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A Doll's House
Transcript of A Doll's House
Henrik Ibsen was born on March 20, 1828 in Skien, Norway. He was exiled to Italy in 1862. In 1891 Ibsen moved to Germany where he wrote his most famous play,
A Dolls House.
In 1891 , Ibsen was able to return to Norway.
He grew u with two parents in a healthy marriage. He mainly took after his mother who was an artist and enjoyed to watch plays during her spare time. His childhood was one spent in poverty since his father's business had many issues.
At 15 Ibsen took on a job in apothecary for six years and during his spare time he would write poetry and paint. In 1851 Ole Bull liked Ibsen and offered him a writing job where he often traveled abroad.
He was happily married to Suzannah Daae Thorsen in 1858 and had one son named Sigurd. He did have one relationship with a maid and borne her a child. However he never saw said child and only assisted with child support.
Cultural & Historical Theory
This play was written during the Victorian time period and was greatly influenced by the beliefs and culture of that era. This play is also influenced by Ibsen's beliefs in human rights.
In Marxism the social structure and economic means. In "A Doll's House" Torvald acts as the bourgeois while Nora acts as the proletariat. Torvald holds power over Nora and controls the money in the family. Although Nora comes from money her revolt against her husband causes her to play the role of the proletariat.
A prominent theme displaying Marxism is money and greed. Each character is defined by money, whether it be the lack there of or the abundance.
HELMER: "Bought, did you say? All these things? Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?" Torvald is constantly accusing Nora of wasting money, however she is actually using the money to pay back her debt.
NORA: "Christine! It will be splendid to have heaps of money and not need to have any anxiety, won't it?"
MRS. LINDE: "Yes, anyhow I think it would be delightful to have what one needs." Nora is insensitive to the needs of those struggling to make ends meat, while she only pays the bare minimum back on her debt.
KROGSTAD: "Or perhaps that you have some expedient for raising the money soon?"
NORA: "No expedient that I mean to make use of." Nora chooses not to take money from Dr. Rank, who is in love with her, leaving her husband rather than take his money.
The intial situation begins when the characters are introduced and we believe that there is a happy marriage between the Helmer's and everying seems cheery. It is near Christmas holiday and Nora is as happy as a lark around her husband even when he seems to demeaning her by calling her names such as 'feather head' and 'wastrel'. Then Ms. Linde appears and explains about difficult times in life. That's when Nora reveals her difficulties at home. We begin to learn that not all is well in the Helmer Home.
Complication arises when Krogstand aprroaches Nora whilst alone in her house. We learn that Nora has borrowed a large sum of money from Krogstand and that he intends to blackmail her for a her husband's position in the bank. He drops a balckmail letter into the mailbox of which only Torvald has the key.
Climax arises and Nora grows desperate. Ms. Linde has an idea on how to assist Nora and so Ms. Linde asks her to stall time Nora begins to dance a crazy tarentella in order to diverge Trovald's attention from the mail. The ploy is succesful and Trovald does not check the mail that evening.
However Ms. Linde decides against helping Nora and tells Krogstad to leave the letter.
Suspense ensues when Nora returns home with Trovald and she allows him to open the black mail letter. Nora has little worries for she believes that 'the wonderful' will happen. What she means is that Trovald will attempt to do anything in his power to help her and protect her, but because they loved each other so she would not allow it and would kill herself for her husband.
With the denouement Trovald not only goes berserk about the blackmail letter, but he lashes out and spews out terrible things about his wife. Nora finally realizes that her husband wasn't the man she thought he was and that their marriage was a lie. She can hardly believe she thought of sacrificing herself for him when he was a stranger.
Trovald then recieves another letter from Krogstand in which he tells him that he has had a change of heart (Because of reuniting with Ms. Linde) and no longer plans to blackmail him. Trovald is overjoyed but Nora realizes that she can no longer stay. She relays this to Trovald telling him that she has always been his doll and not his wife.
The play concludes with Trovald in deep thought alone in the house. HE seems to have had an epiphany as he realizes what the most wonderful thing really is. However it is uncertain just as it is uncertain as to whether or not Nora and Trovald will reunite just as Ms. Linde and Krogstand have.
The play concludes with
Lilley, Kristen G. "A Marxist Reading of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House." Student Research Conference. Ed. Dr. Hena Ahmad. Truman's Celebration of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Achievement, 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://src.truman.edu/browse/display.asp?abs_id=2560&year=2010>.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "A Doll's House Analysis" Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Chandler, Noelle. ""A Doll House" by Henrik Ibsen: A Marxist and Feminist Analysis." HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov 2013. <http://noelle89.hubpages.com/hub/Marxist_and_Feminist_analysis_of_A_Doll_House>.
Joan Templeton, Ibsen's women, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 1ff.
Bray, Ashlin. "Teaching Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House from Multiple Critical Perspectives." . Prestwick House, Ink. Web. 11 Nov 2013. <http://www.tpet.com/media/productPDF/302240.pdf>.
"Ibsen’s Life." Shakespeare Theater. Gyldendal Collection, University Library, Oslo. Web. 11 Nov 2013. <http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/_pdf/first_folio/folio_enemy_about.pdf>.
