Reviving Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House

Categories: Realism

Henrik Ibsen wrote the script of the play “A Doll’s House” in 1879 and was first performed shortly later that year in Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark. The three-act play depicts and criticizes the typical role of men and women nineteenth century marriage. The play was inspired by a real-life story. The production consists of three acts with total time duration of 2 hours and 24 minutes. The production in this report is performed by the Young Vic production. The play was captured live at the Young Vic theatre in London, on 17th and 18th July 2012.

Carrie Cracknel directed it. Characters

Nora Helmer
Nora Helmer is the wife of Torvalds and the mother of three children. She moved to the city from her local town where she and Kristine grew up, to marry Torvald. Nora is a doll to Torvald. Nora is the Central protagonist of the story and a great thinker (“Hasn’t a daughter the right to protect her dying father from worry and anxiety? Hasn’t a wife the right to save her husband’s life?”).

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Nora to the audience is a symbol of social change occurring the nineteenth century and an iconic figure in the European theatre. Torvald Helmer

Torvald Helmer is Nora’s Husband and father of three children. He suffocates but confesses to be charmed of his wife and treats her like a possession of his. Torvald works as a banker and a lawyer but has been recently promoted to manger of the bank. Torvald represent the unflinching power of the organization, the control of a capitalist patriarchy and social stasis in the nineteenth century.

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Torvald is seen to the audience as a puppet and a Façade of a man. Nils Krogstad

Nil Krogstad is a single father who is in depression, is an employee at the bank where Torvald had been recently promoted to manager. Nil has a reputation for ethical weakness as he was involved in a suspicious scandal in the past which he forged a signature similar to what Nora did to Save her husbands health. Risking social disgrace for his family, he blackmails Nora to persuade Torvald to let him keep his job. Nil was a long lost lover of Kristine Linde and is willing compromise his honor for her love Dr. Rank

Dr. Rank is a family friend (and a secret lover to Nora) to the Helmers whom visits everyday. He is a doctor by profession but does not visit in a medical capacity. Dr. Rank is dying from tuberculosis of the spine whom he received the disease from his father dues to sexual promiscuity. During the play, Dr. Rank use’s languages that are suggesting morality and capitalism are the most hardwearing forces in the Planet of the play that symbolizes in the body, as if they can be ingested. Kristine Linde

Kristine Linde is an old school friend of Nora. Unlike Nora, Kristine was Poor and unemployed; She came to the city seeking for a job. Kristine had a horrible History in the town where Nora and her grew up. Due to her mother illness and her younger brothers, Kristine was forced to marry a wealthy man whom she did not love, in order to support her mother and younger brothers. Kristine was in love with Nil Krogstad. Kristine was the force of truth in Nora’s Life; She would try and try to encourage Nora to speak to Torvald about the loan, Time and time again. During the play Kristine fits into the protestant idea that integrity comes from suffering and is related to her hard work and harsh reality of the world. By the end of the play the position in which Nora and Kristine had from the beginning swaps with each other, Now Kristine is the one who is gonna marry Nil Krogstad and is employed whilst Nora is alone and unemployed, this shows that Kristine had been rewarded for her reasonableness and Labor The Nurse (Anna – Maria)

Anna Maria was a nurse to Nora when she was a child and Now She Nurses Nora’s Children Anna Maria is like Kristine, she is an example of someone forced to be aggressively realistic because society was not kind to her She Had a child out of matrimony and the dad of the child never offered any money to help support the baby. Subsequently Anna Maria had to send the youngster away when she was presented a job watching after young Nora Anna Maria Was forced to limit the natural instinct of parenthood for the sake of her own survival At the end of the play when Nora leaves, She also leave the children in the care of the nurse which offers the nurse three children of her own. Relationship

Wealth was very important aspect sociologically in the nineteenth century; it determined whether you were in the upper, middle or lower class. In the play Money play an important part for mainly the Helmers. Torvald is the support of civilization since he works in a bank. Though Money seems to lend him a social lawfulness. It was Ibsen’s idea to set the play in Christmas since it allows the examination of sloppiness of wealth. Morality

Morality played an enormous part is the play, it showed the behavior for each of the character for example “ Nora’s Mistake is complicated in that it may be socially reprehensible but it is morally good. She loves her husband and did the best for him and yet this act id deemed illegal”. That paragraphed showed Nora did that ‘Mistake’ for her husband, which shows and proves how much she loves him. Feminism

A doll’s House is often considered a feminist play because of Nora’s defense of her uniqueness against the inflexible public roles of ‘wife’ and ‘mother’. Nevertheless Ibsen rejected to be called a feminist. The Law

Ibsen indicates that the legal system of his day was particularly masculine. He said in his notes for the play that the background to the drama was “a completely masculine society with laws written by men and with prosecutors and judges who regard feminine management from a macho (Men) point of view “ Act # 1

The first act stated by showing a lady, Nora Helmer, entering the house with plenty of gifts for the children and a Christmas tree. The scene explains how thoughtful the wife is and How Happiness runs in the family. After paying the porter and eating some chocolates, Nora calls Torvald Helmer to the front room to show him what she had bought, hiding the chocolates in the process. Torvald asked Nora after their small conversation if she had been eating candies and Nora lies by saying no. In this Scene, Wife was thoughtful enough to pay the porter and told him to keep the changes, shows how thoughtful the wife is Ms. Linde, an old school friend of Nora, arrives unexpected, Linde tells Nora about how hard her life has been in which she was forced to marry a wealthy man just for his money so that she can take care of her mother and brother, After her mother had passed away and her brother have left the house, She had to move to the city to find work.

