Rosmersholm: The Lady from the Sea: Hedda Gabler

Rosmersholm: The Lady from the Sea: Hedda Gabler

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Rosmersholm: The Lady from the Sea: Hedda Gabler

Rosmersholm: The Lady from the Sea: Hedda Gabler

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Excerpt

Alone, among Ibsen's modern dramas, Rosmersholm has its origin in a definite set of political circumstances. It may assist the reader to grasp the situation if I sketch in a few words the history of the constitutional crisis which so exasperated party spirit in Norway during the ten or twelve years before this play was written.

The Norwegian constitution of 1814 gave the King of Norway and Sweden a suspensive veto on the enactments of the Norwegian Storthing or Parliament, but provided that a bill passed by three successive triennial Storthings should become law without the royal assent. This arrangement worked well enough until about 1870, when the Liberal party became alive to a flaw in the Constitution. The whole legislative and financial power was vested in the Storthing; but the Ministers had no seats in it and acknowledged no responsibility save to the King. Thus the overwhelming Liberal majority in the Storthing found itself baulked at every turn by a Conservative ministry, over which it had no effective control. In 1872, a Bill enacting that Ministers should sit in the Storthing was passed by 80 votes to 29, and was vetoed by the King. It was passed again and again by successive Storthings, the last time by 93 votes to 20; but now King Oscar came forward . . .

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