i q u e p o r t r a y a l o f Madame Bovary and I b s e n ' s w h o l l y romanesque h a n d l i n g o f John G a b r i e l Borkman. L i k e h i s h e r o , Jens Pete r Jacobsen (1847-85) was a w r i t e r d e d i c a t e d to the i d e a l of a the i sm. U n l i k e N i e l s , however, Jacobsen was s u c c e s s f u l as an a u t h o r , and c o n s i s t e n t i n h i s a t h e i s t i c b e l i e f s . H i s d e c i s i o n t o devote h i m s e l f e n t i r e l y t o a r t came c o m p a r a t i v e l y l a t e i n h i s short l i f e , and h i s f i r s t n o v e l l a , Mogens. (l872 ) , was f o l l o w e d by h i s t r a n s l a t i o n o f Darwin 's O r i g i n of the Spec ies i n t o Dan ish . Whi le he was a student o f p h i l o s o p h y and botany he was i n v o l v e d , f o r a w h i l e , w i t h the l i b e r a l and r a d i c a l movements i n Copenhagen, and i t i s p robable t h a t he at t h a t t ime became acqua in ted w i t h the ph i losophy of Ludwig Feuerbach. Feuerbach was foremost among the few t h i n k e r s i n the h i s t o r y o f the West who have i n s i s t e d on a c a u s a l l i n k between man's f e a r of death and h i s d e s i r e f o r i m m o r t a l i t y . Indeed, Feuerbach 's whole p h i l o s o p h y i s founded on the b e l i e f t h a t the " i n v e n t i o n " o f the C h r i s t i a n God was a d i r e c t consequence o f the f e a r o f death . i n der R e l i g i o n sucht der Mensch z u g l e i c h d i e M i t t e l gegen d a s , wovon er s i c h abhangig f i i h l t . So i s t das M i t t e l gegen den Tod der U n s t e r b l i c h k e i t s g l a u b e ^ ( i n r e l i g i o n man l o o k s f o r defenses a g a i n s t what he f e e l s dependent on. Thus h i s defense aga ins t death i s t h e b e l i e f i n i m m o r t a l i t y . ) 5 - 30 -In Das Wesen des Chr istenthums ( l 8 4 l ) , Feuerbach argues t h a t God i s a w h o l l y a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l c o n c e p t ; t h a t f o r c e n t u r i e s man has p r o j e c t e d h i s best q u a l i t i e s , l o v e , c h a r i t y , u n d e r s t a n d i n g , c r e a t i v i t y , onto an i l l u s o r y e x t e r n a l be ing i n the v a i n hope t h a t t h i s b e i n g w i l l confer on him h i s most c h e r i s h e d hope: freedom from the c o n d i t i o n of m o r t a l i t y . The r e s u l t of t h i s , Feuerbach c l a i m s , i s t h a t man's concept ion o f h i m s e l f has become impover ished . He devotes much of h i s book t o p roofs of the n o n - e x i s t e n c e of God, and concludes t h a t s i n c e man's d e s i r e f o r i m m o r t a l i t y can never be f u l f i l l e d , he must t u r n t o a new " r e l i g i o n " which c e l e b r a t e s the f i n i t e nature of a l l t h i n g s i n n a t u r e : der R e l i g i o n , i n w i e f e r n s i e n i c h t s Anderes a u s d r u c k t , a l s das Gefuh l der E n d l i c h k e i t und Abhangigke i t des Menschen von der N a t u r . ^ (the r e l i g i o n t h a t expresses n o t h i n g o ther than man's f e e l i n g of f i n i t e n e s s and dependency on nature . )T Feuerbach 's enthusiasm i s d e f i n i t e l y echoed by N i e l s Lyhne 's c l a i m s f o r the f u t u r e of a the ism i n Jacobsen 's n o v e l , ye t the s t r a i n t h a t i s c o n s i s t e n t l y m i s s i n g from N i e l s ' apostrophes i s the emphasis t h a t Feuerbach p l a c e s on the i d e a o f f i n i t e n e s s . We s h a l l see i n the f o l l o w i n g chapter t h a t N i e l s c o n s i s t e n t l y dreams t h a t a s o r t o f i n f i n i t e expansion of the s p i r i t w i l l r e s u l t from man's f r e e i n g h i m s e l f from romant ic and r e l i g i o u s i n f l u e n c e s ; t h a t the new d o c t r i n e o f " r e a l i s m " w i l l confer "bound less" p o s s i b i l i t i e s on those who - 31 -b e l i e v e i n i t . L i k e Emma Bovary , N i e l s ' dreams o f becoming, t o use G a u l t i e r ' s p h r a s e , "o ther than he i s " , are founded on the d e s i r e t o t ranscend the l i m i t s of human e x i s t e n c e . Jacobsen p o r t r a y s h i s hero as a young man t o r n between h i s romant ic temperament, t h a t has i t s r o o t s i n the p a s t , and h i s a t h e i s t i c and a r t i s t i c c o n v i c t i o n s t h a t have as t h e i r ob jec t the moulding of a new w o r l d f o r the f u t u r e . The p a r t o f N i e l s t h a t u n c o n s c i o u s l y yearns f o r i m m o r t a l i t y - the Romantic " i n f i n i t e " - i s symbol ized by h i s a l l e g i a n c e t o h i s mother , B a r t h o l i n e B l i d , a woman who so c l o s e l y resembles Emma Bovary t h a t we cannot avo id the thought t h a t Jacobsen i n t e n t i o n a l l y based her on F l a u b e r t ' s h e r o i n e . N i e l s ' temperamental a l l e g i a n c e to the past stands as an o b s t a c l e between h i m s e l f and h i s i d e a l of the f u t u r e i n the same way t h a t h i s unconscious d e s i r e s f r u s t r a t e the r e a l i z a t i o n o f h i s consc ious a m b i t i o n s . I f the n a t u r a l outcome of the f e a r of death i s the d e s i r e f o r i m m o r t a l i t y , then the n a t u r a l consequence of an unconscious f e a r o f death i s t h a t the i n d i v i d u a l w i l l s t r u g g l e , aga in u n c o n s c i o u s l y , t o f i n d an ob jec t t o f u l f i l l h i s d e s i r e f o r i m m o r t a l i t y . Feuerbach seems t o have b e l i e v e d t h a t i t would be s u f f i c i e n t f o r men t o r e j e c t the i d e a of God f o r them t o be f o r e v e r f r e e d from the i l l u s i o n t h a t he might escape death . He d i d not suspect t h a t t h i s d e s i r e might be so f i r m l y rooted i n a par t o f our consc iousness o f which we are not aware t h a t the quest f o r i m m o r t a l i t y might s t i l l be s y m b o l i c a l l y enacted i n the l i f e of a man who f e r v e n t l y b e l l h i m s e l f t o be an a t h e i s t . N i e l s Lyhne i s the s t o r y of such a man. - 32 -J a c o b s e n ' s n o v e l ends w i t h h i s y o u t h f u l h e r o ' s d y i n g " t h e d i f f i c u l t d e a t h " a f t e r b e i n g wounded i n b a t t l e i n the s e r v i c e o f h i s c o u n t r y . He g r a c i o u s l y r e f u s e s Dr . H j e r r i l d ' s o f f e r t o b r i n g him a p r i e s t , choos ing t o meet h i s end d e f i a n t l y , w i thout the i l l u s o r y comfor ts a f f o r d e d by the r i t e s of the c h u r c h . He has d i e d a c c o r d i n g t o h i s own v i s i o n o f an a t h e i s t i c i d e a l , the i d e a l t h a t he had o n l y f a l t e r i n g l y obeyed d u r i n g h i s l i f e . A f t e r the death of h i s mother , N i e l s had met H j e r r i l d i n a c a f e i n Copenhagen on Chr is tmas Eve. N e i t h e r H j e r r i l d nor N i e l s have any remain ing r e l a t i v e s , no l i n k w i t h the past t h a t can g i v e the y e a r l y r i t u a l any p e r s o n a l meaning. In a sudden f i t o f e n t h u s i a s m , perhaps born of d e s p e r a t i o n , N i e l s r e l a t e s t o h i s f r i e n d h i s dream of a s h i n i n g f u t u r e f o r mankind , a new age i n which humanity w i l l be at l a s t f r e e d from the t y ranny o f r e l i g i o n . In h i s f a n t a s y N i e l s imagines t h a t u l t i m a t e meaning w i l l r e v e r t t o the human r a c e i t s e l f , and t h a t t h i s E a r t h w i l l be seen to be the Heaven t h a t men have b e l i e v e d t o e x i s t beyond l i f e . H j e r r i l d admires N i e l s ' enthusiasm f o r his i d e a l , ye t he cannot h e l p remark ing the i r o n y i n the s p e c t a c l e o f a young man's n e a r - r e l i g i o u s f a n a t i c i s m brought t o the s e r v i c e o f a t h e i s m : Og hvor i a l Verden s k a l han b l i v e f a n a t i s k f o r noget N e g a t i v t ? F a n a t i s k f o r den I d e , a t der ingen Gud er t i l ! - og uden F a n a t i s m e , ingen S e j r , . . Troen paa en s t y r e n d e , dSmmende Gud det er Mennesliehedens s i d s t e s t o r e I l l u s i o n , og hvad s a a , naar den har t a b t den? Saa er den b leven k l o g e r e ; men r i g e r e , l y k k e l i g e r e ? Jeg ser det i k k e . (pp. 149-150) - 33 -(And how i n the w o r l d can he get f a n a t i c about a negat ion? F a n a t i c f o r the i d e a t h a t t h e r e i s no God.1 - But w i thout f a n a t i c i s m t h e r e i s no v i c t o r y . . . The b e l i e f i n a God who r u l e s e v e r y t h i n g i s humani ty 's l a s t great i l l u s i o n , and when t h a t i s gone, what then? Then you are w i s e r ; but r i c h e r , happier? I c a n ' t see i t . ) [pp. 144-1451 N i e l s r e p l i e s by s k e t c h i n g out the a n t i c i p a t e d progress o f h i s i d e a l . He imagines a great b a t t l e o f f a i t h l a s t i n g through many g e n e r a t i o n s , and h i m s e l f t o be one o f the s p i r i t u a l ances to rs of the a t h e i s t i c l e g i o n s of tomorrow. H i s f e r v o u r i s r e l i g i o u s . , yet i t aims f o r the overthrow of r e l i g i o n . H i s i d e a l i s a romant ic one, yet i t i s t o be fought f o r i n the name of " l i f e as i t i s " . C o n s i d e r i n g these c o n t r a d i c t i o n s i n N i e l s ' b e h a v i o u r , H j e r r i l d very shrewdly dubs h i s young f r i e n d ' s cause , " p i e t i s t i c a l a t h e i s m " . Georg Brandes c a l l e d N i e l s Lyhne " a s t range anachronism" (en u n d e r l i g A n a c h r o n i s m e ) \ and N i e l s i s h i m s e l f haunted by the f e e l i n g t h a t he was born out o f t h i s t i m e : Under t iden syntes det ham, han var fod t et h a l v t Aarhundrede f o r s e n t , sommetider igen ogsaa , at han v a r kommet a l t f o r t i d l i g t . T a l e n t e t nos ham stod med s i n Rod i noget Forbigangent og havde kun L i v i d e t , kunde i k k e drage Naer ing a f hans Meninger , hans O v e r b e v i s n i n g , hans Sympat ie r , kunde i k k e tage det pp i s i g og g i v e det Form. (pp. 236 - 237) (Sometimes i t seemed to him t h a t he had been born h a l f a century too l a t e , sometimes t h a t he had come a l t o g e t h e r too e a r l y . H is t a l e n t was r o o t e d i n some-t h i n g o f the p a s t ; i t c o u l d not draw nourishment from h i s o p i n i o n s , h i s c o n v i c t i o n s , and h i s sympath ies , cou ld not absorb them and g i v e them fo rm. ) Cp. 2191 - 34 -N i e l s ' mother had tho rough ly i n d o c t r i n a t e d her son i n t o her romant i n o t i o n of l i f e , ye t i t was a l s o she who had f i r s t communicated t o him the hopelessness of seek ing the o b j e c t s of fancy i n t h i s w o r l d . L i k e Emma Bovary , B a r t h o l i n e B l i d had f i r s t b e l i e v e d the m a g i c a l r e a l i t y o f the romant ic w r i t e r s t o e x i s t somewhere on the face o f t h i s E a r t h , and when the f a c t s of exper ience c o n t r a d i c t her l o n g i n g s , she f e e l s cheated and b e t r a y e d . Even when N i e l s takes her t o C larens i n S w i t z e r l a n d , t o the a c t u a l l o c a t i o n d e s c r i b e d by her "beloved Rousseau, she does not recogn i ze the beauty of the s e t t i n g as hav ing any r e l a t i o n s h i p t o the p o e t i c evocat ions o f her books . E v e r y t h i n g i s too d e f i n i t e , too s p e c i f i to match the e t h e r e a l t e x t u r e of her dreams. Her profound d e s i r e f o r a s t a t e of b e i n g i n which she w i l l f i n d a r e p r i e v e from the c o n d i t i o n of m o r t a l i t y i s f r u s t r a t e d by the f a c t t h a t the t r e e s and water and rocks of S w i t z e r l a n d are fundamenta l ly the same as those she ha.d known i n Denmark. Her deepest need i s to c ross a m a g i c a l t h r e s h o l d i n t o a w o r l d t h a t i s w h o l l y d i s c o n t i n u o u s w i t h the wor ld of r e a l i t y . Nor i s she s a t i s f i e d w i t h dreaming, f o r she demands the i m p o s s i b l e : the d i r e c t apprehension o f the wor ld of u n r e a l i t y e x i s t i n g i n the r e a l w o r l d . Only f o r a few f l e e t i n g minutes does she g l impse a r e f l e c t i o n o f her l ong ings Da var d e t , naar g u l t b e l y s t e A f t e n t a a g e r s k j u l t e de f j a e r n e J u r a b j e r g e , og Soen, rod som et K o b b e r s p e j l , med gyldne Flammer tunget i n d i S o l r o d t s g l o d e n , syntes gaa sammen med Himmelskaeret t i l et s t o r t , l ysende Uendel ighedshav , da var det en e n k e l t Gang i m e l l e m , som om Laengslen forstummed og S j a e l e n havde fundet Landet , som den sog te . (p. 119) - 35 -(Then, when the b r i g h t y e l l o w m i s t s o f evening v e i l e d the d i s t a n t J u r a Mounta ins , and the l a k e , l i k e a copper m i r r o r from which tongues o f golden f lame shot i n t o the red sunset g low, seemed t o melt w i t h the sky i n t o one v a s t , s h i n i n g i n f i n i t y , - then i t would seem, once i n a great w h i l e , as though the l o n g i n g were s i l e n c e d , and the s o u l had found the l a n d i t sought . ) Cpp. 118 - 1193 When she i s u n a b l e , f i n a l l y , to f i n d her mi racu lous h e a v e n - o n - e a r t h , she beg ins t o l o o k forward t o death i n the hope t h a t she w i l l f i n d the l a n d she i s seek ing beyond the g rave . L i k e Werther , she i s the possessor of a s o u l t h a t cannot endure t h e i d e a of l i m i t a t i o n , and she sees death as the inst rument t h a t w i l l r e l e a s e her from the wor ld o f f i n i t e r e a l i t y . Yet death i s the very c o n d i t i o n t h a t d e f i n e s the l i m i t e d nature o f human e x i s t e n c e , and her unconsc ious f e a r o f d e a t h , whose outward m a n i f e s t a t i o n i s her d e s i r e f o r t ranscendence , i s the . f o r c e t h a t l i e s at the heart o f her profound f e a r o f l i f e . L i k e h i s mother , N i e l s has t r i e d t o t u r n h i s back on h i s dreams, yet he can never r i d h i m s e l f of the constant f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h