The setting not only plays an important role but also exhibits symbolism within.
Victorian age: A Doll's House is set in the early 1800s.This was a time when women did not have a say.
Doll's House: symbolizes how a women should be perfect and serve their husband while taking care of the children.
Living room: It is the place where the play mainly takes occurs. The living room symbolizes the middle class family.
Christmas and New Years: The play is surrounded by the holidays. The holidays symbolize the rebirth of the characters such as Krogstad and Nora.
The feminist theory is first seen through the main character, Nora. As it is her duty first and foremost as a mother and wife, Nora plays the role of an everyday woman where they are not allowed a say. Nora defined by the nicknames Torvald gives her without saying her name, emphasizing how women had no true identity in society, but are rather shaped by their husband, or men of society.
Nora breaks away from the quiet role in Act 3 when she decides to leave Torvald and the kids.
NORA: "What do you consider my most sacred duties?"
HELMER: "[…] your duties to your husband and your children."
NORA: "I have other duties just as sacred. […] Duties to myself." (3.310-3.314) Nora is solidifying her individuality and voice as she becomes strong, determined, and defiant towards her husband.
Nora is considered Torvald's "doll-wife" by being a helpless, dimwitted fool who "wastes" her husband’s hard earned money.
Mrs. Linde is the complete opposite of Nora as she willingly plays the wife role.
MRS. LINDE: "What a difference! Someone to work for and live for--a home to bring comfort into." (3.84)
The psychoanalytical theory is present throughout the play from the very beginning. Torvald treats Nora like a father would a child, which plays into a strange rendition of the Oedipus complex. We hear her only mention her father which means they had a closer relationship then she would have had with her mother, which would have made their relationship fall into the Oedipus complex as well because the child becomes close with the parent of opposite gender and thus creates a jealousy or rivalry between the other parent. Our subconscious controls what we do and what we look for, and in "A Doll’s House" Nora subconsciously sought out someone like her father; she cared deeply for him but we come to realize it wasn’t the type of love that could support a marriage with the type of condescending nature of the relationship, because as a child we expect from our parents to do this or to very well treat us like children, but not in a marriage.
Its told that an authors work is their own subconscious projected into their work because whether it seems like it or not, it controls our motivations. Ibsen’s life was significant to this play because, "Ibsen's sympathy with women came from his understanding of their powerlessness, and his education began at home." His mother sacrificed herself for her children as well as her husband; she fit into the standard of women at that time and Ibsen’s sympathy reaches out to Nora and gives her qualities to stand up to this standard. From this we can see he portrays certain aspects of his relationship with his mother as Nora and her father. His father’s financial hardship would come to light as Krogstad and the effect it had on his family would be portrayed onto his sons, how society had diminished their view of them because of their father, and how he had to turn to a successful banker; while Krogstad tried to blackmail Nora into getting Torvald to help, his father gained help from his half brother.
Nora almost functions within her Id, which is part of Sigmund Freud’s structural model, its childish. We are born with our Id and this is the need that babies have to cry because we comfort them when they do and they get the satisfaction they seek from it. As we develop we grow into our ego which would help us control our Id by seeking realistic ways to get what we want rather than continually scream about it like a child. Nora seems to find her place within her ego that pleases Torvald in a way that she would have acted with her father, who she would have been with while this was developing. Our superego places what we learn throughout our lives by applying guidance and influence from people as well as the culture we’re surrounded by. Nora is able to see her place in society because of her superego and this makes her realize that she’s not happy with being within her place because of the way Torvald reacts when he finds out about how she borrowed money, something a woman of her standard should not do.
In the end she contradicts herself and her position because while she is not happy because of the lack of love from Torvald or her place in society, she sought it out and played along, which in her mind made sense. In relevance to Ibsen’s life he saw his mother play this role and wanted something more for her, so he gave Nora a voice to speak what his mother would not in her situation.
During Victorian times gender roles were very specific and very confining. Anyone who did not agree with these values was frowned upon during this time.
HELMER: "I should not be a man if this womanly helplessness did not just give you a double attractiveness in my eyes." (3.253)
Here we see how women during this time were seen as very helpless and men during this time liked women who could basically submit to the man unconditionally which is why Nora is portrayed very badly because dared to stand up to her husband and was not as helpless as he once thought.
NORA: "What do you consider my most sacred duties?"
HELMER: " your duties to your husband and your children."
NORA: "I have other duties just as sacred. Duties to myself." (3.310-3.314)
By allowing Nora to express a sense of independence Ibsen shows how he believes that anyone has the right to show some independence and contradicts what was commonly believed during the Victorian era. This creates a very controversial mood because during the Victorian era women should not talk to their husbands like that or act how Nora did because gender roles were very specific and constricted what people could (mostly women but men also).
For a While during his childhood Ibsen and his family lived in poverty because his father's business went through hard times. This is often expressed in this play through his references to money and how Nora wastes money.
Helmer: "There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt."(1.21)
This quote is a good example of how Henrik's past is expressed in this play through his description of debt.