Henrik Ibsen Ghosts

Mrs. Alving: “What about me, then? Didn’t I marry a fallen man?”
Manders: “What do you mean a fallen man?”
Mrs. Alving: “Do you think that Alving was less touched by sin when he married me then Joanna was when she married Engstrand?”
(Ibsen 49 blue book)

This dialogue between Manders and Mrs. Alving comes at a pivotal point in the play in which the readers learn about Mr. Alving’s affair with Joanna. When both Manders and Mrs. Alving mention “fallen man”, they are describing a man that has fallen from his morals. Morals as in faithfulness to ones spouse and not practicing infidelity. The reader at this point has just been informed of Mr. Alving’s of extra-marital relationship with the Alving’s maid, Joanna. As a result, Mr. Alving has “fallen” off of his moral pedestal, polluting his marriage and morals. The result of his infidelity is Regina, and bestowing upon his son the disease of syphilis. To answer Mrs. Alving’s question stated in the dialogue, no she did not marry fallen man, but rather gained one as they continued in their marriage. Joanna was indeed touched with sin when she married Engstrand, due to the fact that she promised him a large sum of money and was already pregnant with another man’s child , this being Regina. She married him for the wrong reasons.   In this case we have examples of a fallen man, Mr. Alving, and a fallen woman in Joanna, assuming that both had a set of morals to begin with.