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A Doll's House Interactive Oral
Transcript of A Doll's House Interactive Oral
Sarina Wan, Julia De Sterke, Katrina Wu, Cherry Liu, Adele Marwood, Christina Shin, Nicole Moore
I shall never see him again! never - never - Never!
and never see the children again either - never, never again!...
19th century Norway/Ibsen’s life
19th century women's roles
Social Status and Reputation
Similarities and differences between modern and 19th century
Industrialised Norwegian shipyards in the 19th century.
Battle for Copenhagen (1807)
Norwegian housewives in the 19th century.
Father and then husband were authority figures.
Shut out from public life unless accompanied by an authority figure.
Unheard of for women to be making public speeches
Did not find employment outside of household duties.
Raise children, cook, clean, and entertain.
Making decisions that will affect one's own personal life
Does not concern/affect society or government
Ethical standards upheld by society and government
Affects other members of society
In 1879 (when the play was first published), women were not legally allowed to borrow money without her husband or father’s consent
“There are two kinds of moral laws, two kinds of conscience, one in men and a quite different one in women… A woman cannot be herself in present day society, which is an exclusively male society with laws written by men.”
- Ibsen, in the introduction of the play
-Men, including Torvald, prioritised public morality over private morality
A Doll's House
, there are several conflicts between private and public morality
Nora's decision to commit forgery to save her husband out of love
Through a man’s eyes, despite having done it out of love, Nora has committed a crime
Torvald: "...a hypocrite, a liar... worse, worse... a criminal."
Krogstad to Nora: "The law's not interested in reasons."
Torvald: "No man can sacrifice his honour for the one he loves"
Women were treated as property; marriage was a transaction in which the authority of the father was transferred to the husband.
Marriages were treated as a duty in some cases; women usually married in their social class.
Nora: "Now tell me, is it really true that you didn't love your husband? What made you marry him, then?"
Mrs Linden: "My mother was still alive...bedridden and helpless...two young brothers to think of. I thought it my duty to accept him."
Nora practises the tarentella furiously to distract/entertain her husband.
"I lived by performing tricks for you, Torvald."
Lack of individualism
Women were defined by the people around them; they lived for others.
From being a daughter to a wife to a mother.
The expectation of being selfless meant that women often had to put others before them. (e.g. children, husband)
Their duties revolved around tending to others.
Being independent was very uncommon,
Henrik Ibsen was born on March 20th, 1828 in Skein, Norway.
His father owned several shops including a grocery store.
However, after a series of poor financial decisions, the family was severely in debt by the time Henrik was seven and moved to a small farm house.
It was said that Ibsen’s mother grew distant and dissatisfied with the marriage.
It is therefore no coincidence that the themes of debt, marriage, society, and independence play a prominent role in many of Henrik's plays
Inspiration for 'A Doll's House'
It was believed that the plot of a doll’s house was based on an event in Ibsen’s own life, with a good friend of his, Laura Kieler.
Much of what happened to Nora and Torvald in a Doll’s house happened to Laura and her husband, Victor.
In his book he makes up for what transpired with the character of Nora, who leaves Torvald in a position of choice and power despite the limitations that faced single women at the time
Turn of the Century
The idea that a woman might have something to do other than keep house and raise children was scandalous for the Victorian era
The revolutionary spirit and the emergence of modernism influenced Ibsen’s choice to focus on a housewife, in his attack on middle-class values.
Uncertainty towards a new era of social, political, economic, cultural, and scientific change.
Subjects of change such as women’s rights were volatile-unconventional
When Nora slams the door and steps into the unknown it resonates with the uncertainties of the time
Norway in the 19th Century
Nora: "...I passed from father's hands into yours. You arranged everything according to your taste; and I got the same tastes as you..."
Mrs Linden (to Krogstad): "I must have work or I can't bear to live...There is no happiness in working for one's self. Nils, give me somebody and something to work for."
- Realism was a theatrical movement originating in the late 19th century
- Conveyed human behaviour and social issues
- Scientific method was valued
- Used to emphasize the trials of life
- Charles Darwin impacted the realist movement
-Art was seen as a way to better mankind
Nora: "I shouldn't think of doing what you disapprove of."
“A room, comfortably and tastefully, but not expensively, furnished."
