“Doll’s House” by Ibsen Essay
“Doll’s House” by Ibsen
In all cultures it is easy to see the effects of change. Change can be a revolution, a new form of thought, or a new idea surfacing. No matter what these changes are, they often emerge from the minority. In several cases this results an uprising, turning the social system on end. Simple examples of this type of change can be seen in the French or American revolutions, and even in the hippie movement of the 1960’s. These changes depict how an idea shared only by a select few can snowball into the mindset of thousands.
Within A Doll’s House and An Enemy of the People, Henrick Ibsen shows his standpoint on the benefits of social change, and evolution within a people. (Downs 1950) The title of the play, A Doll’s House invites us to apply a metaphor to the play, to see what is going on in the Helmer household as somehow analogous to a child’s game featuring an artificial life of dolls manipulated by the doll master or mistress. (Bloom 1999) A Doll’s House presents a revolutionary change for Norway in the 1880’s.
During this time period women were seen as second or even third class citizens, and though numerically this is not true, a minority . Ibsen presents his character Nora as a plaything, sorely manipulated by the men in her life. The inferior role of Nora is extremely important to her character. Nora is oppressed by a variety of “tyrannical social conventions. ” Ibsen in his “A Doll’s House” depicts the role of women as subordinate in order to emphasize their role in society. Nora is oppressed by the manipulation from Torvald. Torvald has a very typical relationship with society.
He is a smug bank manager. With his job arrive many responsibilities. He often treats his wife as if she is one of these responsibilities. Torvald is very authoritative and puts his appearance, both social and physical, ahead of his wife that he supposedly loves. Torvald is a man that is worried about his reputation, and cares little about his wife’s feelings. (Bloom 1999) Ibsens’s play is a modern tragedy which functions on two levels, questioning the established social order of the day and presenting the death of a marriage.
Both these events create a great deal of tension, and combined with the language and actions used by the characters, make the play very intense. (Downs 1950) The main cause of dramatic tension throughout the play is the way that the difference between the real nature of the characters and the roles they are assigned by society is presented. This difference is demonstrated by the disparity in the action of the characters in comparison with their lexical choice. (Bloom 1999) A century and a quarter have passed since Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House scandalized respectable audiences and delighted independent thinkers.
A lot of progress has been made since then, especially in the area of women’s rights. But, as the old saying goes: “The more things change…” (Downs 1950) It’s not all that different nowadays after all, as any female who has hit her head on the glass ceiling might tell you. All of which makes Ibsen’s drama – one of the great classics of the stage at any time – incredibly relevant. Today the play is most certainly not as shocking as it was considered when it was released in it’s time purely because of the fact that today women are considered as equals.
It does bring up issues of the time however and shows us that it took people to speak out against traditionalist views to get to the situation we are in today. Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is a highly regarded play nowadays and has been studied and analysed all over the world. Ibsen was influenced by many things and I believe they all contributed to the making of A Doll’s House. I think Ibson had a strong personality and was certainly not afraid to voice his opinion. The fact that he travelled because he didn’t believe in his Country at the time was a bold choice and did a lot for his work I think.
Upon the whole, I liked reading the play A Doll’s House. In this play Ibsen portrays the bleak picture of a role held by women of all economic classes that is sacrificial. Of course, it’s more interesting to read a play, then a short story or even a poem. It’s the most fascinating play I’ve ever read before. (Downs 1950)
Bloom, H. (ed. ). Henrik Ibsen. Chelsea: Philadelphia House Publishers, 1999. Downs, Br. A Study of Six Plays by Ibsen. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1950.
Subject: A Doll House,
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 20 April 2017
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