The individualist philosophy of this play — by the great nineteenth-century iconoclast and father of modern drama, Henrik Ibsen — makes it easy to like, but what makes it a great play? Leonard Peikoff’s analysis covers such issues as: the logical inevitability of the plot development; the essential role of the lesser characters; and Ibsen’s philosophy (though flawed) as essentially secular, rational and pro-selfishness. Peikoff concludes by observing the similarity between Ibsen’s pioneering use of modern settings, universal themes and heroic, self-determined characters, and Ayn Rand’s own Romantic Realist esthetic orientation.

Spoiler alert: The lesson assumes students have read the play.

Recommended translation: Eight Plays: Henrik Ibsen, trans. Eva Le Gallienne. Modern Library College Editions. McGraw-Hill, 1981.