f a n t a s i e s t h a t have n o t h i n g t o do w i t h the w o r l d as he a c t u a l l y p e r c e i v e s i t . H i s sec re t l o n g i n g f o r t ranscendence cannot be s a t i s f i e d by the o b s t i n a t e p a r t i c u l a r i t y o f the t h i n g s o f the w o r l d , which r e f u s e t o mould them-se l ves a c c o r d i n g t o h i s d e s i r e s . L i k e Emma Bovary , l i k e Homais, l i k e h i s mother , he f e e l s t h a t the r e a l i z a t i o n of h i s dreams i s f o r e v e r imminent; t h a t " l i f e " i s always " j u s t around the c o r n e r " . He i s o f t e n f i l l e d w i t h e x u l t a t i o n at the thought of some v a g u e l y - c o n c e i v e d a r t i s t i c - 36 -p r o j e c t , but h i s p u r e l y emot iona l c o n v i c t i o n s r a r e l y come t o a n y t h i n g , and soon he f i n d s h i m s e l f immersed once more i n h i s r e v e r i e s : N i e l s Lyhne var t r a e t ; d i s s e i d e l i g e T i l l o b t i l et S p r i n g , der a l d r i g b l e v sprunget , havde mattet ham, A l t i n g b l e v h u l t og v a e r d l o s t f o r ham, fo rv raenget og f o r v i r r e t , og saa smaat desuden; det syntes ham n a t u r l i g t at stoppe s i n e Oren og stoppe s i n Mund, og saa saenke s i g ned i S t u d i e r , der i k k e havde noget med Verdenskvalmet at g o r e , men var som et s t i l l e Havdyb f o r s i g s e l v , med f r e d e l i g e Tangskove og k u r i o s e Dyr . (p. 179) ( N i e l s Lyhne was t i r e d . These repeated runnings to a l e a p t h a t was never leaped wear ied h im. E v e r y -t h i n g seemed t o him h o l l o w and w o r t h l e s s , d i s t o r t e d and c o n f u s e d , and o h , so petty . ' He p r e f e r r e d t o stop h i s ears and stop h i s mouth and t o immerse h i m s e l f i n s t u d i e s t h a t had n o t h i n g t o do w i t h the everyday w o r l d , but were l i k e an ocean a p a r t , where he cou ld wander p e a c e f u l l y i n s i l e n t f o r e s t s o f seaweed among c u r i o u s a n i m a l s . ) Cp. IJll N i e l s f u r t h e r resembles h i s mother i n t h a t h i s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h r e l i g i o n , l i k e her attempt t o t rample on her dreams, stems not from a reasoned a p p r a i s a l of h i s b e l i e f , but from the f e e l i n g of b e t r a y a l he exper ienced when h i s demands upon the God he had imagined were not f u l f i l l e d . When Edele Lyhne d i e s , he spurns God i n h i s hear t f o r not p roduc ing the m i r a c l e he had prayed f o r . H i s atheism t h e n , i s not a u t h e n t i c , but r a t h e r a p o s i t i o n of d e f i a n c e . Jacobsen comments t h a t N i e l s has merely chosen t o change a l l e g i a n c e s , l i k e a " v a s s a l who t a k e s up arms a g a i n s t h i s l i e g e - l o r d ; f o r he s t i l l b e l i e v e d , and cou ld not d r i v e out h i s f a i t h by d e f i a n c e . " Cp. 621 - 37 -The death of h i s b e a u t i f u l cous in i s the d e c i s i v e , though not the o n l y , - f a c t o r i n the fo rmat ion of N i e l s ' i n a u t h e n t i c a t h e i s m . When he hears Edele r e p r o v i n g Bigum w i t h the words " t h e r e i s n ' t a s i n g l e o b s t a c l e t h a t can be dreamed out o f the w o r l d " Cp. 531, something w i t h i n the young N i e l s r e c o i l s as he grasps the meaning of her words. Han havde f o r f o r s t e Gang f o l t F ryg t f o r L i v e t , f o r f o r s t e Gang v i r k e l i g b e g r e b e t , at naar det havde domt En t i l at l i d e , saa var denne Dom hverken d i g t e t e l l e r t r u e t , men saa b l e v man s l a e b t t i l Pinebaenken og saa b l e v man p i n t , og der kom i det s i d s t e O j e b l i k ingen a e v e n t y r l i g B e f r i e l s e , ingen p l u d s e l i g Opvaagnen som f r a en ond Drom. Det v a r d e t , han f o r s t o d i a n e l s e s f u l d Angs t . (p. 4 6 ) (For the f i r s t t ime he was a f r a i d o f l i f e . For the f i r s t t ime h i s mind grasped the f a c t t h a t when l i f e has sentenced you t o s u f f e r , the sentence i s n e i t h e r a fancy nor a t h r e a t , but you are dragged t o the r a c k , and you are t o r t u r e d , and t h e r e i s no marvelous rescue at the l a s t moment, no awakening as from a bad dream. He f e l t i t as a fo rebod ing which s t r u c k him w i t h t e r r o r . ) Cp. 5^ -3 Al though N i e l s i s a p p a l l e d by the s i g h t o f h i s t u t o r , Mr. Bigum, debasing h i m s e l f and h i s b e l i e f s i n a hopeless attempt t o win E d e l e ' s l o v e , t h i s scene t h a t has such a profound impress ion on h i s young mind i s d e s t i n e d t o be r e p e a t e d , t o a c e r t a i n measure, i n h i s own l i f e . When h i s c h i l d i s d y i n g , N i e l s b reaks the d e f i a n t s i l e n c e t h a t he has kept up a g a i n s t God, and o f f e r s to s a c r i f i c e h i s whole b e i n g i n r e t u r n f o r the - 38 -t h i n g t h a t he l o v e s more than any th ing i n the w o r l d . Yet j u s t as Bigum's p l e a s are r e j e c t e d by Edele Lyhne, so are N i e l s ' p l e a s t o God unanswered f o r the second t i m e . L i k e Bigum, he has bet rayed h i s i d e a l , s a c r i f i c e d h i s i n t e g r i t y , and has r e c e i v e d n o t h i n g i n r e t u r n . A f t e r t h i s , N i e l s Lyhne i s s p i r i t u a l l y dead; h i s dreams have f a i l e d h i m , he has l o s t h i s f a i t h " i n the a b i l i t y o f human be ings t o bear the l i f e they had to l i v e " Cp. 2401, and the w o r l d o f r e a l i t y i n which he had hoped t o f i n d the a n t i d o t e t o the s i c k n e s s of h i s s o u l now seems t o be the b i t t e r e s t p i l l o f a l l : t h i det Nye, A the ismen, Sandhedens h e l l i g e Sag , hvad Maal havde det Altsammen, hvad v a r det Altsammen andet end F l i t t e r g u l d s n a v n e f o r det ene S i m p l e : at baere L i v e t , som det v a r ! baere L i v e t , som det v a r , og lade L i v e t forme s i g om L i v e t s egne Love! Det kom ham f o r , som om hans L i v var s l u t t e t a f h i n k v a l f u l d e Nat ; d e t , der kom e f t e r , kunde a l d r i g b l i v e Andet end i n t e r e s s e l o s e S c e n e r , der var h a e f t e t bag t i l femte A k t , e f t e r at Handl ingen var s p i l t t i l Ende. (p. 2 6 2 ) ( f o r a f t e r a l l , the new i d e a l , a t h e i s m , the sacred cause of t r u t h - what d i d i t a l l mean, what was i t a l l but t i n s e l names f o r the one s imple t h i n g : t o bear l i f e as i t was! To bear l i f e as i t was and a l l o w l i f e t o shape i t s e l f a c c o r d i n g t o i t s own laws.' I t seemed t o him as though h i s l i f e had ended i n t h a t n igh t of agony. What came a f t e r was no more than meaningless scenes t a c k e d on a f t e r the f i f t h ac t when the a c t i o n was a l r e a d y f i n i s h e d . ) Cp. 2411 - 39 -In h i s d e s p a i r , N i e l s has enunc iated h i s a c t u a l f e e l i n g s about the w o r l d : i t i s a t h i n g to be borne r a t h e r than accepted . He i s i n c a p a b l e o f s u r r e n d e r i n g h i m s e l f t o the r e a l i t y of e x i s t e n c e because he c o n s i d e r s t h a t t h e r e i s a b a s i c d i s c r e p a n c y between what the s o u l yearns f o r , and what the wor ld has t o o f f e r . A l though he has adopted a creed t h a t f l a t l y r e j e c t s any form of t ranscendence , h i s i n s t i n c t i v e d e s i r e i s f o r a s t a t e i n which he w i l l be i n v u l n e r a b l e t o the process of l i f e and d e a t h . L i k e h i s mother , he i s t o r n between the f i n i t e and d e f i n i t e aspect o f e x t e r i o r r e a l i t y whose symbol i s d e a t h , and the l o n g i n g of the s p i r i t towards some u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d i n f i n i t y t h a t seems t o i n c l u d e the promise of i m m o r t a l i t y . As a p roo f o f what he f e e l s t o be the i r r e v o c a b l y s o l i t a r y s t a t u s of the human i n d i v i d u a l , he r e f l e c t s t h a t he has n e v e r , i n h i s l i f e , managed t o merge h i m s e l f w i t h another : N e j , det var i k k e d e t . Det var det s t o r e T r i s t e , a t en S j a e l er a l t i d ene. Det var en Logn, hver Tro paa Sammensmeltning mellem S j a e l og S j a e l . Ikke den Moder, der t o g En paa s i t Skod, i k k e en Ven, i k k e den Hus t ru , . der h v i l e d e ved Ens H j a e r t e . . . (p. 2 6 5 ) (No, i t was not t h a t . I t was the dreary t r u t h t h a t a s o u l i s always a l o n e . Every b e l i e f i n the f u s i n g of the s o u l was a l i e . Not your mother who took you on her l a p , nor your, f r i e n d , . n o r yet the w i f e who s l e p t on your heart . . . ) Cp. 2433 So , i n terms o f h i s uncompromising demands f o r t o t a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h aaiother, he even c o n s i d e r s h i s marr iage t o Gerda to have been a - 40 -f a i l u r e . Yet he had known the g r e a t e s t happiness o f h i s l i f e w i t h h i s young w i f e , but a l though she shared i n h i s b e l i e f s and dreams, she c o u l d not b r i n g h e r s e l f t o d i e w i t h o n l y the c o n s o l a t i o n o f h i s l o v e , and i n her l a s t hours she t u r n s away from him and back t o her God. She t e l l s N i e l s t h a t she c o u l d bear to d i e i f he were t o d i e w i t h h e r , but t h a t she dares not face i t a l o n e . N i e l s sees h i s w i f e ' s death as the b e t r a y a l of the i l l u s i o n of an i n s e p a r a b l e bond between a man and a woman, and perhaps she sees the f a c t o f h i s cont inued e x i s t e n c e as a s i m i l a r b e t r a y a l . Un less N i e l s has u n w i t t i n g l y f a n c i e d t h a t l o v e has the power to fo rge a necessary l i n k between two i n d i v i d u a l s , t h a t w i l l i n some myster ious way d e l i v e r them from the c o n t i n g e n c i e s o f e x i s t e n c e , i t i s d i f f i c u l t to imagine why he i s so l e d t o d e s p a i r by the thought t h a t he i s , and has always been , " a l o n e " . In "Les Hommes de l a Percee Moderne" , F r e d e r i c Durand t r a c e s the atheism expressed by Jacobsen t o the w r i t i n g s of Feuerbach. In Das  Wesen des Chr i s ten thums^ , Feuerbach develops the i d e a of the immense p r o f i t t h a t mankind may reap from r e c o n v e r t i n g the energy t h a t has t r a d i t i o n a l l y been wasted on r e l i g i o n , i n t o the p e r f e c t i o n o f human c i v i l i z a t i o n . Durand sees N i e l s Lyhne's own brand o f atheism t o be an express ion o f the same b a s i c hope: "ramener a t e r r e t o u t e s . c e s v a l e u r s s p i r i t u e l l e s que l'homme d ispense par c r a i n t e de l a mort a l a face d 'un c i e l i nva r iab lement v i d e depuis t o u j o u r s , pour l e s amenager au b e n e f i c e de l'homme et de l a s o c i e t e " ^ . ' N i e l s may b e l i e v e t h a t the f e a r o f death - 41 -i s the motive f o r man's hav ing invented a God who w i l l p rov ide a heavenly home f o r the f a i t h f u l , yet h i s theory does not e x p l a i n the connect ion between the f e a r of death and a l l romant ic i l l u s i o n s , i n c l u d i n g h i s own. N i e l s ' l i f e has c o n s i s t e d l a r g e l y of a s u c c e s s i o n o f attempts t o f i n d a r e p r i e v e from e x i s t e n c e through an i n t i m a t e attachment t o a woman. The language t h a t he uses t o d e s c r i b e h i s i d e a l of femin ine " p u r i t y " be t rays the r e l i g i o u s mot ives t h a t l i e behind h i s search f o r a woman w i t h whom he can share h i s l i f e . A l though he i s an a t h e i s t , he r e t a i n s the C h r i s t i a n p r e j u d i c e t h a t the f l e s h i s the c o r r u p t e r of the i d e a l , and t h a t a u t h e n t i c l o v e i s i n c o m p a t i b l e w i t h sensua l d e s i r e . N i e l s ' p rud ishness i s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n of h i s need t o d i s c o v e r a m a g i c a l be ing who seems t o have t ranscended the o r d i n a r y , p h y s i c a l p rocesses of human l i f e , and who w i l l , presumably , confer i t s " d i v i n e " essence on h im. As w i t h a l l the c h a r a c t e r s s t u d i e d i n t h i s t h e s i s , N i e l s ' romant ic ism c o n s i s t s i n h i s a c t i n g r e l i g i o u s l y towards an ob jec t i n the r e a l w o r l d i n the unconsc ious hope t h a t t h i s ob jec t w i l l confe r on him the b e n e f i t s t h a t f o r m e r l y on ly a god cou ld bestow. A l though he complains about the d i f f i c u l t y o f " f u s i n g " h i m s e l f w i t h another , he has done much t o f r u s t r a t e t h e at ta inment o f r e a l communication between h i m s e l f and those he l o v e s . In h i s f r i e n d s h i p w i t h E r i k , t h e i r d i s c u s s i o n s never went so f a r as t o penet ra te i n t o the "bedrooms, bathrooms, and other p r i v a t e p l a c e s i n the mansions o f t h e i r s o u l s " Cp. 106l. Mrs . Boye t e l l s N i e l s t h a t she i s t i r e d o f hav ing men p l a c e her on an - 42 -imaginary p e d e s t a l , t h a t she longs to be l o v e d f o r what she r e a l l y i s , not as the r e f l e c t i o n of some " b l o o d l e s s i d e a l " . N i e l s can o n l y r e p l y lamely t h a t he b e l i e v e s i n . t h e i d e a l of " f e m i n i n e p u r i t y " . men han f i k da s v a r e t , at han s y n t e s , det var det s t o r s t e B e v i s p a a , hvor s t o r Mandens K a e r l i g h e d v a r , at han , f o r at f o r s v a r e det over f o r s i g s e l v at e l s k e et Menneske saa u s i g e l i g t h o j t , maatte omgive d e t t e Menneske med et Skaer a f Guddommelighed. " J a , det er netop d e t , der er det F o r n a e r m e l i g e , " sagde F r u e n , " v i er j o guddommelige nok, som v i e r . " (p. 90) (but he managed t o answer t h a t he thought t h a t a man cou ld not g i v e a f i n e r p roo f of h