• Economic boom in Norway from foreign trade
• Economic status= Power (control) and respect
• Role as a husband is to provide financial stability for the family
• Desired to have 'bourgeois respectability'
How social class affects the expectations of women
After being freed from 40 years of Spanish rule in 1814, Norway was just beginning to shake off the legacy of Danish domination
Ibsen wished to draw attention to Norwegian culture.
Translation 'I have deliberately retained words and customs that help to underline the Norwegian setting and speaking'
He used a more colloquial language style to realistically emphasize a norwegian cultural influence on the play
His success as a playwright, especially with 'A Doll's House' was important for Norway
Anna and Ellen
Expected to work, typically in a domestic type of role, to support their own families.
Subservient to both male figures and employers.
Marriage was a duty, helping them support their families financially.
Expected to entertain and be presented Torvald's friends and events (e.g. ball).
Plays with children only when desired.
Work for her (if any) is considered to be simple and not physically draining. (e.g. sowing decorations)
"Your father's reputation as a public official was not above suspicion. Mine is.”
"Do you suppose I am going to make myself ridiculous before my whole staff, to let people think that I am a man to be swayed by all sorts of outside influence?"
Helmer family considered middle class
• Women were completely dependent on men
Is evading the truth justifiable?
Should Nora have left?
Should we live our lives based on rules or feelings/emotions?
Activity: Class Discussion
- Sweden invaded Norway- part of the Swedish Monarchy
- Set during Christmas a rather religious holiday- gloomy Christmas
- Role of sin
Is Torvald an antagonist? A misogynist? Or could he be just as much a victim of 19th century norms as Nora?
- 1854 women were given the right to inherit property
- allowed to have various and different jobs towards the 1860s
-Women joining the workforce- Mrs Linde/Christine
- Middle class
“A home that is founded on debts and borrowing can never be a place of freedom and beauty pg 25”
- Value of money
Activity: Group Discussions
How do Norway's politics relate to the play? Why is it important to consider?
- One of the first realist plays in Norway- emotional lives rather than action
- Plays used to focus on the higher class
- Naturalist play- reflecting Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution
- starts uses scenes from familiar everyday life
Conservative society- Victorian Era
- Very religious
- Society was ruled by aristocracy
- Patriarchal society
- Strict, but began to be more accepting, for example A Doll’s House
Ibsen- “A woman cannot be herself in modern society. It is an exclusively male society with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess female conduct from a male standpoint”
- Nora forges the documents for her husband -
genuine act of love throughout the whole play.
benefit of her husband
- Nora very much lives the domestic life of a woman
Should it be a woman's duty to be morally correct, according to society's standards?
Is it ever acceptable to break public morals?
- Many people in the audience did not think it was right for Nora to leave her family
- 1879- women were not allowed to borrow money without husband or father’s consent
- More strict
- Expectations of the upper middle class
Activity: A question for the audience
How would the play be different if it were set in the 21st century?
Why is this play still relevant in modern times?
- the audience did not react well because the play was 'different'
Sparknotes.com,. 'Sparknotes: A Doll’s House: Context'. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
Study.com,. 'Feminism In The 19Th Century: Women's Rights, Roles, And Limits - Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.Com'. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
eNotes,. 'What Are The Moral Dilemmas In Ibsen's A Doll House? - Homework Help - Enotes.Com'. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
www.BookRags.com,. 'A Doll'. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
'Personal Morality And Public Morality'. Shaun Miller's Ideas. N.p., 2008. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
- Acting against the law for our personal sake or for a loved one
• “forget happiness, Now it’s just about saving the remains” the wreckage, the appearance”
• “Im saved! Nora, I’m saved”
- Norwegians flourished in Agriculture, boosting economy
- Sparking political ideas
• "Your squirrel would run about and do all her tricks if you would be nice, and do as she wants."
What was the audience’s initial reaction of the play?
- Was not received well by the audience
- Used to the conventional ‘Romantic’ play- overacted
- First show was at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen 21 December 1879
- One of the first realist, naturalist, contemporary play in Norway
- Play talks about new concepts such as feminism
- Ibsen was controversial and admired the shock of the audience
- Wanted to face the facts and tell the truth
- The ending left audience confused
Set, Lighting and Costume
As suggested by the name, realist theatre was as close to real life as possible in terms of set, lighting and costume
• "But I tell you this- if I get shoved down a second time, you’re going to keep me company."
A Doll's House
Santa Fe Playhouse, 1997
A Doll's House The Space Theatre 2010