In Reginald on Besetting Sins: The Woman who told the Truth, Saki writes:

[Reginald]: Children are given us to discourage our better emotions. That is why the stage, with all its efforts, can never be as artificial as life; even in an Ibsen drama one must reveal to the audience things that one would suppress before the children or servants.

Why does Reginald use an Ibsen Drama in particular as an example of a play where nothing is hidden from the audience?


1 Answer 1


(Originally posted as a comment on the question, and converted to an answer as it was suggested to do so.)

It's hard to be sure, but we can make a guess:

  • If you search the internet for the phrase “father of realism” and look through the first few results, you'll see they all refer to Ibsen — his plays (especially starting in the late 1870s) depicted topics that were not usually discussed at the time; so they were considered shocking and controversial.

  • Saki, in his typical way, is inverting this, insinuating that Ibsen's drama is trying to be artificial and failing at it, rather than the common understanding that it's trying to be real and succeeding.

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