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    When We Dead Awaken Rubek monologue Essay

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    A monologue from the play by Henrik Ibsen


    RUBEK: When I first found you … I knew at once I would make use of you for my life’s work. You were what I required in every respect. I was young then–with no knowledge of the world–and I thought that The Resurrection would be most beautifully rendered as an innocent young woman, not yet corrupted by life, awakening to light and glory without having to put away from her anything ugly or impure. [Pause.] You have said that I cannot expect you to be the same woman I knew all those years ago. Well, I am not the man I once was either, Irene. In the years that followed your departure, I became schooled in the ways of the world. My vision of “The Resurrection Day” evolved–became more … complex. Your solitary, unsullied figure no longer expressed my conception, and I … I made modifications. I looked at the world around me … and I had no choice but to include what I saw. Women and men as I knew them in real life. At the base of the sculpture, I created fissures in the ground, and from this hell-mouth, there are now men and women with dimly-suggested animal faces, swarming up around the child, pulling her down as she tries to rise up into the heavens. I had to include myself, you see. I had to put a little bit of myself into the girl–that glorious figure who can’t quite free herself from this earth–who reaches with her hands for the heavens, for perfection, tortured by the knowledge that she will never attain her goal, never escape, that she will remain forever imprisoned in this … this hell! [Pause.] I am an artist, Irene. And try as I may, I shall never be anything else.

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