i s l o v e than t h i s -t h a t he had t o J u s t i f y h i m s e l f t o h i m s e l f f o r l o v i n g a human b e i n g so u n u t t e r a b l y , and t h e r e f o r e set her so h i g h and surrounded her w i t h a nimbus o f d i v i n i t y . "But t h a t i s j u s t what I f i n d so i n s u l t i n g , " s a i d Mrs . Boye, "as i f we were not d i v i n e enough i n o u r s e l v e s . " ) Cp. 931 H is a f f a i r w i t h Fennimore beg ins w i t h t h e i r l i v i n g t o g e t h e r i n an invented d ream-wor ld , i n which every t r e e and stone has a name, and i t s d e c l i n e i s marked by a " s i n i s t e r f r a n k n e s s " i n which " they c a l l e d t h i n g s by t h e i r r i g h t names" Cp. 2051. Again and aga in i n the n o v e l , Jacobsen u n d e r l i n e s h i s c h a r a c t e r ' s w i l l f u l b l i n d n e s s t o the r e a l i t y t h a t i s a c t u a l l y present by p r e s e n t i n g us w i t h scores o f d e s c r i p t i v e passages t h a t ove r f low w i t h a joyous r e a c t i o n to - . the beauty of t h e . . n a t u r a l w o r l d , w h i l e emphasis ing i t s p a r t i c u l a r and p h y s i c a l n a t u r e . - k3 -og hvad l a a og sad der i k k e rundt omkring af s i r l i g t Fro og f a r v e r i g e B a e r , brune Nodder, b lanke Agern og n y d e l i g e Agernkopper , Duske a f K o r a l paa B e b e r i s s e n , b l a n k s o r t e V r i e t o r n s b a e r og Hybenrosens skar lagensrode Urner . De b l a d l o s e Boge var P r i k ved P r i k a f piggede Boghuse, og Ronnen luded tung a f rode K l a s e r , s y r l i g e a f Duft som Most a f A e b l e r . (pp. 210 - 211) (What t r e a s u r e s on the ground and on the b r a n c h e s , d a i n t y seeds and b r i g h t - c o l o r e d b e r r i e s , brown n u t s , s h i n i n g acorns and e x q u i s i t e acorn cups , t a s s e l s o f c o r a l on the b a r b e r r y , p o l i s h e d b l a c k b e r r i e s on the b u c k t h o r n , and s c a r l e t urns on the dogrose. The bare beeches were f i n e l y do t ted w i t h p r i c k l y beechnuts , and the roan bent under the weight o f i t s red c l u s t e r s , a c i d i n f rag rance l i k e apple c i d e r . ) Cpp. 196 - 1973 Yet N i e l s cannot respond t o the p a r t i c u l a r and p h y s i c a l natu re o f t h i n g s and of p e o p l e , s i n c e the p r o o f s of n a t u r a l process t h a t are eve r -p resent i n the w o r l d t h r e a t e n h i s s e c r e t d e s i r e t o escape the l i m i t s of r e a l i t y . In a l l these i n s t a n c e s , the a c t u a l t r u t h s of l i f e are a t h r e a t to N i e l s ' dreams of p u r i t y . Mrs . Boye and Ede le and Fennimore are f a r more aware than N i e l s o f the d i s s i m i l a r i t y between t h e i r r e a l natures and the f a s h i o n a b l e i d e a l of womankind. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to assess the d i s t a n c e between Jacobsen ' s own c o n v i c t i o n s i n N i e l s Lyhne and those o f h i s hero . H i s s t y l e of n a r r a t i o n i s perhaps more impersona l than t h a t o f F l a u b e r t i n t h a t he t r e a t s a l l h i s c h a r a c t e r s w i t h equa l sympathy, and never passes a d i r e c t judgment on any of them. We might e a s i l y be l e d i n t o assuming t h a t N i e l s ' o p i n i o n s - hh -are i d e n t i c a l t o those of the a u t h o r , i f we were t o over look the f a c t t h a t N i e l s ' concept ion o f l i f e and a r t cou ld never have produced a n o v e l such, .as the one we have r e a d . I t i s i n the d i s c r e p a n c y "between Jacobsen ' s sensua l d e s c r i p t i o n s of nature and women and N i e l s ' i d e a l s o f p u r i t y t h a t we are ab le t o p e r c e i v e the i r o n i c d i s t a n c e t h a t e x i s t s between the author and h i s hero . O f t e n , i n the book, Jacobsen r e l a t e s N i e l s ' i nner r e f l e c t i o n s on an occurence w i thout p r o v i d i n g us w i t h any a u t h o r i a l comment whatsoever . When Fennimore pours out her d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n over her marr iage t o E r i k , N i e l s can o n l y imagine t h a t her i n s i s t e n c e on her p h y s i c a l nature must be the r e s u l t of her b e i n g d i s a p p o i n t e d i n an i d e a l t h a t she has not been ab le t o r e a l i z e . h v o r f o r s k a l I saa med den ene Haand kas te os op imod S t j a e r n e r n e , naar I dog med den anden maa t r a e k k e os ned. Kan I i k k e lade os gaa paa Jorden ved S iden af J e r , Menneske ved Menneske, og i k k e det mindste mer. Det er j o umul ig t f o r os at t r a e d e s i k k e r t t i l paa P r o s a e n , naar I gor os b l i n d e med j e r e s Lygtemaend a f P o e s i . Lad os v a e r e , l a d os f o r Guds S k y l d v a e r e ! Hun s a t t e s i g ned og g raed . N i e l s f o r s t o d meget, Fennimore v i l d e have vaere t u l y k k e l i g ved at v i d e hvor meget. (p. 199) (Why f l i n g us up t o the s t a r s w i t h one hand , when you have t o p u l l us down w i t h the other. ' Can ' t you l e t us walk the e a r t h by your s i d e , one human b e i n g w i t h a n o t h e r , and n o t h i n g more at a l l ? I t i s i m p o s s i b l e f o r us t o s tep f i r m l y on the prose of l i f e when you b l i n d us w i t h your p o e t i c w i l l - o ' - t h e - w i s p s . Let us a l o n e ! For God's s a k e , l e t us a l o n e ! - ^5 -She sat down and wept. N i e l s understood much. Fenimore would have been m i s e r a b l e had she known how much.) Cp. 1873 N i e l s Lyhne understood ve ry l i t t l e of what Fennimore had been t r y i n g t o t e l l h im. H is r e f l e c t i o n s , i f they have any t r u t h at a l l , r e f e r t o h i m s e l f , f o r he has missed the p o i n t t h a t the i d e a l o f femin ine p u r i t y has been invented by men and t h r u s t upon women. Knowledge o f her own " t r u e n a t u r e " does not h e l p Fennimore not t o f e e l g u i l t y about her s e n s u a l i t y , nor do Mrs . Boye 's l i b e r a l i d e a l s prevent her from b e i n g a t t r a c t e d i n t o r e s p e c t a b l e bourgeois l i f e . Yet the women i n J a c o b s e n ' s n o v e l p r o v i d e a f a r more r e a l i s t i c p o r t r a i t o f human be ings as they a c t u a l l y a r e , and seem t o possess g rea te r i n s i g h t s i n t o the t r u e nature of dreams and r e a l i t y , than any of the male c h a r a c t e r s . Above a l l , N i e l s i s a f r a i d of the s e x u a l i t y of women, which he cannot d e t a c h , i n h i s mind , from crudeness , d e g r a d a t i o n , and perhaps , base a n i m a l i t y . A l l p o i n t s of s i m i l a r i t y between human be ings and o ther " l o w e r " forms of l i f e are c a r e f u l l y s e l e c t e d out o f h i s f a n t a s i e s about l o v e and the " g l o r i o u s f u t u r e " o f s o c i e t y . H i s i d e a l , u l t i m a t e l y , i s a non-human one; i t i s as i f he w i l l o n l y be s a t i s f i e d when men a t t a i n the mode.of b e i n g t h a t has t r a d i t i o n a l l y been a t t r i b u t e d to the Gods. H i s consc ious i d e a l does not i n c l u d e the i l l u s i o n t h a t men might become immortal i n the sense t h a t they w i l l never d i e , f o r he i s o n l y too aware of the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of death . U n c o n s c i o u s l y , however, h i s dreams are - I n -formed upon a sh r ink ing -away from the p roo fs of human m o r t a l i t y , from p a i n , i m p e r f e c t i o n , c o r r u p t i o n , p r o c r e a t i o n and death . The " n o b l e " heroes of the f u t u r e w i l l , presumably , l i v e t h e i r l i v e s i n the same exaggerated e l a t i o n , and f e e l themselves t o be as d i v i n e l y l i m i t l e s s as N i e l s when he f a l l s i n l o v e w i t h Fennimore: hver a f dem var en Aabenbare l se , t h i paa hver af dem fandt han s i g s e l v s t o r r e og s t a e r k e r e og mere s t o r i S t i l e n . Han havde a l d r i g kendt en saadan F o l e l s e n s I n d e r l i g h e d og V a e l d e , og der var O j e b l i k k e , hvor han syntes s i g s e l v t i t a n i s k , l a n g t mer end Menneske, saadan en Uudtommelighed fornam han i s i t I n d r e , saa v ingebred en Omhed svulmed f r a hans H j a e r t e , saa v i d t var hans Syn , saa Kaempemilde var hans Domme. (p. 217) (With each day t h a t p a s s e d , he f e l t s t r o n g e r , g r e a t e r , and n o b l e r . He had never known such s t r e n g t h and f u l l n e s s of f e e l i n g ; t h e r e were moments when he seemed t o h i m s e l f t i t a n i c , much more than man, so i n e x h a u s t i b l e was the w e l l s p r i n g o f h i s s o u l , so broad-winged the tenderness t h a t s w e l l e d h i s h e a r t , so wondrous the sweep of h i s v i s i o n , so i n f i n i t e the gent leness o f h i s judgments. ) Cp. 2021 N i e l s c l a i m s t o l o v e humanity , yet he i s happiest when he f e e l s h i m s e l f t o be "more than a man" , i n d e e d , he seems t o be more content the l e s s he f e e l s h i m s e l f t o be human, the more l i k e a God. The language t h a t Jacobsen uses t o d e s c r i b e h i s hero i n t h i s passage evokes the tone of a hymn t o the g l o r y of God, f o r s e c r e t l y , N i e l s can o n l y f i n d s a t i s f a c t i o n f o r h i s l o n g i n g s i n the i l l u s i o n t h a t he has t a k e n onto h i m s e l f the q u a l i t i e s of the God t h a t he has d e n i e d . - 47 -H j e r r i l d t e l l s N i e l s t h a t he must have a great f a i t h i n human nature i f he b e l i e v e s t h a t h i s v i s i o n a r y f u t u r e of mankind w i l l ever come t o p a s s . On h i s d e a t h - b e d , however, N i e l s c o n t r a s t s the beauty of Nature unfavourab ly w i t h h i s f e e l i n g s about human b e i n g s : Der havde dog vaeret meget Skont i L i v e t , t a e n k t e h a n , naar han mindedes det f r i s k e Pust ved Stranden hjemme, det s v a l e Sus i S j a e l l a n d s Bogeskove, den rene B j a e r g l u f t i C larnes og Gardasoens b lode A f t e n b r i s e . Men t a e n k t e han paa Menneskene, b l e v han saa syg igen i S i n d e t . Han k a l d t e dem f o r s i g en f o r e n , og Allesammen g i k de ham f o r b i og l o d ham ene, og i k k e en b l e v der t i l b a g e . (pp. 2 6 4 - 2 6 5 ) ( A f t e r a l l , t h e r e had been so much i n l i f e t h a t was b e a u t i f u l , he t h o u g h t , as he remembered the f r e s h breeze a long the shores at home, the c o o l soughing of the wind i n the beech f o r e s t s of S j a e l l a n d , ( ) But when he thought o f human b e i n g s , h i s s o u l s i ckened a g a i n . He summoned . them i n rev iew b e f o r e h i m , one by one , and they a l l passed and l e f t him a l o n e , and not one s tayed w i t h h im. ) [pp. 242 -243H In h i s l a s t few hours on E a r t h , N i e l s Lyhne l o o k s back w i t h b i t t e r n e s s on the f a i l e d i l l u s i o n s of h i s l i f e . He r e c a l l s t h a t he never managed t o forge a l a s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h anyone, t h a t no-one e l s e accepted what he thought t o be h i s humanis t i c v i s i o n . But N i e l s r e f u s e s t o see t h a t h i s l i f e was f i l l e d w i t h o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o sur render h i m s e l f up t o l i f e as i t r e a l l y i s , and t o people as they r e a l l y a r e . I t i s h i s dream of l i f e as i t ought t o b e , which s p r i n g s from h i s f e a r of l i f e , which i n t u r n s p r i n g s from h i s f e a r of d e a t h , t h a t has p l a c e d the g u l f between - 48 -h i m s e l f and o t h e r s , between h i s " s o u l " and the e x t e r i o r w o r l d . A l o n e , and f e e l i n g h i m s e l f misunderstood by mankind, and cheated by f a t e , N i e l s Lyhne s t e e l s h i m s e l f aga ins t the death t h a t he has a n t i c i p a t e d f o r so l o n g . A l l h i s l i f e he has been i n c a p a b l e o f imag in ing a mode of l i f e t h a t cou ld be founded upon a r e a l i s t i c acceptance of the a c t u a l phenomena o f e x i s t e n c e . The great dreamer, the man who spoke so f e r v e n t l y about the need f o r h e r o i c a c t i o n t o b r i n g about t h e great brotherhood of man, spent the g rea te r par t of h i s days i n "lame r e f l e c t i v e n e s s " . S p i r i t u a l l y u n w i l l i n g t o l i v e i n the immediate w o r l d , and t o r n between the romant ic ideas of the past t h a t he t r i e s c o n s c i o u s l y t o r e j e c t , and the new age of r e a l i s m t h a t he i s temperamental ly i n c a p a b l e of a c c e p t i n g , N i e l s Lyhne i s a t r u e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the t r a n s i t i o n between the two great movements i n the A r t of the n i n e t e e n t h centu ry . Nye var d e , f o r b i t r e t nye , nye i n d t i l O v e r d r i v e l s e , og det maaske i k k e m i n d s t , f o r d i der i n d e r s t inde var en saelsom i n s t i n k t s t a e r k L a e n g s e l j der sku lde overdoves , en L a e n g s e l , det Nye i k k e kunde s t i l l e , v e r d e n s s t o r t som det Nye v a r , A l t omfat tende, A l t i n g m a e g t i g t , A l t op lysende. (p. 76) (They were modern, b e l l i g e r e n t l y modern, modern t o e x c e s s , and perhaps not the l e a s t because i n t h e i r inmost h e a r t s t h e r e was a s t r a n g e , i n s t i n c t i v e l o n g i n g which had t o be s t i f l e d , a l o n g i n g which the new s p i r i t cou ld not s a t i s f y - w o r l d - w i d e , a l l - e m b r a c i n g , a l l -p o w e r f u l , and a l l - e n l i g h t e n i n g though i t was . ) Cp. 8lH - h9 -The " s t r a n g e , i n s t i n c t i v e l o n g i n g " t h a t N i e l s can n e i t h e r s a t i s f y i n h i s dreams, nor i n " l i f e as i t i s " , i s the t i m e l e s s c o n f l i c t between the immorta l yearn ings of the s o u l and the f i n i t e r e a l i t y of human l i f e . - 50 -The