This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of The Ghost Sonata by August Strindberg. The Ghost Sonata () by seminal Swedish. The Ghost Sonata (Swedish title: Spöksonaten) was written in and first performed the January 21st, at Strindberg’s Intimate Theater in Stockholm. For his final Strindberg staging, Bergman returns to The Ghost Sonata for the fourth time and the result is ‘more a farewell tale than an unmasking’.

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Press play to watch an introduction etrindberg director Rob Melrose. As the play opens, an eighty-year-old man in a wheelchair named Hummel overhears a thirsty Student named Arkenholz asking what appears to be thin air for a drink. Strindber Student is actually speaking to the ghost of a Milkmaid whom only he can see. The Student explains to the apparition that he is so disheveled because he had been saving the wounded from a collapsing building the night before.

Meanwhile, the ghost of the Milkmaid seems to have disappeared. The Student remembers that his late father was bankrupt and constantly blamed Hummel for his impoverished state.

After arguing over this point of contention, Hummel offers to make the Student prosperous and happy in return for doing Hummel a few favors.

Hummel tells the Student that he was once engaged to the white-haired woman who lives in the elegant house. The white-haired woman had a child with a man who is recently deceased — a daughter whom Hummel and the Student refer to as the woman in black.

Perhaps the most haunting member of the household is the Mummy, a once stunning but now deranged recluse who worships the statue of herself that is visible through the window. Hummel then asks the Student to become his son and heir to his fortune. The Student agrees just before he sees the ghost of the dead man walking outside the house. The Student takes him aside to learn more about his new boss, Hummel.


Johansson paints a rather sinister picture of Hummel, describing him as manipulative, destructive, and dominating. Johansson mentions that there is only one thing that Hummel fears, and the Student surmises that it is the Milkmaid. Hummel, surrounded by a group of beggars, calls on those assembled to hail and applaud the Student for his valiance the night before.

Suddenly, Hummel collapses when the Milkmaid reappears, visible only to Hummel and the Student. Terrified, he commands that Johansson get him away as fast as possible. Bengtsson reveals the chattering old woman who thinks she is a parrot hidden behind a secret door; she has disintegrated into a far cry from the statue that memorializes her youthful beauty.

She persistently asks whether someone named Jacob is there. Bengtsson also informs Johansson that the Girl is disturbed. Johansson hopes that the Student will realize that this seemingly idyllic house is actually quite frightening.

Unfortunately, the Student had already met and charmed both the Girl and the Colonel at the Opera. Hummel shows up uninvited to dinner at the eerie house, demanding that Bengtsson bring the Colonel to see him and that Johansson leave him alone.

The Ghost Sonata

While observing the statue of the woman, Hummel reveals that her name is Amalia and hears the old parrot-woman cackling behind the wall. Emerging from her hiding place, the sonatq Amaila creeps up behind Hummel and informs him that she is the same woman as the woman depicted in the statue, leaving Hummel very dismayed.

Suddenly speaking normally, she again asks for Jacob, and Hummel tells her that his name is Jacob. When Hummel declares that he has come to the house to seek revenge on the Colonel and to make contact with his daughter, Amalia predicts that he will die in the very room in which they stand behind a Japanese screen if he does not spare the Colonel.

The Ghost Sonata

Hummel wants his daughter, the Girl, to marry the Student, which is why he sent the Student to the opera. He then proves that everything the Colonel is proud of is a sham, from his title of Colonel to his claim that he is from a noble family. He also asserts that the Girl is his daughter, and that her suffering was instigated by the deplorable actions committed by the household.


Amalia then angrily stdindberg that Hummel is in fact more despicable than strinderg rest of them because of his penchant for revenge against such pitiable people. She calls Bengtsson forward, who recounts how Hummel once stole from another house for which he worked and murdered a girl — the ghost Milkmaid from the first scene — who had witnessed a crime he had committed.

Amalia orders him to strangle himself in the next room behind the Japanese screen. In the Hyacinth Room of the house, the Student explains the qualities of hyacinths that he loves to the Girl — qualities that she shares.

Theatre, Theatre – Productions – Ingmar Bergman

The Student wants to get engaged to the Girl, atrindberg she says that they must test each other. The Student sympathizes with her as she complains about her unhappy family. He offers to help her change her situation, but she insists that everything must stay the way it is. As she laments the menial chores she must complete, she wonders if life is worth living. The Student then describes a dinner party that his father once hosted, during which he alienated all of his guests and ended up in an insane asylum as a result.

There is something rotting here. The Girl begins to die, and Bengtsson brings the Japanese screen to cover her. The Student sings as the Girl perishes, ending with the following advice: