SUMMARY: A small coastal town in Norway. A respectable family hiding scandals. Long lost relatives who come from America disturb the peace of “decent” people. Progress is threatening to shatter the secluded society.
This is a play about double morality of the people who are supposed to be an example for everybody else because they are the “the pillars of society.”
What I liked: Ibsen’s course of events flows very naturally, and the characters are transparently and multi-dimensionally outlined. The ending is surprising and cathartic for the characters as well as for the reader, and it made me smile contentedly.
What I disliked: The false glorification of some people who are thought to be better than other people and the whole double-standard rules limiting an individual’s happiness. Also, I was bothered by people who thought they knew what was best for other people.
Generally, this is a great illustration about a hypocritical society, the people who appear to be something they are not, and the people who want to dictate other people’s lives. The play clearly expresses Ibsen’s criticism of such society, and presents his opinion on how things should be, especially with the ending.
RECOMMENDATION: This is a short, but compelling read about society’s double standards. I think everyone who wants to read a socially critical book with a cathartic ending would like The Pillars of Society.