p l a y s o f Henr ik Ibsen are f i l l e d w i t h c h a r a c t e r s who, l i k e N i e l s Lyhne, b e l i e v e t h a t they have a great m i s s i o n i n l i f e . They range from B r a n d , the f a n a t i c a l i d e a l i s t who r e f u s e s t o compromise h i s v i s i o n , t o the w h o l l y i n e f f e c t u a l Hjalmar E k d a l , whose " i n v e n t i o n " does not even e x i s t . The i d e a l s of these c h a r a c t e r s are never r e a l i z e d w i t h i n the p l a y s , and i f we are l e f t w i t h any hope f o r t h e i r p r o j e c t s " a f t e r the p l a y has ended" , i t i s u s u a l l y because the o r i g i n a l p l a n has been abandoned, and a new, more r e a l i s t i c p l a n has taken i t s p l a c e . A l l m e r s and Stockmann w i l l perhaps succeed i n educat ing the c h i l d r e n of the p o o r , yet the f a t e of...most o f I b s e n ' s i d e a l i s t i c c h a r a c t e r s i s sea led by the end of the p l a y . They e i t h e r d i e , l i k e Rosmers, or cont inue p a t h e t i c a l l y i n t h e i r d e l u s i o n s , l i k e Gregers Wer le . To a ve ry great e x t e n t , I b s e n ' s p l a y s are concerned w i t h the f a i l u r e of i d e a l s t h a t do not match the r e a l i t y of exper ience . We might be tempted t o see an analogy between Gregers Werle and N i e l s Lyhne, yet Gregers ' i d e a l i s m i s founded on f a r l e s s r e a l i s t i c premises than t h a t o f Jacobsen{s h e r o , and whereas N i e l s , f o r the most p a r t , o n l y b r i n g s unhappiness t o h i m s e l f , Gregers causes m i s e r y t o the people t h a t he attempts t o change. Rosmers i s perhaps more l i k e N i e l s i n s o f a r as he i s temperamental ly u n s u i t e d t o c a r r y out the i d e a l s he has adopted , and a l s o because h i s i d e a l s are the m a n i f e s t a t i o n of an unconsc ious i n t e r n a l c r i s i s . - 51 -These c h a r a c t e r s are a l l t r u e romant ic t ypes i n t h a t they c l i n g t o an i d e a l i z e d s e l f - i m a g e t h a t i s des igned t o s h i e l d them from the t r u t h about themselves as human b e i n g s . Only when Nora f o r s a k e s her dream of a permanent i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h her husband, i s she capable o f d i s c o v e r i n g her t r u e s e l f . Hedda G a b l e r . d i e s as a r e s u l t of her r e f u s a l t o compromise her a r i s t o c r a t i c s i d e a l s w i t h the m e d i o c r i t y of bourgeois l i f e . There are many p o i n t s of comparison t h a t c o u l d be drawn between Emma Bovary and Hedda, and s e v e r a l c r i t i c s have a l r e a d y noted the s i m i l a r i t i e s i n t h e i r i d e a l s and t h e i r eventua l s u i c i d e s . Yet the p l a y s of I b s e n ' s midd le p e r i o d are not t h e m a t i c a l l y concerned w i t h death and the f e a r o f death as an u n d e r l y i n g f o r c e i n the fo rmat ion o f human i l l u s i o n s . In L i t t l e E y o l f (1894) Ibsen p i c k s up a theme t h a t he had not touched on s ince Peer Gynt , h i s l a s t great dramat ic poem t h a t he wrote i n 1867. Lost i n the mounta ins , A l f r e d A l l m e r s f e e l s t h e presence o f another who i s w a l k i n g bes ide h im. T h i s " r e i s e k a m a r a t " - t r a v e l l i n g companion - i s death i t s e l f , and A l l m e r s r e a l i z e s t h a t h i s l o n g devot ion to h i s book on "human r e s p o n s i b i l i t y " has kept him away from h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o h i s own son. For years he has been s p i r i t u a l l y dead , and t r a g i c a l l y , when he r e t u r n s home t o t u r n h i s a t t e n t i o n t o E y o l f , the c h i l d d ies s h o r t l y a f t e r . A l l m e r s , Borkman and Rubek, the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r s o f I b s e n ' s l a s t t h r e e p l a y s have a l l s u f f e r e d the deadening e f f e c t s of f o c u s s i n g t h e i r e n e r g i e s onto an i d e a l t h a t t h e y c l a i m i s f o r the b e n e f i t of mankind, yet d i v o r c e s them from l i f e , and t u r n s them i n t o "dead men". - 52 -In John G a b r i e l Borkman (1896), Ibsen shows t h a t the f e a r of death not o n l y e x p l a i n s t h e a c t i o n s o f h i s ag ing h e r o , but a l s o l i e s at t h e hear t o f the dreams t h a t he formed as a young man, and which he spent h i s e n t i r e l i f e t r y i n g t o r e a l i z e . Borkman i s a tremendous dramat ic c r e a t i o n , and r e f l e c t s the e n e r g e t i c f a n a t i c i s m of B r a n d , and t o a l e s s e r degree, of Stockmann. Yet a l though we:. jare tempted t o agree w i t h h i s own assessment o f h i m s e l f as a Napoleon, he has much i n common w i t h the l u d i c r o u s pharmacist Homais. In Madame Bovary , Homais r e p r e s e n t s the attempt t o set up a s u b s t i t u t e form of i m m o r t a l i t y through the g l o r i f i c a t i o n of h i s name and r e p u t a t i o n , which he hopes w i l l " l i v e on" a f t e r he has d i e d . Borkman and Homais both b r i n g t e c h n o l o g i c a l p rogress t o the s e r v i c e of the monument t h a t they hope t o e r e c t t o t h e i r own s e l f - i m a g e . When Homais f e a r s t h a t he may not r e c e i v e the c r o i x d'honneur f o r h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n s t o the s c i e n c e of m e d i c i n e , he c r e a t e s a f l o r a l r o c k e r y i n h i s back garden i n the shape of the c ross t h a t he f e e l s he deserves . Both men seek f o r the es tab l i shment of a permanent mark on the wor ld t h a t seems t o have the power o f t r a n s c e n d i n g the f i n i t e n e s s o f t h e i r e x i s t e n c e , and both men are t o t a l l y r u t h l e s s w i t h the human be ings t h a t they need t o he lp them b r i n g about t h e i r dreams. Whereas Emma's and N i e l s ' dreams are " r e l i g i o u s " i n t h a t they are u n c o n s c i o u s l y d i r e c t e d towards an i d e a l of s p i r i t u a l t ranscendence , Homais and Borkman s t r i v e f o r a " s e c u l a r " v e r s i o n o f i m m o r t a l i t y t h a t i s t o be a t t a i n e d through the a c q u i s i t i o n of power and fame. - 53 -In t h i s p l a y , Ibsen not o n l y r e v e a l s the mechanism of m e t a p h y s i c a l d e s i r e , but demonstrates the power fu l f o r c e t h a t p rope l s i t . The f e a r of death i s shown t o e x p l a i n the i d e a l s of the t h r e e major c h a r a c t e r s , which a l l c o n t a i n the i l l u s i o n t h a t they w i l l somehow cont inue t o e x i s t a f t e r they have d i e d . The framework of imagery i n the p l a y i s so c a r e f u l l y b u i l t around the e v e r - p r e s e n t spect re of d e a t h , and the dreams of the c h a r a c t e r s are so e x a c t l y cent red on d i s c o v e r i n g a means o f denying i t , t h a t I have t o conclude t h a t I b s e n ' s assessment o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' a c t i o n s i s the same as the one I am propos ing i n t h i s t h e s i s . John G a b r i e l Borkman i s a t o t a l l y romanesque t reatment o f the theme of romant ic i l l u s i o n i n the form of a great work of t h e a t r e . The connect ion between the f e a r of d e a t h , and the attempt t o c r e a t e a symbol ic form of i m m o r t a l i t y , t h a t we a re ab le t o deduce from F l a u b e r t ' s n o v e l , and whose o u t l i n e s are s u b s t a n t i a l l y sketched out i n N i e l s Lyhne, i s c o n s c i o u s l y demonstrated i n John G a b r i e l Borkman. - 54 -In John G a b r i e l Borkman , which was p u b l i s h e d i n I b s e n ' s s i x t y - f o u r t h y e a r , the theme of an e a r t h l y v i s i o n of i m m o r t a l i t y i n c o n f l i c t w i t h the present r e a l i t i e s of o l d age and the prospect of d e a t h , i s t r e a t e d even more d i r e c t l y than i n When We Dead Awaken, I b s e n ' s l a s t p l a y . Both p l a y s move from s t a r k r e a l i s m , through symbol ism, i n t o u t t e r a b s t r a c t i o n , t o a scene i n which the main c h a r a c t e r i s over taken by death i n the snow and among the mounta ins , s t r o n g l y r e c a l l i n g the f a t e o f B rand , the hero o f I b s e n ' s most i n t e n s e l y p o e t i c a l , p l a y , which appeared t h i r t y years e a r l i e r . But whereas Brand and P r o f e s s o r Rubek meet t h e i r deaths e x p e r i e n c i n g a p a r t i a l r e j u v e n a t i o n t h a t f l ows from a f i n a l act of s e l f - k n o w l e d g e , Borkman d i e s w h o l l y g r ipped by the d e l u s i o n t h a t has r u i n e d h i s l i f e , and the l i v e s of hundreds of o t h e r s . The p l a y begins w i t h F r u Borkman c r o c h e t i n g on a s o f a , a w a i t i n g the a r r i v a l of E r h a r t , her son. Every d e t a i l . i n the p l a y w r i g h t ' s s t a g e -d i r e c t i o n s serves t o focus the a t t e n t i o n o f the audience onto the p o r t r a i t of t h i s woman who i s r i g i d l y b r a c i n g h e r s e l f a g a i n s t the c o l d touch of death t h a t she f e e l s a l l around h e r . O u t s i d e , through the window, " a ' snow storm i s d r i v i n g i n the dusk" Cp. 2873. The d e c o r a t i o n s i n the room are " f a d e d " , whatever l i v e l i n e s s they may have had has l e f t them. Ibsen t e l l s us t h a t F r u Borkman h e r s e l f i s " c o l d " , t h a t age has f i r m l y l a i d i t s hand upon h e r ; her h a i r i s " s t r o n g l y marked w i t h g r e y " , her hands are " t r a n s p a r e n t " , as though she were a l r e a d y a ghost ; the handsomeness of her c l o t h e s , l i k e t h a t o f the f u r n i s h i n g s , has o b v i o u s l y passed away. - 55 -The m e t a l l i c chime of s l e i g h - b e l l s o u t s i d e announces t h a t a v i s i t o r has a r r i v e d , and she i s momentar i ly e n l i v e n e d . b y the hope t h a t i t i s her son , through whom she d e s p e r a t e l y seeks a symbol ic form of v i c t o r y over the o b l i v i o n t h a t death t h r e a t e n s her w i t h . In her f a n t a s y , E r h a r t w i l l immor ta l i ze and r a i s e up the f a l l e n name of Borkman, t h a t she c a r r i e s , and o b l i t e r a t e the shame connected w i t h i t , f o r eve r . FRU BORKMAN: J a , E r h a r t , - min h e r l i g e g u t t ! Han s k a l nok v i t e a oppre i se s l e k t e n , h u s e t , navnet . A l t det som kan o p p r e i s e s . - Og kanskje mer t i l . (p. 523) (MRS. BORKMAN: Y e s , E r h a r t , - my s p l e n d i d son. ' . He w i l l be ab le t o r a i s e up the fami l y . , the house, the name. E v e r y t h i n g t h a t can be r a i s e d up . And perhaps more b e s i d e s . ) Cp. 2923 But i t i s not E r h a r t t h a t has come t o v i s i t h e r . I t i s her t w i n s i s t e r , E l l a Rentheim. E l l a i s another whose l i f e has been p ro found l y a f f e c t e d by the f a n a t i c a l ambi t ions o f John G a b r i e l Borkman. Many years ago, she had l o v e d h i m , and as f a r as i t was p o s s i b l e f o r such a man, he had l o v e d her t o o . Yet Borkman had chosen t o sur render h i s " l o v e " f o r E l l a to the man who had the power t o h e l p him w i t h h i s schemes t o convert the money he had embezzled from the bank i n t o the "new s o c i e t y " o f h i s obsess i ve dream. When E l l a and Gunh i ld conf ront each o ther i n the f i r s t ac t o f the p l a y , i t i s the f i r s t t ime t h a t the two s i s t e r s have been t o g e t h e r f o r e igh t y e a r s , and the b i t t e r n e s s of t h e i r o l d r i v a l r y f o r the l o v e f o r - 56 -John Gabriel Borkman s t i l l stands between them. Gunhild i s also r e s e n t f u l towards E l l a f o r having had to r e l y on her c h a r i t y for so long, and also because E l l a took her son "away from her". The most c h i l l i n g f a c t of a l l that the audience learns about t h i s unnatural household, i s that Fru Borkman has not set eyes on her husband since the day of h i s sentence, she has only heard the sound of h i s footsteps above her, as he "prowled", endlessly about, " l i k e a s i c k wolf" Cp. 296H. Besides very rare v i s i t s from Erhart, Borkman only ever sees Vilhelm F o l d a l , an aged c l e r k who s t i l l nourishes- hopeless dreams of becoming a successful poet, and h i s f i f t e e n - y e a r o l d daughter, F r i d a who sometimes plays to him on the piano. Erhart l i v e s i n the town, "because of his studies", and comes to v i s i t his mother every day. He has recently c u l t i v a t e d a f r i e n d s h i p with Fanny Wilton, a lady seven years older than himself, who i s separated from her husband, and she has v i s i t e d the house once or twice. Apart from the "company" of a maid, t h i s has been the sum of the commerce between the Borkman household and the rest of humanity for t h i r t e e n years. The house i s not only a place of shame, but a kind of s u f f o c a t i n g tomb whose inhabitants go about a grim d e a t h - i n - l i f e existence i n which they plot to gain c o n t r o l over a r e a l i t y which has long since been turned remorselessly against. them. However much they may want to claim that they desire to l i v e , they are s o l e l y concerned with gaining power over l i f e , as a weapon against the deathly forces that move within them and around them. - 57 -Again and aga in i n the p l a y , I b s e n . s t r e s s e s the f a c t t h a t both Borkman and h i s w i f e are not concerned w i t h l i v i n g i r i the w o r l d , but t h a t they merely have c e r t a i n uses f o r i t . T h e i r common aim- appears t o be the es tab l i shment o f some outward symbol of i m m o r t a l i t y , t h a t w i l l have the magic p r o p e r t y o f i n s u l a t i n g them from the t r u t h of t h e i r own l i v e s and t h e i r profound f e a r o f death . E l l a sees c l e a r l y t h a t G u n h i l d ' s " p l a n s " f o r E rhar t do not i n c l u d e any c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f what the young man may want f o r h i m s e l f : FRU BORKMAN: Ingen v i n n i n g , det a beholde en mors makt over E r h a r t ! ELLA RENTHEIM: N e i ; f o r det er bare makten over ham du v i i h a . FRU BORKMAN: Og du da ! ELLA RENTHEIM .Cvarmt.3: Jeg v i i ha hans k j a e r l i g e s i n n , - hans s j e l , - hans he le h j e r t e - ! FRU BORKMAN Cutbry te r l l : Det f a r . du a l d r i mer i denne ve rden ! (p . 