Ghosts

Engstrand’s Hotel Symbol Analysis

Engstrand’s Hotel Symbol Icon

The hotel that Engstrand wants to open for sailors is an embodiment of the play’s theme that things aren’t always what they appear to be. Although Engstrand claims that his hotel would be a place for respectable captains and other lauded sailors to stay when they’re ashore, he nonetheless implies that the establishment would function as a brothel, as evidenced by his remark that there should be female employees at the hotel because the guests will want to have “fun” in the evenings. Despite Engstrand’s unseemly vision for the hotel, he still manages to convince Pastor Manders—a man who vehemently condemns all kinds of illicit behavior—to fund the endeavor. In fact, Manders even accepts that the hotel could someday be a “benefit to the town.” Manders’s naïve opinion of this morally questionable establishment represents the ways in which people (especially those who live in a society that values superficial appearances) often fail to see things for what they are, as Manders takes it for granted that Engstrand’s hotel will be an innocent and even helpful place. In turn, the hotel symbolizes how easy it is for people to dupe others simply by pretending to be one thing while behaving like something else altogether.

Engstrand’s Hotel Quotes in Ghosts

The Ghosts quotes below all refer to the symbol of Engstrand’s Hotel. 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:
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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:
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Engstrand’s Hotel Symbol Timeline in Ghosts

The timeline below shows where the symbol Engstrand’s Hotel appears in Ghosts. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Duty and Self-Sacrifice Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...deserted widower, aren’t I?” Going on, he tells her that he’s decided to open a hotel for sailors, but she quickly writes this idea off as yet another one of his... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
Engstrand insists that he has saved money to open a hotel for sailors, claiming that it would be an establishment with great class. He says that... (full context)
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...her station, but she also asks how much money her father has saved for the hotel. When he tells her, she asks if he ever thought about giving the money to... (full context)
Act Two
Reputation, Judgement, and Morality Theme Icon
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...he has about him. In response, Engstrand tells Manders about his idea to create a hotel for sailors, insisting that the establishment could help otherwise wayward men avoid temptation when they... (full context)
The Past, Inheritance, and Moving On Theme Icon
...has successfully blessed the building. He also says that he will help Engstrand with his hotel, adding that Regine should move in with her father to help with the business. Speaking... (full context)
Act Three
Wealth and Manipulation Theme Icon
...that would benefit the community, Engstrand asks the pastor to consider helping him start his hotel for sailors. At first, Manders hesitates, saying that he will have to think about the... (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 again. Engstrand then declares that the hotel will be... (full context)