chapter  VIII
'Mankind Has Failed'
Pages 7

The law of retribution asserts itself in John Gabriel Borkman without any loopholes. The play shows certain minor gaps in technique, without losing however any of its poetic or dramatic power. One of its strong points is the conjured up atmosphere of life's winter, and of desolation which dominates the play from start to finish with Borkman as the central figure. The feeling of coldness, isolation and of an utter impasse in one permeates also Ibsen's last play, or the 'epilogue' as he calls it, When We Dead Awaken. Its hero, the sculptor Rubek is, however, nearer to Solness than to Borkman: in so far as he, too, realizes that mere artistic vocation which is not integrated with life, thrives at the expense of life; at the expense of happiness and joy. Like Solness, Rubek had once groped towards the realm of the third empire, the possibility of which he symbolized in his statue of the Resurrection Day.