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Study Guide


The Story | Artists | Context | Enrichment Activities

Pre-show Activities

What We Leave Behind

Students examine the concept of inheritance as it relates to Ghosts and their own lives.

Ibsen and Edvard Munch

Students research the work of Edvard Munch and his relation to the work of Ibsen.

The Reviews Are In

Students research the world of 19th century European morality and write a review of Ghosts from the viewpoint of a Victorian as well as in their own voice.

Post-show Activities

“I am obsessed by the presence of ghosts.”

Students explore how a piece of set design helps to convey the meaning of the play and the meaning in its title.

“The sun. The sun.”

Students examine the text and the production to find examples of where the theme of lightness and darkness are explored.


Students explore the dilemma faced by the character of Helene Alving and engage in a mock jury argument for and against euthanasia.

“Do you feel any better or happier for reading books of this kind?”

Selected Vocabulary from Ghosts

To The Educator:

Rather than using a ready-made glossary, it might be more effective to make the students responsible for defining the words below. You might simply have them look the words up; for a bit more fun, have each student “present” the word using an image, a vignette they write, or even a short film that they create.

manifold (adj.)      punctual      filial      wary      frailty      prodigal      fallible      contrite      astray      deceit      dormant      abominable      solemn      edification      benefactor      remorse      dissipation      hereditary      ghastly      imprudent

Selected Bibliography

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead, 1998. Print

Eyre, Richard. “In the Spirit of Ibsen.” The Guardian , 8 January 2015.

Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. Trans. James Strachey. New York: W. W. Norton, 1961. Print.

Goldman, Emma. "The Social Significance of the Modern Drama." (Emma Goldman). The Anarchist Library, n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.

"Henrik Ibsen Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2014.