Ghosts

by

Henrik Ibsen

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Ghosts can help.
Regine is a maid who works in Mrs. Alving’s home. With grand aspirations to become a well-respected woman in society, Regine looks down on her father Engstrand because he is an alcoholic carpenter with barely any money or social status. With this attitude, she commits herself to working in Mrs. Alving’s house, believing that her association with the Alving family will give her a chance to attain upward mobility. She even takes an interest in Oswald Alving, hoping that he will someday whisk her away to Paris. However, when she learns that her mother, Johanna, was impregnated by Captain Alving, she realizes that she and Oswald are half-siblings and, as such, can never get married. Immediately upon hearing this, she decides to leave Mrs. Alving’s home, setting out to work at Engstrand’s new hotel for sailors—an establishment she originally scoffed at but now realizes is her only chance to meet an eligible husband and rise through the ranks of society.

Regine Quotes in Ghosts

The Ghosts quotes below are all either spoken by Regine or refer to Regine. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Ghosts published in 2008.
Act One Quotes

REGINE [after a short silence]. And what did you want with me in town?

ENGSTRAND. How can you ask what a father wants with his only child? I’m a lonely, deserted widower, aren’t I?

REGINE. Oh, don’t come that fiddle-faddle with me. What do you want me there for?

ENGSTRAND. Well, the thing is I’ve been thinking of going in for something new.

REGINE [sneers]. How many times haven’t I heard that one before! But you always made a mess of it.

Related Characters: Jacob Engstrand (speaker), Regine (speaker), Mrs. Helene Alving
Related Symbols: Engstrand’s Hotel
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

There has to be some women about the place, that’s clear. Because we’d want a bit of fun in the evenings, singing and dancing and that sort of thing. These are seafaring men, you’ve got to remember, roaming the high seas. [Comes closer.] Now don’t be such a fool as to stand in your own way, Regine. What can you do with yourself out here? Is it going to be any use to you, all this education the lady’s lavished on you? You’ll be looking after the children in the new Orphanage, they tell me. What sort of thing is that for a girl like you, eh? Are you all that keen on working yourself to death for the sake of a lot of dirty little brats?

Related Characters: Jacob Engstrand (speaker), Mrs. Helene Alving, Regine
Related Symbols: Engstrand’s Hotel
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

MRS. ALVING. Shortly afterwards I heard my husband come in, too. I heard him say something to her in a low voice. And then I heard. . . . [With a short laugh.] Oh, I can still hear it, so devastating and yet at the time so ludicrous…I heard my own maid whisper: ‘Let me go, Mr. Alving! Leave me alone!’

MANDERS. How unseemly! How indiscreet of him!

Related Characters: Mrs. Helene Alving (speaker), Pastor Manders (speaker), Regine, Captain Alving, Johanna
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act Two Quotes

Ghosts. When I heard Regine and Oswald in there, it was just like seeing ghosts. But then I’m inclined to think that we are all ghosts, Pastor Manders, every one of us. It’s not just what we inherit from our mothers and fathers that haunts us. It’s all kinds of old defunct theories, all sorts of old defunct beliefs, and things like that. It’s not that they actually live on in us; they are simply lodged there, and we cannot get rid of them. I’ve only to pick up a newspaper and I seem to see ghosts gliding between the lines. Over the whole country there must be ghosts, as numerous as the sands of the sea.

Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Ghosts LitChart as a printable PDF.
Ghosts.pdf.medium

Regine Character Timeline in Ghosts

The timeline below shows where the character Regine appears in Ghosts. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
As Regine goes about her duties one morning as a maid in Mrs. Helene Alving’s home, her... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Regine tries again to send her father away, but he refuses to leave, insisting that he... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...notes that Pastor Manders will be coming from town to oversee the orphanage’s opening, and Regine picks up on her father’s apparent desire to convince the pastor to do something for... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Engstrand calls Regine a “little bitch” and scolds her for disrespecting her own father. In response, Regine points... (full context)
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Regine asks Engstrand why he wants her to come back to town, and he says, “How... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...He says that it would be exclusively for captains and other high-ranking officials, and when Regine asks what she would do at this hotel, he says that she would simply help... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Engstrand tries to convince Regine to come with him by saying that she’s gaining nothing from her time with the... (full context)
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Seeing Pastor Manders approaching the house, Regine sends Engstrand away. As he goes, Engstrand tells her to ask Manders about what children... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Before Regine goes to get Mrs. Alving, Pastor Manders talks to her about Engstrand, saying that he’s... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Regine fetches Mrs. Alving, who enters and greets Pastor Manders. When Regine leaves, Mrs. Alving insists... (full context)
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
Pastor Manders tells Mrs. Alving that Engstrand wants Regine to come live with him, but she refuses to let the young woman go. In... (full context)
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
When Oswald returns from his walk, Regine enters and asks what he’d like to drink with dinner. Saying he’d like both red... (full context)
Act Two
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...continue their conversation. Mrs. Alving says that they have to find a way to remove Regine from the house to keep Oswald from pursuing a romantic relationship with his half-sister. However,... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
...is furious to hear that Engstrand has lied to him for so many years about Regine. He finds it detestable that Engstrand would agree to marry a “fallen woman” for the... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Mrs. Alving reiterates her feeling that hearing Oswald and Regine in the next room was like hearing the ghosts of her past. In response, Pastor... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...Alving and Pastor Manders begin to talk once more about what they should do with Regine, Engstrand enters and asks Manders to come bless the orphanage, which has just been completed.... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...trying to help a woman in need when he agreed to keep Johanna’s secret about Regine. As he tries to convince Pastor Manders that he did the right thing, it becomes... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...received to keep quiet about her pregnancy. Instead, he claims, he put the savings toward Regine’s education. Believing Engstrand, Manders shakes his hand and apologizes for doubting him, saying that he... (full context)
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
...home. Miserable, he asks his mother to get him something to drink, so she calls Regine and tells her to fetch champagne. As they open the bottle, Oswald asks if his... (full context)
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Oswald tells Regine to have a drink with him and Mrs. Alving. When she goes to get a... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Before Mrs. Alving can say anything more, Regine notices that a fire has broken out at the orphanage. The entire building is in... (full context)
Act Three
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mrs. Alving and Regine stand by the window looking at the orphanage, which has burned down. Mrs. Alving wonders... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Engstrand tells Regine to come with him to work in the hotel for sailors, but Regine refuses once... (full context)
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
...As she tries to soothe him, Mrs. Alving mentions that Oswald is ill. This alarms Regine, who asks what Mrs. Alving is talking about. Before she can answer, though, Oswald asks... (full context)
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
Oswald asks Regine to relax around him, asking why she doesn’t call him by his first name. In... (full context)
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Mrs. Alving also tells Oswald and Regine that Captain Alving is Regine’s true father. Upon hearing this, Regine immediately decides to leave,... (full context)
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
After Regine leaves, Mrs. Alving asks Oswald if he’s devastated by the news that his father was... (full context)
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
Now that Regine has left, Oswald says, he has to depend upon Mrs. Alving. Producing a small box... (full context)