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					    A Doll’s House*

       By Henrik Ibsen

*also translated as A Doll House
        The first “Modern Tragedy”


A Doll’s House was written in prose. It is widely
  considered a landmark in the development of what
  soon became a highly popular genre of theater—
  realism, which strives to portray life accurately
  and shuns idealized visions of it.
                          Realism
• Realism in the arts: the accurate, detailed depiction of nature
  or of contemporary life. Realism rejects imaginative
  idealization in favor of a close observation of outward
  appearances.
• Realists rejected the artificial nature of both Classicism and
  Romanticism and saw the necessity for reflecting this change
  in attitude in an effective work of art.
• They attempted to portray the lives, appearances, problems,
  customs, and mores (values) of the middle and lower classes,
  of the unexceptional, the ordinary, the humble, and the
  unadorned.
              Realism in Drama
• Attempts to create the appearance of life as it is
  actually experienced.
• Ennui- dissatisfaction resulting from lack of
  interest; boredom
                 Ibsen’s Realism
“The things that happen to his stage figures are things that
  happen to us. One consequence is that his plays are much
  more important to us than Shakespeare's. Another is that
  they are capable both of hurting us cruelly and of filling
  us with excited hopes of escape from idealistic tyrannies
  and with visions of more intense life in the future.”
George Bernard Shaw, The Quintessence of Ibsenism, 1913
              The Problem Play
• A drama that represents a social issue in order to
  awaken the audience to it.
• Henrik Ibsen wanted his play not to be a romantic
  plot, but to actually address a current issue he felt
  his audience must acknowledge.
      Victorian Era- Gender Roles
• Men were primarily bread winners.
• Women who did not work were considered to be
  of a higher social class.
• Middle class women cared for their children,
  planned and oversaw the preparation of meals,
  supervised servants, and attended to social
  responsibilities.
             Napoleonic Code
• Men were legally equal, but women were
  subordinate to their husband’s will.
• A woman could inherit property, but this right
  was taken over by her husband’s right to manage
  what the family owned, including the dowry given
  at marriage.
• A married woman could not freely spend the
  money she earned.
                 Nora Helmer
• Doll-wife- As you read, examine Nora’s role in
  her marriage.
• Examine how each character outside her marriage
  helps her to understand Nora’s position in her
  marriage and her ability to act.
• Nora “painfully” acquires human attributes by the
  end of play. What are they?

				
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