Henrik Ibsen Quotes

Henrik Ibsen Quote: A forest bird never longs for a cage.

A forest bird never longs for a cage.

Henrik Ibsen (The Master Builder)

Yes, Love shall win!

Henrik Ibsen (Love's Comedy, 1862)

Really to sin you have to be serious about it.

Henrik Ibsen (Peer Gynt, 1867)

I must make up my mind which is right – society or I.

Henrik Ibsen (A Doll's House, 1879)

When we dead awaken.... We see that we have never lived.

Henrik Ibsen (When We Dead Awaken)

A thousand words can't make the mark a single deed will leave.

Henrik Ibsen (Brand, 1866)

The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.

Henrik Ibsen (An Enemy of the People, 1883)

I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, just as you are.

Henrik Ibsen (A Doll's House, 1879)

The worst that a man can do to himself is to do injustice to others.

Henrik Ibsen (Letter to Magdalene Thoresen, 1867)

Many a man can save himself if he admits he's done wrong and takes his punishment.

Henrik Ibsen (A Doll's House, 1879)

That is the accursed thing about small surroundings - they make the soul small.

Henrik Ibsen (Letter to Magdalene Thoresen, 1867)

Henrik Ibsen Quote: A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be ...

A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.

Henrik Ibsen (An Enemy of the People, 1883)

You have never loved me. You have only thought it pleasant to be in love with me.

Henrik Ibsen (A Doll's House, 1879)

It is the very mark of the spirit of rebellion to crave for happiness in this life.

Henrik Ibsen (Ghost, 1881)

Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.

Henrik Ibsen (The Wild Duck)

If I cannot be myself in what I write, then the whole is nothing but lies and humbug.

Henrik Ibsen (Letter to Björnstjerne Björnson, 1865)

The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom — these are the pillars of society.

Henrik Ibsen (The Pillars of Society, 1877)

Cage an eagle and it will bite at the wires, be they of iron or of gold.

Henrik Ibsen (The Vikings of Helgeland, 1858)

Courage... oh yes! If only one had that... then life might be liveable, in spite of everything.

Henrik Ibsen (Hedda Gabbler, 1891)

Castles in the air - they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build too.

Henrik Ibsen (The Master Builder - Act III, 1892)

It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians.

Henrik Ibsen

Look into any man's heart you please, and you will always find, in every one, at least one black spot which he has to keep concealed.

Henrik Ibsen (The Pillars of Society, 1877)

I don't imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over.

Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen Quote:If I'm ever to reach any understanding of myself and the things around me, I must learn to stand alone. That's why I can't stay here with you any longer.

If I'm ever to reach any understanding of myself and the things around me, I must learn to stand alone. That's why I can't stay here with you any longer.

Henrik Ibsen (A Doll's House, 1879)

A political party--it's like a sausage grinder; it grinds all the heads up together into one mash, and then it turns them out, link by link, into fatheads and meatheads!

Henrik Ibsen (An Enemy of the People, 1883)

The great secret of power is never to will to do more than you can accomplish. The great secret of action and victory is to be capable of living your life without ideals. Such is the sum of the whole world's wisdom.

Henrik Ibsen

A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view.

Henrik Ibsen (From Ibsen's Workshop)

I'm afraid for all those who'll have the bread snatched from their mouths by these machines. What business has science and capitalism got, bringing all these new inventions into the works, before society has produced a generation educated up to using them!

Henrik Ibsen

Helmer: I would gladly work night and day for you. Nora- bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.
Nora: It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.

Henrik Ibsen (A Doll's House, 1879)

It is not for a care-free existence I am fighting, but for the possibility of devoting myself to the task which I believe and know has been laid upon me by God -- the work which seems to me more important and needful in Norway than any other, that of arousing the nation and leading it to think great thoughts.

Henrik Ibsen (Letter to King Charles, 1866)

The state must be abolished! In that revolution I will take part. Undermine the idea of the state; make willingness and spiritual kinship the only essentials in the case of a union -- and you have the beginning of a liberty that is of some value. The changing forms of government is mere toying with degrees -- a little more or a little less -- folly, the whole of it.

Henrik Ibsen (Letter to George Brandes, 1871)

I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts…it is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be as countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us.

Henrik Ibsen (Ghost, 1881)

He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic. No doubt the franchise, self-taxation, etc., are benefits — but to whom? To the citizen, not to the individual. Now, reason does not imperatively demand that the individual should be a citizen. Far from it. The State is the curse of the individual. With what is Prussia's political strength bought? With the absorption of the individual in the political and geographical idea. The waiter is the best soldier. And on the other hand, take the Jewish people, the aristocracy of the human race — how is it they have kept their place apart, their poetical halo, amid surroundings of coarse cruelty? By having no State to burden them. Had they remained in Palestine, they would long ago have lost their individuality in the process of their State's construction, like all other nations. Away with the State! I will take part in that revolution. Undermine the whole conception of a State, declare free choice and spiritual kinship to be the only all-important conditions of any union, and you will have the commencement of a liberty that is worth something. Changes in forms of government are pettifogging affairs — a degree less or a degree more, mere foolishness. The State has its root in time, and will ripe and rot in time. Greater things than it will fall — religion, for example. Neither moral conceptions nor art-forms have an eternity before them. How much are we really in duty bound to pin our faith to? Who will guarantee me that on Jupiter two and two do not make five?

Henrik Ibsen (Letter to George Brandes, 1871)

Henrik Ibsen Biography

Henrik Ibsen portrait

Born: 1828
Died: 1906

Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright and poet. He is best known for his many plays and is one of the most influential playwrights of all time, second only to Shakespeare.

Notable Works

Catiline (1850)
Brand (1865)
Peer Gynt (1867)
The Master Builder (1892)