A Doll’s House is one of the best plays of English Literature written by Henry Ibsen. He was known as a major Norwegian playwright of the late 19th century. His plays and dramas have been of Shakespeare. Most of his play is based on feminism. The present play A Doll’s House is a three-act play, which reflects the status of women in Norway at that time.
About the Author
Henrik Ibsen was born in 1828 in Skien, Norway. He grew up in a wealthy merchant family, but his father went bankrupt when he was eight years old. He moved to Grimstad at the age of 15, where he worked as an apprentice pharmacist and wrote his first play, Catilina, in 1849. He moved to Christiania (now Oslo) in 1850, where he became a theatre director and wrote several historical dramas.
Ibsen left Norway in 1864 and lived in Italy, Germany, and France for 27 years. He returned to Norway in 1891 and died in 1906. He is widely regarded as the father of modern drama and one of the greatest playwrights ever. Some of his other famous works include Peer Gynt, Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, Hedda Gabler, and The Master Builder.
A Doll’s House Summary
The play starts with Nora Helmer, a young woman who enters her house carrying a package. It is Christmas Eve, and a porter delivers a Christmas tree. Torvald Helmer Nora’s husband comes out of his study room when he hears her arrive. Torvald gets angry at her for spending too much. Torvald has recently been promoted to Bank manager, meaning they can have a more comfortable life. Mrs. Linde and Dr. Rank arrive, and Dr. Rank and Torvald meet to talk in his study room. Mrs. Linde who hasn’t seen Nora for eight years, tells her that she had an unhappy marriage and is now a window hoping to find a job.
Nora promises her that she will ask Torvald to give her a job. Nora then reveals a secret, she has been hiding. When she and Torvald were first married, she borrowed money to finance a trip to Italy that was necessary to save Torvald’s life as he had grown ill. She has paid off the debt in installments secretly taking jobs and saving money from her allowance from Torvald. Nils Krogstad an employee at the bank, arrives and talks to Torvald in Torvald’s study room.
Dr. Rank comes out to talk to Nora and says that Krogstad is morally corrupt. Torvald enters and after a brief conversation with Mrs. Linde, says he can give her a job at the bank. Torvald, Mrs. Linde Krogstad, and Dr. Rank exit, and Nora play happily with her children.
At that time Krogstad enters and wants to talk with Nora. He said that he is being fired by Torvald, and Nora must stop this happening or else Krogstad will tell everyone about her secret. Krogstad exists, and Torvald returns. Nora tries to persuade him not to fire Krogstad but is unable to.
On Christmas Day, Mrs. Linde arrives to help Nora. Mrs. Linde asks Nora why is she upset. But Nora refuses to tell her anything for the moment. Torvald enters and Nora tries again to convince him not to fire Krogstad. However the harder Nora tries, the angrier Torvald gets and he eventually decides to send Krogstad notice immediately. Krogstad puts a letter explaining the secret debt in Torvald’s letterbox and exists. Mrs. Linde returns and Nora explains the situation to her Mrs. Linde tells, Nora that she and Krogstad used to be in Love and asks that Nora distract Torvald while Mrs. Linde attempts to talk to Krogstad.
Mrs. Linde leaves and goes to meet Krogstad. It is revealed that the two of them once loved each other but their relationship ended when Mrs. Linde chose to marry a richer man because that was the only way to support her family. She tells Krogstad that they can get married now Krogstad is thrilled, and says he will demand his letter back before Torvald can read it. Mrs. Linde asks Krogstad to write a letter again in which you apologize to Nora for blackmailing her. When Torvald gets the first letter he calls Nora a hypocrite and a liar and complains she has ruined his happiness.
Torvald declares that she will not be allowed to raise their children Helene the maid of Nora once again brings a letter By Which Torvald comes to know that Krogstad is blackmailing Nora. After that Torvald starts apologizing for his deed. But by then Nora decided that she would no longer live in this house with Torvald. She declares that despite their eight years of marriage, they do not understand each other. Nora asserts she has treated her like a Doll to be played with and admired. After saying this, she walks out, slamming the door behind her.
The Significance of the play’s title A Doll’s House is that Nora is treated by Torvald like a doll. She is dressed as he prefers and she acts as he wants not as she wants. A Doll’s House is a play that explores the themes of individualism, freedom, identity, gender, marriage, and morality in the context of the Victorian era. It portrays the struggle of a woman who defies the norms of her society and asserts her right to be herself.
Play also criticizes the hypocrisy and oppression of the patriarchal system that denies women their dignity and autonomy. The play is considered a masterpiece of modern drama, as it challenges the conventions of the genre and introduces new techniques and topics. It is also a powerful and timeless work of art, as it resonates with the issues and questions that still face humanity today.
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