Henrik Ibsen (Norwegian pronunciation: ; 20 March 1828 – 23 May 1906) was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father" of modern drama and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre. His major works include Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of the People, Emperor and Galilean, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, The Wild Duck, and Rosmersholm.
Several of his plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when European theater was required to model strict mores of family life and propriety. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind many façades, revealing much that was disquieting to many contemporaries. It utilized a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. The poetic and cinematic play Peer Gynt, however, has strong surreal elements.
Ibsen is often ranked as one of the truly great playwrights in the European tradition. Richard Hornby describes him as "a profound poetic dramatist—the best since Shakespeare". He influenced other playwrights and novelists such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and Eugene O'Neill. Many critics consider him the greatest playwright since Shakespeare.