A Doll House/ A Doll’s House • Author: Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) • written in 1879 • Takes place in Norway during the Victorian Era • The public found the play “unacceptable”
Overview of the story • This is the story of Nora Helmer, an upper middle class woman, who is married with three children. Her husband, Torvald, has just gotten a job as bank manager that will start after Christmas.
As was typical Nora does not work and stays at home. The Helmers have a maid (Helene), and a nanny, Anne-Marie, who cares for the three children.
Dr. Rank is a good friend of Torvald’s who visits the Helmers daily. • He is suffering from a fatal disease, but is keeping the severity of the disease from the Helmers.
As the play opens… • It is just before Christmas and all seems well in the Helmer household. • An old friend of Nora’s, Kristine Linde, appears at her door. • It is soon revealed that Nora has a big secret she has been keeping from her husband, but she believes the secret will disappear after Christmas.
But then… • As in keeping with a tragedy, things do not go as planned and her situation goes from bad to worse. • Nora (like other main character’s of tragedies) is a tragic heroine and she has a tragic flaw.
Problem Plays • Serious dramas in which society’s expectations created problems in people’s lives and were presented on stage realistically and in detail • Ibsen play does not include a “neat” ending which left people debating the choices made by characters and what the “correct” ending should be.
Modern Realistic Prose Drama • Reflects ordinary language; written in prose not verse • Depicts characters and situations as they really are 3. Addresses controversial issues and society’s assumptions
Henrik Ibsen • … was the creator of the Modern Realistic Prose Drama • … used theatre as a way to give social commentary on socially unacceptable issues • … father went bankrupt and family was socially rejected • … also went bankrupt early in his career
Major Conflicts • Nora vs. self • Nora vs. Torvald
Major Topics • The role of women • Families & parenthood • Truth vs. deception • Appearances vs. reality