In a speech he made to the Norwegian Women’s Rights League in May 1898, Ibsen claimed that he had been ‘more of a poet and less of a social philosopher’ than people generally seemed inclined to believe. Such was the effectiveness with which he had submitted problems to debate in his plays during the late 1870s and the 1880s that people tended to forget that he was above all a poet of the theatre, a master craftsman who exploited in his work all the expressive possibilities of the theatre — movement, placing, setting, light and colour — to express his insight into human lives and destinies.
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