Freudian Symbols in The Master Builder

The Master Builder, by Henrik Ibsen, is a drama about individualism, morality, and ego. But beneath those really equivocal descriptions lies a drama with symbols that clearly picture the corporate unconscious. Through a careful psychoanalytical review of the text, the relationship between the symbolism and the psychological subjects can be discovered as they interact throughout the drama.

Within a drama,  symbolism has a broader function as a sort of natural metaphor, or manner of comparing ( Neu 115 ) . A psychoanalytic unfavorable judgment will concentrate in the symbols within the drama and detect their hidden significances, because elements of the latent content are expressed non straight but symbolically in manifest content ( Erdelyi 152 ) .

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Solness, the primary character, is a successful but aging designer who uses others to carry through his ain selfish purposes. He demands regard and fright from all characters who interact with him. Even his old woodworking instructor refers to him as the head and garbages to do determinations without Solness consent ( Ibsen 13 ) . But, beneath the difficult outside, he wrestlings with inherent aptitudes and dark forces. And yet, he can non overcome the sexual compulsion that drives him through life; Solness is a nymphomaniac and can non manage his married woman’s sterility which consequences in the loss of their sexual relationship. In an attempt to  obtain sexual freedom, Solness destroys himself.

Hilda is besides a nymphomaniac. Because she went through adolescence without a female parent, she was unable to successfully decide an individuality struggle as a kid. This consequences in her inability to develop her ain gender individuality, and she can non, hence, make a relationship with Mrs. Solness, but turns to Halvard to carry through her sexual demands alternatively. While both of the antecedently mentioned word pictures may look, at first glimpse, to be rather unrealistic, the actuality of each of them is much more plausible after a close analysis of the Freudian symbols in the drama. Then, an accurate personality for each character may be obtained.

The first obvious symbol in the drama is the characters ageless mentions to  rooms.  Solness fears that the young person will non do room for him, and the room symbolizes the uterus – a topographic point where Solness can take safety from his ever-present desires and return to artlessness ( Ibsen 115 ) . He decidedly shouts,  do room – do room – do room! ( Ibsen 540 ) . And,  do room?is exactly what Mrs. Solness does. Offering Hilda cordial reception, she instantly becomes concerned with fixing a room for the kid. Again, Mrs. Solness is presented as the female parent and rapidly welcomes Hilda into her uterus and intends to care for the kid as a female parent would.

In contrast to Solness exclaiming,  There’s non that much room here,  ( Ibsen 157 ) Mrs. Solness provinces, There’s more than adequate room ( Ibsen 632 ) . In the same manner, Hilda is given the kids’s room and this symbolizes her function as Mrs. Solness? lost kid. Unfortunately, Hilda’s individuality issues prevent her from presuming the function Mrs. Solness needs and wants her to set about.

While, the room serves as a symbol of the uterus, the assorted entrywaies and issues function a similar map as they designate the entryway to the uterus – the womb. Solness frights youth will destruct the uterus he is seeking to make and calls,  someday young person will semen here, strike harding at the door ( Ibsen 542 ) . Then as if on cue, Hilda arrives. Bing the symbol of young person, she implores that he ( and his married woman )  open your door to the immature. Let them come in with you ( Ibsen 980 ) .

The symbol of a bird is used to portray the wild passion of Hilda. As the act of winging symbolizes the capableness to execute sexually, the bird epitomizes the sexual being. And, in the drama, Hilda is the character with the wild and wild animal appetency. When Solness asks her if she will return place, she tells him,  Wild birds ne’er like coops. Birds of quarry like runing best ( Ibsen 2212 ) .

But, the bird is non the lone emblem used to picture the intense sensualness in Hilda. When the reader gets the description of her, she is full of symbols the denote her personality:  She is of medium tallness, supple, and grammatical. Dressed in a sawed-off shirt, crewman blouse unfastened at the pharynx, and a small crewman chapeau. She has a backpack on the dorsum and a long alpenstock ( Ibsen 547 ) .

While the initial description is instead self-explanatory, the most interesting subdivision can be detected through the symbols used in the description. She carries with her a drawn-out stic which is an obvious phallic symbol, and serves to stand for her compulsion with the male genital organ. In add-on, her vesture is that of a crewmans which can easy be paralleled to H2O – the symbol for amnionic fluid. Indeed, this really calculated word picture of Hilda s gender can non be easy ignored.

The 3rd constituent of the personality is the self-importance. The self-importance is the portion that regulates between the demands of the Idaho and the bounds of the superego ( Berger 39 ) . The drama uses books to stand for the self-importance. Because books contain both morality and gender, they allow a reader to populate vicariously without covering with the reverberations of either. While the self-importance might hold redeemed Solness and Hilda, both refused to read the books. Hilda says,  I can t connect with them anymore.  And Solness agrees and provinces, s precisely the same for me ( Ibsen 1260 ) . Indeed, the Idaho has gained plenty strength to kill both the self-importance and the superego. The characters are rather doomed to accept the effects of their actions.

Noteworthy the effects which basically characterize the drama’s decision are besides really stereo-typical images of sex within Freudian doctrine. It is rather clear that a figure of objects are used to denote the genitalias symbolically in the concluding act. The mounting of stairss is most normally used to typify sexual intercourse. Therefore, Solness surmounts his deathly fright of mounting as he begins the acclivity to the top of the tower ( another antecedently discussed phallic symbol ) . While Mrs. Solness is afraid for her hubby and wants he would turn around and fall, Hilda decidedly encourages him to go on upward stating,  He’s mounting and mounting. Always higher. Always higher ( Ibsen 2650 )

And yet, the symbolism does non stop at that place; Solness decease is a portraiture of his failure to execute sexually. His inability to mount without falling typify his ability to obtain either satisfaction of salvation through sex. Alternatively, he plummets to his decease and Hilda is left gazing at the tower of possibilities. Without Solness, there could be no palace and her superego is refused fulfilment.

It is besides really necessary to observe the impact Freud’s symbols have on childs characters every bit good as the major 1s. Kaja is the one character with steady control over her ain individuality. She is unafraid in her gender; this can be portrayed by her profession as bookkeeper. Harmonizing to Freud,  arms and tools by and large stand for male genital organs, while stuffs ( things worked upon ) base for female genital organ? ( Sulloway 338 ) . Although Kaja uses a pencil ( male ) , she is a keeper of books ( female ) , and as a consequence, has created a really even balance for her gender. Unfortunately, even she can non defy the strength of the superego which is represented by old Solness.

Through a careful scrutiny of the symbols used in Henrik Ibsen’s The Maestro Builder, a really successful Freudian analysis of the drama and its word pictures can be revealed. Indeed, it becomes clear that the characters are driven by forces – sexual forces – quite out of their control, and it is the forces which finally destroy Solness life and Hilda’s opportunity for satisfaction.

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Freudian Symbols in The Master Builder. (2017, Jul 22). Retrieved from