528) (MRS. BORKMAN: Not w in a n y t h i n g , by keep ing a mother ' s c o n t r o l over E r h a r t ! ELLA RENTHEIM: No, because it'Ts' o n l y c o n t r o l over him t h a t you want. MRS. BORKMAN: And y o u , then? ELLA RENTHEIM [warmly : : I want h i s a f f e c t i o n - h i s s o u l - h i s whole hear t - ! MRS. BORKMAN [ p a s s i o n a t e l y ] : You won't ever get t h a t aga in i n t h i s w o r l d ! ) Cp. 301H When E l l a i s t a l k i n g t o Borkman i n h i s room, the man g l i d e s e f f o r t l e s s l y i n h i s d i s c o u r s e , from r i d i n g roughshod over the f e e l i n g s of the woman who s t i l l l oves h i m , i n t o t a l d i s r e g a r d f o r her as a human b e i n g , t o t a l k i n g l o v i n g l y of t a k i n g c o n t r o l over the dead r i c h e s of - 58 -the ear th . With the power that he dreams of ga ining from hi s mastery of the m a t e r i a l wor ld , he hopes to found a miraculous kingdom i n which he w i l l contr ibute to the " w e l l - b e i n g " of thousands of g r a t e f u l , but f a ce l e s s , subjects . BORKMAN: Men du far huske pa at jeg er en mann. Som kvinne var du meg det dyreste i verden. Men nar. endel ig sa ma vaere , sa kan dog en kvinne er s ta t te s av en annen -ELLA RENTHEIM Dser pa ham med et smil l l : Gjorde du den e r f a r i n g da du hadde Gunhild t i l hustru? BORKMAN: N e i . Men mine oppgaver i l i v e t h j a lp meg t i l a baere det ogsa. A l l e maktens k i l d e r i dette l and v i l l e jeg gjore meg underdanige. A l t hva j o r d og f j e l l og skog og hav rommet av rikdomme - det v i l l e jeg underlegge meg og skape herredomme for meg se lv og derigjennem velvaere for de mange, mange tusen andre. (p. 544) .(BORKMAN: But you must remember that I'm a man. As a woman, you were the dearest t h i n g i n the world to me. But i f i t has to come to t h a t , then one woman can be replaced by another. ELLA RENTHEIM Elooking at him with a smile 3: Was that your experience, when you had taken Gunhi ld as your wife? BORKMAN: No. But. the tasks of my l i f e helped me to bear that t o o . . A l l the sources of power i n t h i s land - I wanted to make them subject to me. Every-t h i n g that earth and f e l l and wood and sea contained and a l l t h e i r r i c h e s , - I wanted to subdue i t a l l and create a kingdom for myself and through i t the w e l l -being o f many, many thousands of o thers . ) [p.3323 Borkman e f f e c t i v e l y puts the l i e to h i s c la im that he only seeks power " to create human happiness f ar and wide about me", when he reveal s to F o l d a l the scorn that he a c t u a l l y fee l s for the human race : - 59 -BORKMAN Cmork, ser hen f o r seg og trommer pa bordet3: Det er saken. Det er fo rbanne lsen som v i e n k e l t e , v i u t v a l g t e mennesker har a baere p a . . Massen og mengden, - a l l e de g j e n n o m s n i t t l i g e , - de f o r s t a r oss i k k e , V i l h e l m . (p. 536) (BORKMAN E . looking g l o o m i l y ahead and drumming on the t a b l e ' ! : No, t h a t ' s the t r o u b l e . T h a t ' s the curse t h a t we o u t s t a n d i n g p e o p l e , we men of d e s t i n y have t o endure. The common h e r d , a l l those average people — they don ' t , understand u s , V i l h e l m . ) Cp. 318: I t might be argued t h a t he genu ine ly f e e l s some s o r t o f a f f e c t i o n f o r "humani ty " , conce ived of i n the most a b s t r a c t s e n s e , yet h i s l a t e r remarks t o F o l d a l prove t h a t one h a l f of humankind, p resent or a b s e n t , i n s p i r e s no f e e l i n g s o f warmth i n h im: BORKMAN G h a r m f u l l l : l , . d e k v i n n e r ! De f o r d e r v e r og fo rvansker l i v e t f o r o s s ! F o r v a k l e r he le var sk jebne , - he le var s e i e r s g a n g . FOLDAL: Ikke a l l e , du ! BORKMAN: Sa?. Nevn meg noen eneste en som duer d a ! (p. 539) (BORKMAN t i n d i g n a n t l y j : Oh, these women! They p e r v e r t and cor rupt l i f e f o r u s ! Ruin the whole of our d e s t i n y , our march t o v i c t o r y ! FOLDAL: Not a l l o f them, you know! BORKMAN: No?, Name me a s i n g l e one who's worth a n y t h i n g ! ) Cp. 323: The t r u t h about John G a b r i e l Borkman i s t h a t he cannot exper ience l o v e f o r another human b e i n g because t o do so would e n t a i l h i s s t r i p p i n g away the armour t h a t s h i e l d s him from h i s g r e a t e s t enemy: l i f e i t s e l f . A l l - 6o -t h a t arouses h i s s t rongest , emot ions , the m e t a l t h a t l i e s b u r i e d i n the ground, s teamships , f a c t o r i e s , w h i r l i n g . w h e e l s and f l a s h i n g c y l i n d e r s , i s c o l d , h a r d , and i n t r i n s i c a l l y l i f e l e s s . H i s i n s i s t e n c e t h a t he f e e l s a l i f e w i t h i n these forms t h a t . o n l y needs h i s hand to b r i n g i t o u t , i s a mere act of s e l f - d e l u s i o n through which he hopes t o s h i e l d h i s r e a l mot ive from h i m s e l f . That motive may be seen t o . b e the t o t a l d i s s o c i a t i o n o f h i m s e l f , as a human b e i n g , from the r e s t of humanity. Borkman's l o v e f o r " h a r d " t h i n g s u n d e r l i n e s an unspoken, yet e q u a l l y important theme i n the p l a y : h i s avoidance and n e a r - h a t r e d of e v e r y t h i n g t h a t might be c h a r a c t e r i z e d as " s o f t " . H i s d i s l i k e f o r F o l d a l ' s s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , which he d i s m i s s e s as " p o e t i c nonsense" , i s m i r r o r e d i n h i m s e l f by a b l i n d a f f e c t i o n . . f o r the " i r o n - h a r d r e a l i t y " of h i s dream. I f we understand s e n t i m e n t a l i t y t o mean an unreasonable t r a i t t h a t seeks to reduce the r e a l i t y o f t o t a l exper ience t o e x c l u s i v e l y emot iona l t e r m s , then we may f a i r l y cons ide r Borkman's v iew o f the wor ld as t y r a n n i z e d by a s o r t o f " b l a c k s e n t i m e n t a l i t y ' ! ' . He c o n s t a n t l y d i s m i s s e s the r e a l i t y t h a t p r e s e n t l y c o n f r o n t s him by c a l l i n g a t t e n t i o n t o an i l l u s o r y w o r l d of the past or the future . , i n which h i s i n f a t u a t i o n w i t h power has the a b i l i t y t o shape the w o r l d t o h i s s a t i s f a c t i o n . O O O Nar. oppre isn ingens t ime s l a r . f o r meg - . War. de i n n s e r at de i k k e kan unnvaere meg- . Nar .de kommer her opp t i l meg pa s a l e n og k ryper t i l k o r s e t og t r y g l e r meg om a t a bankens t o y l e r i g j e n - I Den nye bank, som de har grunnet - og i k k e kan makte - [ s t i l l e r seg ved s k r i v e b o r d e t l i k s o m f o r og s l a r , s e g f o r b rys te tD -Her v i i j e g s t a og t a imot dem! Og det s k a l hores og sporres v i d e n om i l andet hva b e t i n g e l s e r John G a b r i e l Borkman s t i l l e r . . . (p. 537) - 61 -(When the hour o f r e h a b i l i t a t i o n s t r i k e s f o r me -when they r e a l i z e t h a t they cannot do w i thout me -when they come up here t o me i n t h i s room and humble themselves and beseech me t o take the r e i n s of the bank a g a i n - ! The new bank t h a t they have founded -and c a n ' t manage-. CHe stands by the w r i t i n g - t a b l e as he d i d be fo re and s t r i k e s h i s b r e a s t . 1 Here I w i l l s tand and conf ront them! And i t s h a l l be known a l l over the l a n d what c o n d i t i o n s John G a b r i e l Borkman l a y s down f o r . . . ) Cp. 3 l 8 l I s not t h i s speech every b i t as s e n t i m e n t a l as F o l d a l ' s p a t h e t i c c o n v i c t i o n t h a t "somewhere or o ther around u s , f a r away - t h e r e the t r u e woman i s t o be found" Cp. 2 3 2 H ' The o n l y d i f f e r e n c e i s i n the nature o f the emotion t h a t forms i t . Borkman's p a r t i c u l a r , brand o f s e n t i m e n t a l i t y i s , however, the more dangerous of the two , f o r at some t ime i n the past h i s d e l u s i o n had been p a r t i a l l y t r a n s l a t e d i n t o r e a l i t y , and the e f f e c t s of t h a t p e r i o d p e r s i s t as a poisonous i n f l u e n c e on h i m s e l f and a l l those around him. The " f r i e n d s h i p " that , he has w i t h F o l d a l i s founded on a mutual d e s i r e f o r s e l f - d e c e p t i o n . Both men have s i l e n t l y agreed not t o r e v e a l the obvious t r u t h s about each o t h e r ' s d e l u s i o n s of genius as l o n g as the same i s done for>them. I t i s s m a l l wonder that . Borkman cons ide rs the g r e a t e s t cr ime t o be the b e t r a y a l , by a f r i e n d , of a s e c r e t t h a t has been e n t r u s t e d t o h im. What H i n k e l d i s c l o s e d t o the w o r l d , was, e s s e n t i a l l y , the t r u t h about Borkman's d e c e p t i o n , t h a t h i s great p lans f o r the w o r l d depended on money t h a t he had embezzled from those who had put t h e i r t r u s t i n h im. - 62 -BORKMAN.Ei kvalt raseriH: Og sa kom for r a e d e r i e t over meg.' Nettop l i k e midt i avgjorelsens dage! [ser pa ham.1 Vet du hva jeg holder f o r den infameste forbry-t e l s e et menneske kan bega?. FOLDAL: Nei, s i meg det. BORKMAN: Det er ikke mord.. Ikke r o v e r i e l l e r n a t t l i g innbrudd. Ikke f a l s k ed engang. For a l t s l i k t noe, det oves jo mest imot f o l k som en hater, e l l e r som er en. l i k e g y l d i g e og ikke kommer en ved. FOLDAL: Men det infameste, da, John Gabriel? BORKMAN Cmed eftertrykkD: Det infameste er venns misbruk av venns t i l l i t . (p. 538) (BORKMAN [with suppressed rageD: And then the betra y a l came upon me! At the very moment of achievement. Do you know what I regard as the most infamous crime a man can commit? FOLDAL: No, t e l l me. BORKMAN: I t ' s not murder. Not robbery or housebreaking. Not even perjury. For' those sorts of things they're done as a r u l e to people one hates or i s i n d i f f e r e n t to and who don't count.' FOLDAL: But the most infamous thing, John Gabriel? BORKMAN [with emphasis]: The most infamous i s a friend's abuse of a friend's t r u s t . ) [p. 320D This l a s t remark of Borkman's i s direc t e d to F o l d a l as a kind of warning, and underlines the one-sidedness of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . Borkman i s i n no way s e n s i t i v e to Foldal's f e e l i n g s , yet the cl e r k i s constantly phrasing his words i n the most d e l i c a t e manner'so as not to inj u r e his friend's pride. The o l d poet i s assured that his tragedy i s "good", but Borkman i s not interested i n hearing i t read to him. Yet F o l d a l i s expected to l i s t e n to John Gabriel's endless apostrophes on the subject of h i s imaginary greatness, hardly daring to speak for fear of saying "the wrong thing". This - 63 -s e n s i t i v i t y t o h i s f e e l i n g s t h a t F o l d a l d i s p l a y s i s , however, not a p p r e c i a t by Borkman, and he t a k e s i t as a k i n d o f " s o f t n e s s " , . , t o be d e s p i s e d . Borkman dea ls w i t h h i s o n l y f r i e n d as he has done w i t h everyone i n the p a s t : He t r i e s t o exert a r u t h l e s s c o n t r o l over them. To r e a c t t o anyone o ther than through the e x e r c i s e o f power would be analogous t o s u r r e n d e r i n g h i m s e l f to f o r c e s g reate r than the i n d i v i d u a l t h a t he f e a r s w i l l c rush h im. Those f o r c e s are the f o r c e s o f l i f e , the same f o r c e s t h a t Fanny W i l t o n t a l k s of t o an 'uncomprehending F r u Borkman: FRU BORKMAN: Har de i k k e g j o r t d e t , s i e r De! FRU WILTON: N e i . Jeg har hverken daret e l l e r f o r l o k k e t ham. F r i v i l l i g er E r h a r t kommet imot meg. Og f r i v i l l i g har j e g mott ham pa h a l w e i e n . FRU BORKMAN Cser h a n l i g nedad henneD : J a De_, j a ! Det t r o r j e g sa g j e r n e . FRU WILTON CbehersketH: F ru Borkman, - der g i s makter i mennesk l i vet som De_ i k k e synes a. k jenne s y n d e r l i g t i l . FRU BORKMAN: H v i l k e makter , om j e g t o r spor re? FRU WILTON: De makter. som byder t o mennesker a k n y t t e s i n l i v s g a n g u l o s e l i g - og hensyns los t sammen. (p. 554) (MRS. BORKMAN: You've done t h a t , you say ! MRS. WILTON: No, I ' ve n e i t h e r bewitched nor i n f a t u a t e d him. E r h a r t has come t o me o f h i s own f r e e w i l l . And o f my own f r e e w i l l I ' ve met him h a l f - w a y . MRS. BORKMAN [ l o o k i n g her s c o r n f u l l y up and down: : Y e s , you indeed ! I can w e l l b e l i e v e i t ! MRS. WILTON [ c o n t r o l l i n g h e r s e l f : : Mrs . Borkman, t h e r e are f o r c e s i n human l i f e t h a t you seem not t o know very w e l l . MRS. BORKMAN: What f o r c e s , may I ask? MRS. WILTON: The f o r c e s t h a t c a l l two people t o b i n d themselves t o g e t h e r for . l i f e , i n s e p a r a b l y - and wi thout f e a r . ) [p . 