Nora happily agrees when Ms. Linde ask if Nora might ask Torvald to give her a job at the bank. Nora tells Ms. Linde that Torvald and Nora went to Italy for a whole year to secure the health since Torvald was ill and that it wasn’t her father who gave them the money, it was a moneylender who Nora borrowed from without letting her husband know about it. This scene shows that the wife is actually untrustworthy and irresponsible behind the husband back. Nora is home unaccompanied with her children. While she was cooperating with her youngsters, Krogstad returns and we realize that Krogstad is the moneylender for Helmers trip. Krogstad extortions and intimidate Nora that if he doesn’t have his job protected, he will articulate Torvald everything. Krogstad also disclose Nora that not only will he articulate Torvald that she plagiarized money from him but that she also sham her fathers monogram which is a scandalous misdemeanor. Nora suddenly agitated so she issue the law – “Hasn’t a wife the right to save her husband’s life “

Helmer returns home and question if Krogstad had been here, Nora Lies and answers no, after some persuading, Nora expresses Helmer that Krogstad desires his job protected at the bank. Helmer declines to support. Nora dreads and beseeches Helmer; But Helmer talks Nora around how evil Krogstad is and how depressing Krogstad stood to duplicate a monogram. Helmer advises Nora of the terrible consequences of such action – with no impression, that Nora has done the exact same crime. Helmer: Just think how a guilty man like that must have to lie and cheat and play the hypocrite with everyone. How he must wear a mask even those nearest and dearest to him – yes, even his own wife and children. Nora couldn’t communicate Helmer, what she had committed. Helmer proceeds to his job leaving Nora in a sightless terror, declining to see her children. Act # 2

In act 2, Kristine arrives to help mend the dress for the dress-up celebration that Torvald and Nora are attending the next day. When Torvald returns, Nora beseeches him to reestablish Krogstad, stating she is anxious that Krogstad will distribute defamatory qualifications about Torvald and wreck his profession. Torvald discharge her worries and enlightens that though Krogstad is a decent employee and seems to have turned his existence around, He must be dismissed because he is not respectful enough to Torvald in façade all the former bank staffs. Torvald then retreats to his study room Dr. Rank arrives, Nora asks him for a favor but Ranks responds by revealing that he had entered the life-threatening stage of tuberculosis of the spine and the he has always been surreptitiously in love with Nora. Nora tries to deny the principal exposé and make well lit of it but more disturbed by his announcement of love towards her. She attempts awkwardly to communicate him that she isn’t in affection with him but friendship him. Act 3

Kristine expresses Krogstad that the only reason she married her husband was cause she had no additional resources to care her gruesome mother and youthful brothers, she has restored to proposal him her love again. She thinks that he would not have deformed to immoral performance if he had not been shattered by her rejection and been in horrible economic channels. Krogstad moved and presented to take in return his message to Torvald. Nevertheless, Kristine chooses that Torvald must distinguish the reality for the sake of his and Nora's matrimony. After dragging Nora home from the party, Torvald goes to check his mail, but is disturbed by Dr. Rank, who had shadowed them. Dr. Rank talks for a while; taking indirectly to Nora that
this is a final goodbye, as he is firm that his passing is close. When Dr. Rank leaves, Torvald goes to reclaims his letters. As he reads them, Nora hardens herself to take her life. Torvald challenges her with Krogstad message.

Angered, he states that he is now in Krogstad power, he must listen to Krogstad demands and keep silent about the whole issue. He scolds Nora, calling her “a dishonest and immoral woman”, telling her that she is “unfit to raise their children”. He also says that from “now on their marriage will be only a matter of appearances”. The maid enters, bringing the letter from Krogstad to Nora; Torvald requests to read the letter, snatching it from the maid. Torvald is relieved that he is saved. Torvald instantly splits Krogstad letters, takes back his unforgiving words to his wife and tells her that he excuses her. Nora realizes that Torvald is not the strong and courageous man she believed he was and that he loves him more than her. Nora tells Torvald that she is leaving him. She says “ has been treated like a doll to play with for my whole life, first by father and then by you”. Lighting

Lighting was dim through out the whole play to show the lighting inside the house. The only time it went pitch black was when they were going up and down the stair to the party.


It was incredible how the stage kept rotating and stopped whenever there was a scene in any of the rooms even though it was a proscenium stage, it looked intriguing. And how there was what looked like an in the beginning an illusion of stairs when there was a blackout but as the play moved I’ve found out that they actually used a set of stairs, which was incredible. Costume

The costume for both men and women show what class they would be in the nineteenth century. For example Nora’s dress, only middle or upper class can afford dresses like hers; Lower class would be for the maids, since they were wearing rags.

Updated: Mar 22, 2023
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Reviving Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. (2016, May 19). Retrieved from

Reviving Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House essay
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