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A doll’s house by Henrik Ibsen


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A doll’s house by Henrik Ibsen

  1. 1. A Doll’s House By Henrik Ibsen
  2. 2. A Doll’s House Some Facts:
  3. 3. • Born to a middle-class family whose economic stability was threatened during his childhood, • Ibsen used A Doll’s House as one vehicle for questioning the importance—and the tyranny—of wealth. This play comes from Ibsen’s middle period, when his most radical ideas were presented. • Published in 1879 • Written originally in Norwegian (Et dukkehjem) • The play was highly controversial when first published since it is sharply critical of Victorian marriage norms.
  4. 4. Some things to look for in the play’s structure • The events are almost never told in the order in which they occurred. • The ordering of the telling of the incidents can be as important as the incidents themselves. • Events are often told from several perspectives so that some characters know certain facts before others do. • Ibsen’s surface events are straightforward and chronological.
  5. 5. • He uses his characters to reveal important info about earlier incidents • These revelations build tension in the play because some characters obtain info that others do not have, and that info changes the dynamics of the play.
  6. 6. The importance of exposition • This is background information that is revealed through the course of the play. • Exposition affects character development, relationships, or the progress of the plot. • In classical drama, a chorus or character gives an initial speech to orient the audience. • Ibsen was one of first playwrights to weave exposition into the play itself. • Effect is a gradual rise of tension in the conflict
  7. 7. Character development terminology • Protagonist—main character • Antagonist—opposes the main character • •Round characters—fully formed characters with an interior life • Flat characters--limited personalities and offer the audience little real interest. The role of a flat character is to participate in incidents that move the action forward or to behave in a predictable way that moves another character to change (Anna-Maria). Most flat characters are also static characters; they don’t change or grow over the course of the play.
  8. 8. • Dynamic character—the character grows or changes (often also a round character). • Stock characters--a stereotype, manifesting universal characteristics. A stock, flat, or static character is used as a foil for a more highly developed character.
  9. 9. Structure of A Doll’s House The “Well Made Play” • Tight plot: revolves around a missing element—letters, a lost or stolen document, or an absent person • Subplots related to the missing element adds tension. They often supply exposition.
  10. 10. Conflict in A Doll’s House • A Doll’s House combines a dominant external conflict with the internal conflict of one or more characters.
  11. 11. • A climax or scene of revelation is when the missing element is revealed. Often saves the hero from ruin or embarrassment. • A denouement, or closing scene, is where all earlier questions are explained. This follows very soon after the climax
  12. 12. Ibsen’s twist on the “Well Made Play” • Ibsen’s play was notable for exchanging the last act’s unraveling for a discussion. • Critics agree that, up until the last moments of the play, A Doll’s House could easily be just another modern drama broadcasting another comfortable lesson.
  13. 13. • However, when Nora tells Torvald that they must sit down and “discuss all this that has been happening between us”, the play diverges from the traditional form. • With this new technical feature, A Doll’s House became an international sensation and founded a new school of dramatic art—modern drama.
  14. 14. Major Themes • Roles and Relationships between Women and Men • Appearance vs. reality • Deception • The Individual vs. society • Money/materialism • Morality
  15. 15. List of characters • Nora Helmer – wife of Torvald, mother of three, living out the ideal of the 19th century wife, but leaves her family at the end of the play. • Torvald Helmer – Nora's husband, a newly promoted bank manager, suffocates but professes to be enamoured of his wife. • Dr. Rank – Rich family friend, who is secretly in love with Nora. He is terminally ill, and it is implied that his "tuberculosis of the spine" originates from a venereal disease contracted by his father. • Christine Linde – Nora's old school friend, widowed, seeking employment (named Kristine in the original Norwegian text). She was in a relationship with Krogstad prior to the play's setting. • Nils Krogstad – Employee at Torvald's bank, single father, pushed to desperation. A supposed scoundrel, he is revealed to be a long-lost lover of Kristine. • The Children – Nora and Torvald's children: Ivar, Bobby and Emmy. • Anne Marie – Nora's former nanny, now cares for the children. • Helene – The Helmers' maid. • The Porter – Delivers a Christmas Tree to the Helmer household at the beginning of the play.
  16. 16. Other things to notice • Not a lot of figurative language and imagery • Lots of visual symbolism • Use of monologues to reveal character’s world views • Situational Irony • Foreshadowing
  17. 17. Where is the “Wise Old Man”? • Ibsen’s realist drama disregarded the tradition of the older male moral figure. • Dr. Rank, the character who should serve this role, is far from a moral force; instead, he is sickly—rotting from a disease picked up from his father’s earlier sexual exploits—and his lasciviousness by openly coveting of Nora. • The choice to portray both Dr. Rank and the potentially matronly Mrs. Lindeas imperfect real people was a novel approach at the time.
  18. 18. The Feminist Message • The play rocked the stages of Europe when the play was premiered. • Nora’s rejection of marriage and motherhood scandalized contemporary audiences. • In fact, the first German productions of the play in the 1880s had an altered ending at the request of the producers.
  19. 19. • Ibsen referred to this version as a “barbaric outrage” to be used only in emergencies. • •Ibsen was reacting to the uncertain tempo of the time; Europe was being reshaped with revolutions. • The revolutionary spirit and the emergence of modernism influenced Ibsen's choice to focus on an unlikely hero—a housewife— in his attack on middle-class values.
  20. 20. • Quickly becoming the talk of parlors across Europe, the play succeeded in its attempt to provoke discussion. In fact, it is the numerous ways that the play can be read (and read it was—the printed version of A Doll’s House sold out even before it hit the stage) that make the play so interesting.
  21. 21. Thank you for Listening! 