3 5 2 : - 64 -N e i t h e r Borkman nor h i s w i f e have any t r u s t i n the p o s s i b i l i t y of meeting anyone " h a l f - w a y " , yet b o t h . o f them are outraged when t h e i r n o t i o n o f someone e l s e ' s duty to them i s b e t r a y e d . F r u Borkman t o t a l l y r e j e c t s her son when she sees t h a t she no longer has him i n her power, and her husband t e l l s F o l d a l t h a t he has no more " u s e " f o r him when he r e a l i z e s t h a t the c l e r k e n t e r t a i n s doubts about h i s a b i l i t y t o r i s e aga in i n the w o r l d . Borkman's anger a g a i n s t F o l d a l beg ins t o r i s e whenever the s m a l l e s t degree o f s k e p t i c i s m i s in t roduced , i n t o t h e i r d i s c o u r s e . True;" i n t r o s p e c t i o n i s t o t a l l y a l i e n to Borkman's n a t u r e , and f o r him t h e r e i s no d i s t i n c t i o n between honest s e l f - a p p r a i s a l and l o s s of b e l i e f i n one 's s e l f . I n t r o -s p e c t i o n i n another i s e q u a l l y as t h r e a t e n i n g , f o r Borkman hears everywhere the v o i c e s o f h i s own g u i l t , , which he. attempts to convince h i m s e l f are the consc ious i n s i n u a t i o n s o f o t h e r s . BORKMAN [ t i e r l i t t D : Du g jorde v i s s t et d a r l i g v a l g da du g i f t e t deg . FOLDAL: Der var j o omtrent i n t e t v a l g f o r meg. Og d e s s u t e n , - g i f t e seg v i i en j o g jerne nar. en begynner a t r e k k e p a arene . Og sa r e d u s e r t , sa . dypt pa knaerne som j e g dengang v a r -BORKMAN Cspr inger opp i . v redeH: S k a l d e t t e her vaere en s i k t e l s e t i l meg? En b e b r e i d e l s e - . ' FOLDAL Cengs.tel igH: . N e i , f o r guds s k y l d , John G a b r i e l - . ' BORKMAN:. J o , du s i t t e r og t e n k e r pa a l l den u l y k k e som bro t i n n over banken - . ' (p. 536) (BORKMAN C a f t e r a moment's s i l e n c e H : I'm a f r a i d you made a bad cho ice when you m a r r i e d . FOLDAL: There p r a c t i c a l l y wasn ' t any cho ice f o r me. And b e s i d e s - one does want t o mar ry , when one begins t o get on i n y e a r s . And I was so l o w , so down on my l u c k at t h a t t ime -- 65 -BORKMAN [ s p r i n g i n g up i n angerD: I s t h i s a r e f e r e n c e t o me? A reproach? FOLDAL CnervouslyH: No, f o r heaven's s a k e , John G a b r i e l ! BORKMAN: Yes i t i s ; y o u ' r e t h i n k i n g about a l l t h a t m i s f o r t u n e t h a t f e l l on the bank -I) Cp. 3173 L i k e B rand , John G a b r i e l Borkman r e f u s e s to . c o n s i d e r any compromise w i t h the w o r l d . Yet Borkman i s not concerned w i t h the i d e a of do ing what i s " r i g h t " , o n l y w i t h the desperate n e c e s s i t y of p r e s e r v i n g an i d e a l i z e d v i s i o n o f h i m s e l f . Whenever Borkman t a l k s about " h i m s e l f " , he i s r e f e r r i n g not t o a human b e i n g , but to the r o c k - h a r d symbol o f power over l i f e and death t h a t he so e a r n e s t l y wishes t o become. S tone , m e t a l , these are the symbols of i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y t h a t Borkman has chosen t o i d e n t i f y w i t h h i s whole b e i n g . To become l i k e them would be t o f u l f i l a profound d e s i r e t o r i d h i m s e l f o f h i s humani ty , t o become, as i t were , i m m o r t a l . I t i s thus t h a t Borkman's p e r s o n a l i t y does not a l l o w f o r the n o t i o n of " s p i r i t u a l g rowth" , o f deve lop ing h i s i d e n t i t y i n c o n t i n u a l i n t e r c o u r s e w i t h the wor ld and w i t h humanity. In h i s own i m a g i n a t i o n , he has always been John G a b r i e l Borkman, the man who had t o do as he d i d because he was "who he was" . Borkman dare not see h i m s e l f as a man i n the process o f d e f i n i n g ' h i s p e r s o n a l i t y i n r e l a t i o n s h i p t o the w o r l d , f o r t h a t wor ld i s h i s b i t t e r e s t enemy. He can o n l y defy the w o r l d i n p r o c l a i m i n g that ihe e x i s t s , t o t a l l y , and independent l y o f any other r e a l i t y . - 66 -FRU BORKMAN Cdrar et b i t t e r t s u k k : : J a , det er et sant o r d . A l l verden k jenner d e t . BORKMAN: Men den k jenner i k k e h v o r f o r j e g har f o r g a t t meg. Hvor for j e g matte f o r g a meg. Menneskene skjonner i k k e at j e g matte det f o r d i j e g var meg s e l v , - f o r d i j e g var John G a b r i e l Borkman, - og i k k e noen annen. Og det er det j e g v i i prove pa . a g i deg en f o r k l a r i n g ove r . Tp- 549) (MRS. BORKMAN [ w i t h a b i t t e r s i g h : : Y e s , t h a t ' s t r u e enough. A l l the w o r l d knows i t . BORKMAN: But i t d o e s n ' t know why I d i d i t . Why I had t o do i t . People d o n ' t r e a l i z e t h a t I had t o do t h a t because I was myse l f - because I was John G a b r i e l Borkman - and no one e l s e . And i t ' s t h a t I want t o t r y and . e x p l a i n t o you . ) Cp. 3 4 2 : So' i t i s t h a t Borkman e x o n e r a t e s . h i m s e l f from any blame. For t h i r t y e a r s , i n h i s c e l l , and "up t h e r e i n the g a l l e r y " , the great dreamer has c o n s t r u c t e d an immense e d i f i c e of s e l f - d e c e p t i o n . He has been h i s own judge , h i s own j u r y , h i s own d e f e n c e , h i s own w o r l d . H i s c o n c l u s i o n , " t h a t the o n l y person I have s inned a g a i n s t i s m y s e l f " Cp. 3 4 2 : , i s a w i l l f u l negat ion of the concept of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Those o thers whom he has s inned a g a i n s t " d o n ' t c o u n t " ; he has o b l i t e r a t e d them from h i s w o r l d , and he does not cons ide r t h a t he can be brought t o account f o r people who do n o t , so t o speak, e x i s t . P a r t of Borkman's s t r a t e g y i n escap ing the consequences o f h i s a c t i o n s , i s t o wage a p s e u d o - p h i l o s o p h i c a l war a g a i n s t the r e a l i t y of e x p e r i e n c e . Borkman's c r e d o , almost h i s l a s t l i n e o f d e f e n c e , r e s t s on a k i n d o f s o l i p s i s m through which he argues t h a t the a c t s o f men can be changed by a s u p e r i o r form of p e r c e p t i o n . T h i s d e v i c e , the r e s o r t of a - 67 -moral coward, Borkman e x a l t s as an almost sacred t e n e t . Faced w i t h the onslaught of h i s w i f e ' s c r u e l , yet s u b s t a n t i a l l y accura te a p p r a i s a l o f him as " a man who has never l o v e d a n y t h i n g o u t s i d e o f h i m s e l f " Cp. 3441, as " a dead man" Cp. 3 4 5 ] , he has no a l t e r n a t i v e but t o a c q u i t h i m s e l f i n h i s own s i g h t by p o s i t i n g t h a t h i s v iew of r e a l i t y i s so fundamenta l l y d i f f e r e n t from anyone e l s e ' s t h a t no other person can understand h i s m o t i v e s . BORKMAN Crys te r pa hodet og ser be laer rende pa°henne3: Der s k j e r i n g e n t i n g n y t t . Men det som er_ s k j e d d , -det g j e n t a r seg h e l l e r i k k e . Det er oyet som f o r v a n d l e r hand l ingen . Det g jenfodte oyet f o r v a n d l e r den gamle h a n g l i n g . Cavbry te r .3 N a , . d e t f o r s t a r du i k k e . FRU BORKMAN C k o r t l : N e i , j e g f o r s t a r det i k k e . BORKMAN: N e i , det er j u s t fo rbanne lsen at j e g a l d r i har funnet f o r s t a e l s e hos noen eneste menneskes je l . (p. 550) (BORKMAN Cshaking h i s head and l o o k i n g at h e r , as though i n s t r u c t i n g h e r 3 : Noth ing new happens. But t h e t h i n g t h a t has happened, - i t d o e s n ' t repeat i t s e l f e i t h e r . I t ' s the eye t h a t changes the deed. The new-made eye changes t h e o l d deed. CBreaking o f f . 3 But you don ' t understand t h a t . MRS. BORKMAN C s h o r t l y 3 : No, I don ' t understand t h a t . BORKMAN: No , t h a t i s j u s t the c u r s e , t h a t I never have found unders tand ing i n a s i n g l e human s o u l . ) Cp . .3433 Borkman complains t h a t he i s " c u r s e d " w i t h never hav ing found u n d e r s t a n d i n g , yet h i s whole e x i s t e n c e has been c a r e f u l l y c o n s t r u c t e d so as t o make h i m s e l f i n a c c e s s i b l e to. u n d e r s t a n d i n g . By " u n d e r s t a n d i n g " , he s u r e l y means the b l i n d worship of h i s own s e l f - i m a g e , the same i d o l a t r y w i t h which F r u Borkman i s s u f f o c a t i n g her son. - 68 -F r u Borkman, l i k e E l l a Rentheim, i s a broken woman, because she dreamed of hav ing her l i f e ' s dream f u l f i l l e d through be ing m a r r i e d t o John G a b r i e l . Through c a r r y i n g the name o f - a great and famous man, she had hoped t o ach ieve happiness i n the r e f l e c t e d g l o r y of t h a t name. A l though Borkman has. r u i n e d h i s r e p u t a t i o n f o r ever., Gunh i ld s t i l l c l i n g s t o her o r i g i n a l f a n t a s y , and endeavours t o t r a n s f o r m her son i n t o a monument t o an i d e a l i z e d image of h e r s e l f t h a t has no r e l a t i o n s h i p t o the t r u t h of her own c h a r a c t e r . E r h a r t ' s "pure and l o f t y and r a d i a n t " l i f e , t h a t e x i s t s o n l y i n her i m a g i n a t i o n , i s the a n t i t h e s i s o f her mean and debased e x i s t e n c e . BORKMAN Chest og s k j a e r e n d e l : Og det k j a e r l i g h e t s v e r k v i i du ove? FRU BORKMAN: Ikke ved egne k r e f t e r . Det t o r j e g i k k e tenke p a . . Men j e g hag oppdrat t en h j e l p e r t i l a . s e t t e s i t t l i v i n n pa d e t t e e n e v Han s k a l l e v e l i v e t i renhet og hoyet og l y s , sa ledes at d i t t eget g r u b e l i v b l i r som u t s l e t t e t her oppe pa j o r d e n ! (p. 551) (BORKMAN Choarsely and c u t t i n g l y ! : And t h i s work o f l ove - you w i l l perform i t ? MRS. BORKMAN: Not i n my own s t r e n g t h . I wou ldn ' t dream of t h i n k i n g t h a t . But I ' ve bred up a h e l p e r to d e d i c a t e h i s l i f e t o t h i s one a im. He_ s h a l l l i v e a l i f e so l o f t y and pure and r a d i a n t , t h a t your own l i f e under -ground s h a l l be o b l i t e r a t e d up here on e a r t h . ) Cp. 3453 To acknowledge the t r u t h about, o u r s e l v e s as human be ings i s equated , by both Borkman and h i s w i f e , w i t h an act o f s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i o n . To be depr i ved of t h e i r f a n t a s i e s i s t o be depr i ved o f the means o f conquer ing - 69 -an unbearable l i f e , and of n e g a t i n g the f i n a l i t y of d e a t h : E r h a r t ! E r h a r t ! , - vaer t r o . i m o t meg! A" kom hjem og h j e l p d i n mor! For j e g baerer i k k e d e t t e l i v l e n g e r ! (p. 533) ( E r h a r t ! E rha r t be t r u e t o me! 0, come home and h e l p your mother! I c a n ' t bear t h i s l i f e any l o n g e r ! ) Cp. 311H BORKMAN C s e t t e r seg i g j e n i sofaenH: J e g t r o r det sa f a s t . Vet det sa u r y g g e l i g v i s s t - at de kommer. -Hadde j e g i k k e ha t t den v i s s h e t , - sa hadde j e g f o r lenge s i d e n s k u t t meg en k u l e gjennem hodet . (p. 537) (BORKMAN C s i t t i n g down aga in on the sofaD: I f i r m l y b e l i e v e i t . I know i t - w i t h unshakeable c o n v i c t i o n -t h a t t h e y ' l l come. I f I hadn ' t had t h a t c o n v i c t i o n , I should have put a b u l l e t through my head l o n g ago . ) Cp. 3193 Ibsen shows q u i t e c l e a r l y i n the p l a y t h a t i t i s the f e a r o f death t h a t l i e s at the bottom of the t o r t u r e d ' a c t i o n s o f the t h r e e major c h a r a c t e r s . A l though F r u Borkman. t a l k s o f her l i f e as b e i n g " u n b e a r a b l e " , and her husband c l a i m s t h a t he has contemplated s u i c i d e , n e i t h e r of them can bear t o face the prospect o f d e a t h ' s q u a r e l y and r e a l i s t i c a l l y . F r u Borkman does not r e a c t w i t h the l e a s t t r a c e o f sympathy when she l e a r n s t h a t her own s i s t e r o n l y has a few months, l e f t t o l i v e , i n f a c t , she seems t o have no r e a c t i o n t o the news at a l l , as i f the words had never been u t t e r e d . P s y c h o l o g i c a l d e n i a l , s e l e c t i v e amnes ia , these are the methods t h a t the "maimed Napoleon" and h i s w i f e r e s o r t to when every - T O -other subter fuge has f a i l e d . Both Borkman and h i s w i f e t r y t o b e l i t t l e E l l a ' s i l l n e s s , and t r y t o ward o f f the phantom of t h e i r own m o r t a l i t y t h a t i s concealed i n the death of another human b e i n g , , by e i t h e r s topp ing t h e i r e a r s , or c o n t r a d i c t i n g the ev idence o f t h e i r eyes . When E l l a goes t o v i s i t John G a b r i e l i n . h i s room, he f i r s t of a l l seems not t o recogn i ze h e r , then t r i e s , t o deny t h a t her age and her i l l n e s s have a l t e r e d her ve ry much. F i n a l l y , when E l l a ' s emphasis on the f a c t s c o n f r o n t i n g him becomes so i n s i s t e n t t h a t even he_ cannot f i n d a means o f denying them, he snatches at h i s o n l y p o s s i b l e means of escape , and promptly changes the t o p i c of c o n v e r s a t i o n : ELLA RENTHEIM: Kan du kjenne meg i g j e n ? BORKMAN: J a , nu. begynner j e g a -ELLA RENTHEIM: I r e n e har t a t t hardt og h o s t l i g pa . meg, Borkman. Synes du i k k e det? BORKMAN [tvungentH: Du er b l i t t noe f o r a n d r e t . Sann i f o r s t e o y e b l i k k -ELLA RENTHEIM: Jeg har i k k e de morke k r o l l e n e nedover o o nakken nu . De som du en gang h o l d t sa av a sno om dine f i n g r e . BORKMAN Chur t igD: R i k t i g ! Nu ' se r j e g d e t , E l l a . Du har f o r a n d r e t f r i s y r e n . ELLA RENTHEIM [med et t r i s t . s m i l l : A k k u r a t . Det. e r f r i s y r e n som g j o r d e t . BORKMAN [ a v l e d e n d e l : Jeg v i s s t e e l l e r s i k k e av at du v a r her pa d i s s e k a n t e r av l a n d e t . (p. 5kl) (ELLA RENTHEIM: Do you know me again? BORKMAN: Y e s , now I beg in t o -ELLA RENTHEIM: Y e s , and the y e a r s have been hard on me, John G a b r i e l , and i t ' s autumn now. Don ' t you t h i n k so? BORKMAN [ w i t h c o n s t r a i n t ! : You are a l i t t l e changed. At l e a s t , at f i r s t g lance -ELLA RENTHEIM: I have no dark c u r l s hanging down my back now. Those c u r l s you used t o love t o t w i s t around your f i n g e r s . - 7 1 -BORKMAN [ q u i c k l y ] : T h a t ' s i t ! I see i t now E l l a . You've done your h a i r d i f f e r e n t l y . ELLA RENTHEIM [ w i t h a sad s m i l e ! : Qui te r i g h t . I t ' s the h a i r t h a t makes the d i f f e r e n c e . BORKMAN [changing the s u b j e c t ] : I ' d no i d e a t h a t you were i n t h i s par t of the c o u n t r y . ) [p . 