In the Fogg Lecture Room yesterday afternoon Dr. Schofield gave a critical analysis of Ibsen's dramatic poem, "Peer Gynt," with an explanation of the themes which Grieg used in his "Peer Gynt Suite." He said in part:
Primarily, the work is a satire upon Norwegian character, bringing out its lack of personality and vacillating half-heartedness, but the poet went beyond the limits of his original conception, and gave to the world the picture of a misguided human soul, in which people of every nation may see themselves more or less prefigured.
Peer Gynt, an indolent, boastful Norwegian, indulged in youth by his mother, Aasse, leads a wild, roistering life. The element of irresponsibility and self-satisfaction in his character dominates the entire plot. Compelled to flee from the scene of his wild career, he takes refuges with the mountain trolls, but fearing to commit himself forever to their fantastic life, returns to his own people. From them his failings cause him to be exiled. He returns, however, in time to witness the death of his mother, after which he starts on a romantic quest after authority and empire. Next, Peer Gynt appears as a fabulously rich merchant prince, and his wanderings in several climes are portrayed, but his worldly life is not sufficient to blot out the old Peer Gynt. Finally, he returns to Norway, unsatisfied, and restless, to seek the love of his youth. Here the consciousness of his ill-spent life is strong upon him, and his state of mind is portrayed in some wonderful passages, in which Peer Gynt is claimed by Buttonmoulder, the symbolization of evil, but is redeemed in the end by the constancy of woman's love.
To this closing scene, Grieg has written the accompaniment, "Morgenstimmung," "Anitras Tanz," another of the "Peer Gynt Suite" represents the dance of a bewitching Arabian girl whom Peer sees in the course of his wanderings, "Aases Tod" is the scene at the death-bed of Peer's mother.