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The last words of Henrik Ibsen

The last words of Henrik Ibsen

The Norwegian playwright, poet and theatre director Henrik Ibsen (1828 - 1906) is considered to be the founder of modernist drama.

He final words, spoken when he heard his nurse tell a visitor that he was feeling a little better, were:

On the contrary!

Source: Ibsen, A Biography, Michael Meyer, 1971.

Background to Henrik Ibsen's last words

Henrik Johan Ibsen was born in Skien in 1826. He is ranked as one of the truly great playwrights in the European tradition and one of the best known Norwegians of any discipline. His plays include Peer Gynt, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts and The Master Builder.

He influenced other playwrights and novelists such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller, James Joyce, and Eugene O'Neill.

He was born into a merchant family based in Skien and many of his dramas draw on his family background. Ibsen detested privilege and state authority and was particularly curmudgeonly in his dealings with those he disliked.

He had a stroke in 1900 and spent the last few years of his life bedridden. He was ordered by his doctors to abandon all mental effort and declined into depression and mental illness. He died in Christiania in 1906.