3 2 6 ] E l l a ' s "sad s m i l e " u n d e r l i n e s the p r e p o s t e r o u s , near - comic c h a r a c t e r -i s t i c s o f Borkman's desperate f l i g h t from t r u t h . The man who dreamed o f becoming a new Napoleon has been reduced t o a Harpagon, a p a t h e t i c miser o f h i s own l i f e . One o f Borkman's methods o f deny ing the imminence o f h i s own d e a t h , and t h a t o f h i s s i s t e r - i n - l a w , i s t o exaggerate , i n h i s i m a g i n a t i o n , the d u r a t i o n o f t ime t h a t remains f o r them. In h i s . c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h F o l d a l , Borkman seeks comfort f o r h i m s e l f by e n v i s i o n i n g an i l l u s o r y f u t u r e i n which he w i l l have more than enough t ime t o b r i n g about h i s p l a n s . Yet even the contemplat ion of an u n r e a l f u t u r e l e a d s h im, a g a i n s t h i s w i l l , t o the l o g i c a l c o n c l u s i o n t h a t one day , even'he w i l l have to d i e . Borkman handles t h i s t roublesome thought i n the c rudest p o s s i b l e way: he s t r u g g l e s to o b l i t e r a t e i t from h i s memory: BORKMAN Choverendel : Men de kommer! De kommer nok! Pass p a ! . Hver d a g , hver t ime kan j e g vente r dem her . Og du ser j e g ho lder meg para t t i l a t a imot dem. FOLDAL Cmed et s u k k ] : Bare de v i i komme r i k t i g s n a r t . BORKMAN C u r o l i g ] : J a d u , t i d e n g a r ; arene g a r ; l i v e t , -uh n e i - det t o r j e g i k k e tenke p a ! (p. 5 3 7 ) (BORKMAN [ e x u l t a n t l y ] : But t h e y ' l l come! T h e y ' l l come a l l r i g h t ! You watch! Any day , any moment, I can expect them h e r e . And you see I h o l d myse l f prepared t o conf ront them. FOLDAL [ w i t h a s i g h ] : I f o n l y t h e y ' d come q u i c k l y . BORKMAN [ u n e a s i l y ] : Y e s , my f r i e n d , t ime p a s s e s ; the years p a s s ; l i f e - ah no - I d a r e n ' t t h i n k o f t h a t ! ) [p . 3193 - 72 -Borkman aga in t r i e s t o combat the spec t re o f death when E l l a c o n f r o n t s him w i t h the news o f h e r : . i n c u r a b l e i l l n e s s . H i s f i r s t response i s t o deny t h a t i t can be. r e a l , h i s second, a f t e r b e i n g f o r c e d t o admit t h a t i t may be t r u e , i s c a l l o u s l y t o exaggerate , f o r h i s own peace o f mind , the amount of t ime t h a t E l l a has l e f t t o l i v e : BORKMAN: A, men det kan vare lenge ennu, - t r o du meg. ELLA RENTHEIM: Det kan mul igens vare v i n t e r e n s o v e r , b l e der sagt meg. BORKMAN Cut en a tenke ved d e t 3 : Na j a , - v i n t e r e n er j o l a n g , den. (p . 5 4 6 ) (BORKMAN: Oh, but i t may t a k e a l o n g t ime y e t , b e l i e v e me. ELLA RENTHEIM: I t may p o s s i b l y take the r e s t of the w i n t e r , they t o l d me. BORKMAN [.without t h i n k i n g l l : Oh w e l l , the w i n t e r ' s p r e t t y l o n g . ) Hp. 3 3 6 3 E l l a , whose f a t a l d i s e a s e may have been caused by the emot iona l d i s t r e s s t h a t she exper ienced when Borkman r e j e c t e d h e r , manages t o f a c e up t o the prospect of her own death w i t h more courage and d i g n i t y than the o t h e r s . Yet she can h a r d l y bear t o l e a v e t h i s wor ld w i thout l e a v i n g a symbol of her cont inued e x i s t e n c e behind h e r . Because she never c a r r i e d Borkman's name h e r s e l f , she dreams of hav ing h i s son c a r r y her own name through the w o r l d . L i k e Borkman, the two women have chosen t o i d e n t i f y the whole o f t h e i r b e i n g w i t h a name, a p a t h e t i c r e d u c t i o n of human p o s s i b i l i t y , yet one t h a t seems t o possess the power o f t r a n s c e n d i n g the l i m i t s o f our e x i s t e n c e . - 73 -ELLA RENTHEIM Cser bedende pa ham]: E r h a r t , j e g har i k k e r a d t i l a. m i s t e deg. For du s k a l v i t e at j e g er ensomt, - doende menneske. ERHART: Doende - ? ELLA RENTHEIM: J a , doende. V i i du vaere hos meg t i l det s i s t e ? Knyt te deg h e l t t i l meg? Vaere f o r meg som du var m i t t eget barn - (p. 552) (ELLA RENTHEIM [ l o o k i n g at him w i t h e n t r e a t y ] : E r h a r t , I c a n ' t bear t o l o s e you . For I ' l l t e l l y o u , I am s o l i t a r y - and d y i n g . ERHART: Dying - ? ELLA RENTHEIM: Yes , d y i n g . . W i l l you be w i t h me t i l l the end? J o i n y o u r s e l f t o me e n t i r e l y ? Be f o r me as i f you were my own c h i l d - ? ) Cp. 3^7] Both E l l a and Gunh i ld are t i e d i r r e v o c a b l y t o the p a s t , t o the dreams t h a t they had i n t h e i r y o u t h . E l l a wanted t o win Borkman',s "whole h e a r t , h i s s o u l " , and Gunh i ld wanted t o win the g l o r y t h a t comes from b e i n g the w i f e of a great man. L i k e Borkman, E l l a has committed the s i n t h a t she h e r s e l f c o n s i d e r s t o be the gravest s i n o f a l l . ELLA. RENTHEIM: Du h a r d r e p t k j a e r l i g h e t s l i v e t i meg. [naermere mot ham] F o r s t a r du hva det v i i s i ? Der t a l e s i b i b e l e n om en g a t e f u l l synd som der ingen t i l g i v e l s e er f o r . Jeg h a r ' a l d r i f o r kunnet b e g r i p e r hva det hva f o r noe. Nu b e g r i p e r j e g d e t . Den s t o r e nadelose s y n d , det er den synd a myrde k j a e r l i g h e t s -l i v e t i et menneske. (pp. 5^ +3-4) (ELLA RENTHEIM: You have k i l l e d the power to l o v e i n me. [Coming nearer t o h i m . ] Do you understand what t h a t means? I t speaks i n the B i b l e o f a myster ious s i n t h a t t h e r e ' s no f o r g i v e n e s s f o r . I ' ve never been a b l e t o see what i t c o u l d be . Now I do see . The g r e a t , unpardonable s i n - i t ' s the s i n of k i l l i n g love i n a human c r e a t u r e . ) [p . 331] - lh -I t i s not Borkman who h a s . k i l l e d the power t o l o v e w i t h i n h e r , "but h e r s e l f . Because she has founded her whole b e i n g upon the premise of b e i n g l o v e d by one p a r t i c u l a r man, she can no. l onger l o v e anyone, except perhaps t h a t man's son. In her i m a g i n a t i o n , E rhar t has become her own s o n , and through him she expresses her l ove f o r the husband she never had. ELLA RENTHEIM: Jeg er domt t i l a ga b o r t . Svar meg, E r h a r t . ERHART Cvarmt, bevegetD: Tante E l l a , - du har v a e r t meg sa u s i g e l i g god. Hos deg har j e g f a t t l o v t i l a . voske opp i a l l den s o r g l o s e l y k k e f o l e l s e som j e g t r o r der kan vaere over noe barns l i v -FRU BORKMAN: E r h a r t , E r h a r t ' ELLA RENTHEIM: A, hvor v e l s i g n e t at du kan se det sa ennu! ERHART: - men j e g kan i k k e o f r e meg f o g deg nu . (p. 552) (ELLA RENTHEIM: I am doomed t o . d i e . Answer me, E r h a r t . ERHART [ a f f e c t i o n a t e l y and moved1: Aunt E l l a , - you 've been so w o n d e r f u l l y good t o me. Wi th you I was ab le t o grow up wi thout any t r o u b l e s , as happy as I t h i n k any c h i l d c o u l d be i n i t s l i f e -MRS. BORKMAN: E r h a r t , E r h a r t ! ELLA RENTHEIM: Oh, what a b l e s s i n g t h a t you can s t i l l see i t l i k e t h a t ! ERHART: - but I c a n ' t s a c r i f i c e myse l f t o you now.) [p . 3 4 7 : A l though E l l a wants E r h a r t to come t o her "o f h i s own f r e e w i l l " , she i s j u s t as a s t o n i s h e d as Gunh i ld when she d i s c o v e r s t h a t h i s " w i l l " c o u l d p o s s i b l y choose anyone other than one o f the f i g u r e s t h a t have formed the d e a t h l y t r i a n g l e of her e x i s t e n c e f o r so many years,. . A l though she genu ine ly wants h i s l o v e , she has never imagined t h a t he c o u l d love anyone more than h i s mother or h e r s e l f . E l l a and her s i s t e r are both g u i l t y o f - 75 -see ing E r h a r t ' s w o r l d as b e i n g n e c e s s a r i l y bounded by the c l o s e l i m i t s of t h e i r o b s e s s i o n . Fanny W i l t o n r e f u s e s t o have her e x i s t e n c e d e f i n e d by a bond w i t h the p a s t , y e t Gunh i ld reproaches her w i t h her s e p a r a t i o n from her husband, as though i t were a proof of the shal lowness of her d e s i r e f o r E r h a r t . Mrs . W i l t o n and E r h a r t are determined t o exper ience l i f e through s h a r i n g happiness w i t h another p e r s o n , and they are n e i t h e r of them so n a i v e as t o b e l i e v e t h a t s i n c e r e love f o r another i s n e c e s s a r i l y connected w i t h a devot ion t h a t w i l l l a s t " f o r e v e r " . FRU WILTON: Jeg har a l d r i f o r v i s s t hva l y k k e var i l i v e t . Og j e g kan da umul ig v i s e l y k k e n f r a meg f o r d i om den kommer sa s e n t . FRU BORKMAN: Og hvor lenge t r o r De den l y k k e n t i l vaere? ERHART CavbrytendeH: Kort e l l e r l e n g e , mor, - det f a r . vaere det damme! FRU BORKMAN Li vredeD: F o r b l i n d e d e menneske, som du e r ! Ser du da i k k e hvor a l t . d e t t e her baerer hen? (p. 555) (MRS. WILTON:. I ' ve never known b e f o r e what happiness was i n l i f e . And I c a n ' t b r i n g myse l f t o t u r n away my happiness j u s t because i t comes so l a t e . MRS. BORKMAN: And how l o n g do you t h i n k t h a t happiness w i l l l a s t ? ERHART [ b r e a k i n g inl: Short or l o n g , mother , - i t d o e s n ' t m a t t e r ! MRS. BORKMAF Cin w r a t h : : You b l i n d c r e a t u r e ! Don' t you see where a l l t h i s i s t a k i n g you! ) Cp. 3533 What F r u Borkman b l i n d l y r e f u s e s t o see i s t h a t E rhar t i s b e i n g l e d away from her deadening i n f l u e n c e , and i n t o l i f e i t s e l f . Because she has wished f o r a s t o n e - l i k e permanence i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h her husband, - 76 -the b e t r a y a l of her f a n t a s y has t ransformed her l i f e i n t o a g h o s t l y monument t o the s h a t t e r e d i l l u s i o n s o f her y o u t h . She has f o r s a k e n the man, but cannot r i d h e r s e l f of the dream of a m a g i c a l permanent at tachment . G u n h i l d , Borkman, and E l l a have a l l f a l l e n v i c t i m t o the gr im consequences of t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e dreams o f an e a r t h l y form of i m m o r t a l i t y . Because t h e i r l i v e s have been centered around a profound w i s h f o r permanence and i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y , not d a r i n g t o enter i n t o the f l o w of r e a l i t y f o r f e a r t h a t they w i l l be consumed'by i t , they have reached the end o f t h e i r days w i thout ever hav ing r e a l l y l i v e d . In the f i n a l a c t , Borkman goes out i n t o the snow vowing never aga in to enter the house t h a t has been h i s refuge from l i f e f o r e i g h t l o n g y e a r s . But Borkman no longer has any re fuge l e f t i n the r e a l w o r l d , f o r i n t h a t house t h a t n i g h t he has been, conf ronted w i t h the b l u n t t r u t h of h i s w i f e ' s a c c u s a t i o n t h a t he i s a . "dead man". He f e a r s i f he were to go back i n t o the house , t h a t the c e i l i n g s and w a l l s would c r u s h him l i k e an i n s e c t . He b e l i e v e s t h a t he i s go ing out i n t o the wor ld , o f h i s own f r e e w i l l ; what he cannot b r i n g h i m s e l f t o admit i s t h a t he i s f o r c e d t o l e a v e , f o r i t i s the t r u t h t h a t has been u t t e r e d , and not the house i t s e l f , t h a t th rea tens to c rush h im. His p l a n i s no longer t o b u i l d up the empire t h a t he f e e l s he c o u l d have founded, the dream of a n • i n d u s t r i a l u t o p i a , f o r he i s f r a n t i c a l l y seek ing f o r an even more potent a n t i d o t e t o the c h i l l o f d e a t h , the ve ry source of the f o r c e s w i t h which he has s t r i v e n t o defend h i m s e l f from l i f e . - 77 -He t e l l s E l l a t h a t h i s r e a l kingdom l i e s i n the very heart o f the mountains themse lves , t h a t the w o r l d above, g round 'on l y c o n s t i t u t e d " the outworks of the kingdom" Cp. 3673- The m i n e r ' s son who became the d i r e c t o r of a bank, has at l a s t fo rsaken h i s dream of c o n v e r t i n g the l i f e - f o r c e w i t h i n him i n t o money and power over e v e r y t h i n g on the face o f the e a r t h . H i s l a s t and most desperate w i s h i s t o b r i n g " a l l the b u r i e d t r e a s u r e s of the e a r t h " t o l i f e , j u s t as he f e e l s t h a t t h e meta ls i n the ground have the a b i l i t y t o i n f u s e him w i t h a k i n d o f v i t a l f o r c e . The p a t h e t i c t r u t h beneath t h i s f i n a l c razed ambi t ion i s t h a t Borkman has gone out i n t o the w o r l d t o prove t h a t he i s a l i v e , t o deny h i s w i f e ' s judgment on him as one who i s a l r e a d y dead. Yet he a t t e m p t s , i r o n i c a l l y , to f i n d r e b i r t h through the v e r y i l l u s i o n s t h a t k i l l e d the human impulse i n him many years ago. He seeks r e j u v e n a t i o n through dead t h i n g s , and he wants t o pour h i s own l i f e in to , them, f o r i t i s not i n ; the s o f t n e s s o f human f e e l i n g s t h a t he sees any s a l v a t i o n , but i n the o b s t i n a t e permanence o f the i n s e n s a t e w o r l d of meta l and r o c k , and these t h i n g s a lone s t i r up h i s l o n g - b u r i e d emot ions: Cmed f ramrakte hender.H Men j e g v i i h v i s k e det t i l j e r her i n a t t e s t i l l h e t e n . Jeg e l s k e r e d e r , der I l i g g e r skinndode i dyppet og morket ! Jeg e l s k e r e d e r , I l i v k r e v e n d e v e r d i e r - med a l t eders l ysende f o l g e av makt og a e r e . Jeg e l s k e r , e l s k e r , e l s k e r eder ! (p. 562) (Cwith o u t s t r e t c h e d hands] But I w i l l wh isper i t t o you here i n the s t i l l n e s s o f the. n i g h t . I l o v e y o u , where you l i e as though dead i n the depth and i n the d a r k ! I l o v e y o u , you t r e a s u r e s t h a t crave f o r l i f e - w i t h a l l the s h i n i n g g i f t s o f power and g l o r y t h a t you b r i n g . I l o v e , l o v e , l ove you ! ) Cp. 3681 - 78 -Out i n the snow, p u r s u i n g the t a n t a l i z i n g d e l u s i o n t h a t he hoped would d e l i v e r him from the f a t e of o ther m o r t a l s , John G a b r i e l Borkman d i e s , h i s heart " c l u t c h e d by a f r e e z i n g meta l hand" . He has been k i l l e d by the f r e e z i n g w i n t e r a i r from the mountains t h a t seemed t o promise him the hope of a new l i f e . For E l l a and G u n h i l d , t h e r e i s n o t h i n g l e f t t h a t w i l l g i v e any purpose t o t h e i r cont inued e x i s t e n c e , f o r the man who d i v i d e d them i s no longer a l i v e , and they w i l l perhaps never see E rhar t a g a i n . Yet they manage t o p e r c e i v e t h a t t h e r e i s no longer any reason f o r them t o be p a r t e d from each o t h e r . At l a s t they are ab le t o a p p r e c i a t e c l e a r l y what they have s a c r i f i c e d by choos ing t o i d e n t i f y themselves w h o l l y w i t h a l i f e l e s s symbol of v i c t o r y over l i f e . As the c u r t a i n i s f a l l i n g , the two s i s t e r s j o i n hands over the dead man, each speaking the t r u t h s t h a t f o r m e r l y , o n l y the o ther cou ld bear t o u t t e r ; FRU BORKMAN: V i t o t v i l l i n g s o s t r e - over ham v i begge har e l s k e t . ELLA RENTHEIM: V i t o skygger - over den dode mann. (p. 563) (MRS. BORKMAN: We two t w i n s i s t e r s - over the man we both l o v e d . ELLA RENTHEIM: We two shadows - over the dead man.) Cp. 370: - 79 -Each o f the t h r e e post -Romant ic works t h a t I have s t u d i e d i n t h i s t h e s i s c o n t a i n s a d e p i c t i o n o f a romantic charac te r whose l i f e i s spent i n an attempt t o d i s c o v e r a symbol ic ob jec t t h a t w i l l , s a t i s f y an i n n e r l o n g i n g f o r i m m o r t a l i t y . I have t r i e d t o show t h a t t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e i l l u s i o n s are not mere ly based on a d e s i r e t o conceive of themselves "o the r than they a r e " , but t h a t they are formed w i t h the aim of n e g a t i n g the s p e c i f i c f a c t s of human e x i s t e n c e t h a t d e f i n e our m o r t a l i t y . For Emma Bovary , t h i s ob jec t i s t o be found i n a m a g i c a l country t h a t she n a i v e l y b e l i e v e s t o e x i s t somewhere i n t h i s w o r l d . Her search f o r a v a l o r o u s and a r i s t o c r a t i c l o v e r i s secondary t o her g r e a t e s t hope: t o f i n d a means of e x i s t e n c e t h a t w i l l l i b e r a t e her from';the l i m i t a t i o n s of o r d i n a r y e x p e r i e n c e . The l o v e r i s necessary o n l y i n s o f a r as he w i l l take her o f f t o the l a n d i n which her dreams w i l l be r e a l i z e d . A lways , i n Madame Bovary , Emma c l i n g s t o the dream t h a t her s i t u a t i o n i s the r e s u l t o f her be ing born i n the wrong l o c a t i o n : t h a t sooner or l a t e r she w i l l f i n d a way of escap ing the f a c t s o f human l i f e , which t o h e r , seem on ly t o apply t o the p a r t i c u l a r people and p l a c e s she has known. That her i l l u s i o n s are founded on a r e j e c t i o n o f the f a c t s o f m o r t a l i t y i s shown i n the a n t i t h e t i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t e x i s t s between her dreams o f s e n s u a l and r e l i g i o u s f u l f i l m e n t and the images of b i o l o g i c a l process t h a t e x i s t throughout the n o v e l , o f which the b l i n d mad i s , so t o speak, the i n c a r n a t i o n . N i e l s Lyhne 's ambi t ion t o become a w r i t e r i s subord inate t o , and i s thwarted by , an unconscious quest t o d i s c o v e r an ob jec t t h a t w i l l i n s u l a t e him from h i s profound f e a r of death . T h i s o b j e c t i s a romant ic attachment - 80 -t o a woman which seems t o have the power of f r e e i n g him from the c o n t i n g e n c i e s o f normal exper ience . H is i d e a l of femin ine p u r i t y , i n which the p h y s i c a l , sexua l aspect of womanhood i s i g n o r e d , or reduced t o a minor r o l e , i s i n sharp c o n t r a s t w i t h the s e n s u a l i t y o f the women w i t h whom he attempts t o "merge" h i m s e l f . H is atheism cannot h e l p but i n c r e a s e h i s anguished c o n v i c t i o n t h a t he i s u t t e r l y alone i n the w o r l d and under the face of heaven, and he s t r i v e s t o fo rge a necessary l i n k between h i m s e l f and another b e i n g t o whom he has a t t r i b u t e d powers t h a t resemble those of the God he has den ied . A l though N i e l s c o n s c i o u s l y r e j e c t s any i d e a o f t ranscendence , h i s d e s i r e s , l i k e Emma's are t r u l y m e t a p h y s i c a l i n t h a t they are aimed at the at ta inment of a mode of b e i n g t h a t t ranscends the f i r i i t e n e s s of p h y s i c a l e x i s t e n c e . John G a b r i e l Borkman does not seek i m m o r t a l i t y through an ob jec t t h a t seems t o c o n t a i n the promise o f t ranscendence or escape from the w o r l d . On the c o n t r a r y , he desp ises a l l e t h e r e a l i d e a l s , and t u r n s h i s a t t e n t i o n t o the hard r e a l i t y of forms i n t h i s w o r l d t h a t seem t o be i n v u l n e r a b l e t o t ime and b i o l o g i c a l p r o c e s s . H i s d e s i r e f o r power over other human beings i s the outward m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f h i s d e s i r e t o command the f o r c e s t h a t are t a k i n g him i n e v i t a b l y towards death . He hates e v e r y t h i n g t h a t would serve t o remind him of the dynamic processes t h a t d e f i n e our sub jugat ion t o b i o l o g i c a l l a w s . He hates " s o f t n e s s " i n any f o r m , and hopes to " f r e e z e " t ime i t s e l f by becoming l i k e the rocks and meta l t h a t he c la ims t o love so much. John G a b r i e l Borkman e x e m p l i f i e s i n many ways the - 81 -c l e a r e s t and most p r i m i t i v e e x p r e s s i o n of the wish t h a t l i e s at the hear t of the d e s i r e f o r i m m o r t a l i t y : he wants t o l i v e f o r e v e r , not i n some a b s t r a c t heaven, but i n t h i s w o r l d . Yet the f e a r of death t h a t f o r c e s Borkman i n t o h i s desperate search f o r i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y t o l i f e i s so severe t h a t he can never a l l o w i t t o become c o n s c i o u s , and h i s l i f e becomes a. f u t i l e enactment of a search f o r an i m p o s s i b l e o b j e c t . I t w i l l be ev ident t o the reader t h a t the approach I have used i n t h i s t h e s i s i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l , even p s y c h o a n a l y t i c . Yet a l though the consc ious/unconsc ious r e l a t i o n s h i p I employ owes much t o the F reud ian model , i t w i l l be seen t h a t I have r e p l a c e d the sexua l complex w i t h the f e a r of death as the most important f a c t o r i n the e v o l u t i o n of the p e r s o n a l i t i e s o f the c h a r a c t e r s I have s t u d i e d . 1 S e v e r a l c r i t i c s who have s t u d i e d the theme of death i n western c u l t u r e 2 have u t i l i s e d the i d e a of the F reud ian "death w i s h " and have a s s o c i a t e d death w i t h s e n s u a l i t y as an unconscious d e s i r e t h a t s t r i v e s f o r f u l f i l m e n t . Th is t h e s i s f l a t l y r e j e c t s the n o t i o n of the death impulse as a b a s i c component o f the human psyche , and even views the F reud ian concept of the death w ish as a p s y c h o l o g i c a l evas ion of the negat ion t h a t death t r u l y i s . By i m a g i n i n g ' d e a t h t o be a f u l f i l m e n t o f an i n n e r need, Freud attempted t o defuse the h o r r o r of death by t u r n i n g a " n o t h i n g " i n t o a "something" . T h i s attempt i s not d i s s i m i l a r t o the t r a d i t i o n a l r e l i g i o u s formulas which mere ly c o n s i d e r death as a p a s s i n g i n t o a h igher s t a t e o f b e i n g . F reud c la imed t h a t there was no more h o r r i f y i n g prospect f o r the i n d i v i d u a l than t o b r i n g - 82 -to consc iousness the hidden thought t h a t he d e s i r e d t o k i l l h i s f a t h e r and marry h i s mother. Death , Freud t h o u g h t , would he p r e f e r a b l e t o hav ing t o make, such an a d m i s s i o n . A g a i n , by imag in ing something more t e r r i b l e than the a n n i h i l a t i o n of o u r s e l v e s , F reud managed t o . d i m i n i s h the f e a r of death as a fo rmat i ve i n f l u e n c e i n human p e r s o n a l i t y . The c h a r a c t e r s i n the t h r e e works we have examined are not d r i v e n by a d e s i r e t o f u l f i l an inherent "death i m p u l s e " , but are seek ing a form of l i b e r a t i o n from m o r t a l i t y t h a t i s c o n d i t i o n e d by an unconscious f e a r of death . Emma's s u i c i d e and John G a b r i e l Borkman's death are the r e s u l t s of attempts t o deny the f i n a l i t y of human e x i s t e n c e . Emma never l o s e s the idea t h a t she may a t t a i n the heavenly p a r a d i s e a f t e r her dreams of f i n d i n g a h e a v e n - o n - e a r t h have c o l l a p s e d , and Borkman d i e s as a d i r e c t consequence o f h i s t r y i n g t o demonstrate t h a t he i s i n v u l n e r a b l e t o n a t u r a l f o r c e s . The Romantic n o s t a l g i a f o r the i n f i n i t e i s not an e x p r e s s i o n of a F reud ian death w i s h , but i s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f a h a t r e d of the c o n d i t i o n s o f t e m p o r a l i t y , s p e c i f i c i t y and b i o l o g i c a l process t h a t de f ine the human c o n d i t i o n . The u n d e r l y i n g cause of t h i s a n t i p a t h y towards the f a c t s o f human l i f e i s the f e a r of death . Not o n l y do these c h a r a c t e r s not want t o d i e , but they d i r e c t a l l of t h e i r energ ies towards the at ta inment o f an ob jec t which seems t o have the power o f c o n f e r r i n g the g i f t o f i m m o r t a l i t y upon them. - 83 -FOOTNOTES I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 J u l e s de G a u l t i e r , Le bovarysme ( P a r i s : S o c i e t e du Mercure de F r a n c e , 1902) . 2 I b i d . , p. 32. Madame Bovary 1 Gustave F l a u b e r t , Correspondances v o l . 2 ( P a r i s : L o u i s Conard , 1926), p. 145. 2 Gustave F l a u b e r t , Madame Bovary ( P a r i s : G a r n i e r - F l a m m a r i o n , 1966). •3 Correspondances, p. 162. ^ Char les B a u d e l a i r e , Oeuvres completes ( P a r i s : B i b l i o t h e q u e de l a P l e i a d e , 196l), p. 654. ^ J e a n - P a u l S a r t r e , R e f l e x i o n s sur l a q u e s t i o n j u i v e ( P a r i s : P. M o r i h i e n , 1.9U7), P- 34. I n t e r c h a p t e r 1 1 G a u l t i e r , p. 23. Rene G i r a r d , Mensonge romantique e t v e r i t e romanesque ( P a r i s : G r a s s e t , 1967). 3 G a u l t i e r , p. 53. 4 .. ' . Ludwig Feurbach , Vor lesungen Uber das Wesen der R e l i g i o n , m Samt l i che Werke i n 13 v o l s . ( S t u t t g a r t - B a d Cannstat : Gunther Ho lzboog , i960 - 4), v o l . 8 F i i n f t e . ' V o r e s l a g , p. 43. ^ Ludwig Feurbach', Lec tu res on the Essence of R e l i g i o n , t r a n s . Ra lph Manheim (New York : Harper and Row, I967), p. 3^+T ^ Vdr lesuhgen , p. 43. •7 L e c t u r e s , p. 34. - 84 -N i e l s Lyhne 1 Jens Pete r Jacobsen , N i e l s Lyhne, i n Samlede S k r i f t e r av J . P . Jacobsen (Copenhagen: Gy ldendalske Boghandels F o r l a g , 1888) v o l . 2 pp. 1 - 268 ( a l l subsequent page numbers r e f e r r i n g t o t h i s book are i n c l u d e d i n parentheses a f t er t he quot at i on ) . 2 Jens P e t e r Jacobsen , N i e l s Lyhne, t r a n s . Hanna A s t r u p Larsen (New York: Twayne P u b l i s h e r s I n c . , 1 9 6 7 ) , p. 245. 3 I b i d . , p. 144 ( a l l subsequent page numbers r e f e r r i n g t o t h i s t r a n s l a t i o n are i n c l u d e d i n square b r a c k e t s i n the t e x t ) . 4 Georg Boandes, B r e w e k s l m g med Nord iske F o r f a t t e r e og Videnskabmaend (Copenhagen: Gy ldendalske Boghandel , 1940) v o l . 3 , p. 117-^ F r e d e r i c Durand, H i s t o i r e de l a l i t t e r a t u r e D a n o i s e , (Copenhagen: Gy ldendalske Boghandel , I 9 6 7 ) , p. 245. John G a b r i e l Borkman 1 Henr ik Ibsen., John G a b r i e l Borkman i n Ibsen : Nut idsdramaer 1 8 8 7 - 9 9 (Os lo : Gy ldendal Norsk F o r l a g , 1 9 6 8 ) ( a l l page numbers r e f e r r i n g t o t h i s book are i n c l u d e d i n parentheses a f t e r the q u o t a t i o n . ) Henr ik I b s e n , John G a b r i e l Borkman i n . Ibsen : The Master B u i l d e r and  Other P l a y s , t r a n s . Una E l l i s - F e r m o r (London: Penguin Books , 1 9 6 5 ) . ( A l l page numbers r e f e r r i n g t o t h i s book are i n c l u d e d i n square b r a c k e t s a f t e r the q u o t a t i o n . ) Conc lus ion 1 n o t a b l y : Norman 0 . Brown, L i f e Aga ins t Death (New York : V in tage P r e s s , 1959) Georges B a t a i l l e , Death and S e n s u a l i t y (New York : Wa lke r , I 9 6 2 ) 2 see: Sigmund F r e u d , Beyond The P l e a s u r e P r i n c i p l e t r a n s , and ed . James St rachey (New York: L i v e r i g h t P u b l i s h e r s , 1 9 6 1 ) . 3 c f . E rnes t B e c k e r , The D e n i a l of Death (New York : M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 7 3 ) . - 85 -BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. On Death and I m m o r t a l i t y : B a t a i l l e , Georges. Death and S e n s u a l i t y . New York : W a l k e r , I962. Becker , E r n e s t . The D e n i a l o f Death. New York : The Free P r e s s , 1973. Brown, Norman 0. 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