Helene Alving is about to dedicate an orphanage she has built in the memory of her dead philandering husband to deplete her husband’s wealth so that their son, Oswald, might not inherit anything from him. She discovers that her son Oswald is suffering from syphilis that he inherited from his father.She also discovers that Oswald has fallen in love with Regina Engstrand, Mrs. Alving’s maid, which is a serious problem because Regina is revealed to be an illegitimate daughter of Captain Alving, and therefore Oswald is falling in love with his half-sister. When the sibling relationship is exposed, Regina leaves, and Oswald is in a state of despair and anguish. He asks his mother to help him die by an overdose of morphine in order to end his suffering from his disease, which could put him into a helpless vegetative state.Mrs. Alving has to confront this decision: whether or not to euthanize her son in accordance with his wishes.