Peer Gynt Author:Henrik Ibsen There are times in the history of literature where music composed in connection with a certain literary work becomes even better known that the work itself. How true is this in the case of "Peer Gynt," where the haunting melodies of Grieg are undoubtedly known to a larger audience than the dramatic work of Ibsen. And yet an acquaintance of the... more » music cannot help but be put to good use when one comes to read the play, for Grieg and Ibsen were both Norwegian, and of approximately the same age; incidental music for the play. It was through this music that Grieg became famous, and rightly so, for the music reflects to a remarkable degree the milieu and sentiments of Ibsen's play.
There are many dramatists who reveal themselves in one play and whose further efforts in this field are simply repetition and reiteration. Ibsen is far from being one of those. He posed far more questions than he answered; he seemed to undermine some of the very ideals he was fighting for. But Ibsen the dramatist does provide us with real insight into Ibsen the man. He was driven, even as the protagonists of his plays were driven, and if they did not always gain the answers they were seeking, they at least followed the urge toward self-realization, and made us fully aware of its triumphs and pitfalls.