Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson: Kongen [The King] (1229 words)

Kathryn Jane Rees (University of Cambridge)
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This play explores the issues of constitutional monarchy from the perspective of a king who is sympathetic to socialist notions, but who is surrounded by courtiers and officials that have vested interests in resisting republicanism. At first the king is something of a Prince Hal: he indulges in a life of pleasure seeking, hoping that he would be able to dull his sense of the sharp contrast between his position and his ideals. His conscience, however, forces him to consider positive action, planning to transform the monarchy into something more consonant with contemporary demands. Although in spirit and ambition he is a Henry V, he is thwarted by prejudice, ignorance and tragedy.

The play is a curious mixture of genres: it …

Rees, Kathryn Jane. "Kongen". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 September 2016
[, accessed 20 October 2018.]

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