chapter  X
The 'Insecurity of Conscience'
Pages 11

ROSMERSHOLM is a tragedy of over-sensitive conscience, depicted against the background of political passions and partystruggles as witnessed by Ibsen during his summer holidays in his native country in 1885. This was his second visit, since his departure in 1864, to Norway, and the internal political squabbles by which she was torn at the time left an unpleasant taste in his mouth-as though he had been watching a fight between 'two million cats and dogs'. Ibsen had never been an admirer of politics and politicians, partly because he was convinced that the methods used by them could not but contaminate the progressive democratic movement in Europe and turn it into a process of general plebeianization. This only made him wish the more fervently that an 'element of nobility should be introduced into our political life, our government, our representative bodies, and our press', as he put it in his talk to the workers at Trondheim on June 14th, 1885. 'I do not mean, of course, the nobility of birth, of money, of science, or even of gifts and talents, but the nobility of character, of will and thought.'