The Lady from the Sea
The Lady from the Sea (Norwegian: Fruen fra havet) is a play written in 1888 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen inspired by the ballad Agnete og Havmanden. The drama is notable in the Ibsen corpus for introducing the portrayal of Hilde Wangel who is again portrayed in Ibsen’s later play The Master Builder. The character portrayal of Hilde Wangel has been portrayed twice in contemporary film as a culturally relevant portrayal, most recently in the 2014 film titled A Master Builder.
This symbolic play is centred on a lady called Ellida. She is the daughter of a lighthouse-keeper, and grew up where the fjord met the open sea; she loves the sea. She is married to Doctor Wangel, a doctor in a small town in West Norway (in the mountains). He has two daughters (Bolette and Hilde) by his previous wife, now deceased. He and Ellida have a son who dies as a baby, which puts a big strain on their marriage. Wangel, fearing for Ellida’s mental health, has invited up Arnholm, Bolette’s former tutor and now the headmaster of a school in hope that he can help Ellida. However, Arnholm thinks that it is Bolette waiting for him and he proposes. She agrees to marry her former teacher because she sees this as her only opportunity to get out into the world.
Some years earlier Ellida was deeply in love and engaged to a sailor, but because he murdered his captain he had to escape.