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A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

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by

Amanda Bill

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
Background:
Henrik Ibsen - "father of modern prose"
Grew up a poor Norwegian
Believed that husband and wife should be equal
A Doll's House was written in Italy in 1879
Established realism in plays
Women's rights were prominent in text
Act One: Christmas Eve
It's Christmas Eve, and Torvald addresses Nora playfully, but complains about excessive spending on limited money.
Previously, Torvald was ill and traveled to Italy. To fund the trip, Nora illegally borrows money without Torvald's knowledge.
Krogstad loans the money to Nora and asks Nora to convince Torvald not to fire him. He blackmails her and says he will reveal she forged her father's signature if not.
Acts Two and Three: Christmas Day and following days
Torvald fires Krogstad.
Dr. Rand, the family doctor, confesses his love to Nora as he is slowly dying.
Krogstad comes over and demands to be rehired in a higher position, and he writes a note to Torvald revealing Nora's forgery and loan.
Mrs. Linde and Krogstad reveal their love for each other at Nora and Torvald's party and keep the letter in the mailbox so the couple will know the truth.
After the party, Torvald reads the letter and calls Nora a hypocrite and deceitful. He tells her that she ruined his happiness and will not be able to raise the children.
However, a note comes that says Krogstad returned the contract, and Torvald is overjoyed. He disregards his previous comments, but Nora walks out of the house and doesn't return.
Themes/Symbols:
Women and Femininity/Men and Masculinity
Nora as a feminist hero
Traditional roles and breaking them
Mrs. Linde loves motherhood (strength)
Nora is submissive, but manipulative
Men must be the providers
Marriage
Marriage failed because the two weren't equal
Lack of understanding
Home
The Doll's House - Nora is controlled, molded, and modeled like a doll.
Society standards
Men are obsessed with reputation
Influenced by gender roles

Nora's Character/Role:
In the beginning, Nora seems content despite her treatment as a doll.
Her elaborate plan to borrow money, work extra to pay off the debt, and action to break the law show her how daring, intelligent, and ambitious she is.
Nora realizes her true potential and strives to break the barriers that the men in her life and society have placed around her.
Torvald's explosive words at the end solidify this awakening and drive Nora to leave.

Discussion: Did Nora have a right to leave her family?
"To love others, you must first love yourself."
Important Quotes:
Tolvard: "But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves."
Nora: "It's a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done." (118)
Tolvard: "Almost everyone who has gone to the bad early in life has had a deceitful mother." (47)
Nora: "I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was papa's doll child..." (112)
Nora: "I must try and educate myself -- you are not the man to help me in that." (112)
Nora: "I must stand quite alone, if I am to understand myself and everything about me." (113)
Tolvard: "Before all else, you are a wife and a mother."
Nora: "I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are..." (115)
Connections:
Victorian submission
The Edible Woman: Marian
Submission to spouse - Motherhood
Breaks free
The Awakening: Edna
Moving out
Relations with another man (Robert)
Eventually escapes
Cixous and "The Laugh of the Medusa"
Strong action for liberation
Nora:
Represents the new, enlightened woman that is not constrained by gender roles.
Loves Dr. Rank but is married to Torvald due to intellectual and monetary purposes.
Becomes Mrs. Linde: freed from her husband and completely independent.
While Mrs. Linde escapes her barriers by death of her husband, Nora escapes by leaving her house and family.
Full transcript