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A Doll


A DOLL S HOUSE By Henrik Ibsen A DOLL S HOUSE SOME FACTS: Published in 1879 Norwegian title: Et dukkehjem Title can be also read as a dollhouse The play was ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Doll

A Dolls House
  • By Henrik Ibsen

A Dolls HouseSome Facts
  • Published in 1879
  • Norwegian title Et dukkehjem
  • Title can be also read as a dollhouse
  • The play was highly controversial when first
    published, as it is sharply critical of Victorian
    marriage norms.
  • Written while Ibsen was in Rome and Amalfi
  • Amalfi is a town and commune in the province
    of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy.
  • The play was born in a time of revolution in

  • Charged with the fever of the 1848 revolution, a
    new modern perspective was beginning to emerge in
    the literary and dramatic world, challenging the
    romantic tradition
  • Ibsen has been credited for mastering and
    popularizing the realist drama derived from this
    new perspective.
  • His plays were both read and performed throughout
    Europe (in numerous translations) like no other
    dramatist before. A Doll's House was published
    and premiered in Copenhagen.

A Challenge to Technical Tradition of the Well
Made Play
  • The Well Made Play
  • a genre of theatre from the 19th century,
    codified by Eugène Scribe (1791-1861) .
  • It has a strong neo-classical flavor, involving a
    very tight plot and a climax that takes place
    very close to the end of the story, with most of
    the story taking place before the action of the
    play much of the information regarding such
    previous action would be revealed through thinly
    veiled exposition.
  • Following that would be a series of causally
    related plot complications.

Attributes of a Well Made Play
  • The plot is based upon a withheld secret, known
    only to some of the characters, usually about the
    play's hero, the revelation of which provides the
    turning point of the play.
  • Initial exposition provides information, usually
    by means of question and answer, about the events
    that precede the start of the play (antecedent
    action) and both leads toward the secret and
    withholds it.
  • Ups and Downs are generally seen in dialogue,
    exchanges of wit between opponents, in which we
    move closer to the revelation of the secret.
  • Reversal, followed by a revelatory scene (the
    French critic Francisque Sarcey called this the
    scéne à faire) in which we and the characters in
    the play learn the secret, often for the first
  • A plausible dénouement is designed to make
    everything that has occurred believable.
  • The key to the whole play is that each act or
    scene repeats this pattern.

  • 1.The majority of well-made plays are comedies,
    often farce. In his book The Quintessence of
    Ibsenism, Bernard Shaw proposed that Ibsen
    converted this formula for use in "serious" plays
    by substituting discussion for the plausible
    dénouement or conclusion.
  • Thus, plays become open ended, as if there were
    life beyond the last act curtain.
  • Ibsen's play was notable for exchanging the last
    act's unraveling for a discussion.

  • Critics agree that, up until the last moments of
    the play, A Doll's House could easily be just
    another modern drama broadcasting another
    comfortable moral lesson.
  • However, when Nora tells Torvald that they must
    sit down and "discuss all this that has been
    happening between us", the play diverges from the
    traditional form.
  • With this new technical feature, A Doll's House
    became an international sensation and founded a
    new school of dramatic art.

2.Where is the Wise Old Man?
  • Ibsen's realist drama disregarded the tradition
    of the older male moral figure.
  • Dr. Rank, the character who should serve this
    role, is far from a moral force instead, he is
    sickly--rotting from a disease picked up from his
    father's earlier sexual exploits--and lascivious,
    openly coveting Nora.
  • The choice to portray both Dr. Rank and the
    potentially matronly Mrs. Linde as imperfect,
    real people was a novel approach at the time.

  • Ibsen was reacting to the uncertain tempo of the
    time Europe was being reshaped with revolutions.
  • 3.The revolutionary spirit and the emergence of
    modernism influenced Ibsen's choice to focus on
    an unlikely hero--a housewife--in his attack on
    middle-class values.

Tragedy or Comedy--Tragicomedy
  • Comes form Latin tragicomoedia
  • Drama that mixes elements and styles of tragedy
    and comedy
  • Main concern is to explore the relationships
    between man and supernatural agencies (God, fate,
  • Mixes farce and humor with moments of sadness
  • Often related with social and political

  • Tragicomedies are not merely plays that combine
    the comic and tragic they are plays in which the
    tragic and comic are formally and emotionally
    dependent on one another, each modifying and
    determining the nature of the other so as to
    produce a mixed, tragicomic response from the
    audience (Munro 230).
  • Tragicomedies generally end in moral and
    aesthetic discomfort, leaving the audience to
    wonder on the true objective of the play (Munro

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  • Yet precisely what sort of play is it?
  • George Steiner claims that the play is founded
    on the beliefthat women can and must be raised
    to the dignity of man, but Ibsen himself
    believed it to be more about the importance of
    self-liberation than the importance of
    specifically female liberation.

  • Images of women
  • Nora, as a symbol of woman, is called a number of
    names by Torvald throughout the play. These
  • "little songbird",
  • "squirrel", "lark",
  • "little featherhead",
  • "little skylark",
  • "little person", and
  • "little woman".
  • Torvald is extremely consistent about using the
    modifier "little" before the names he calls Nora.
  • These are all usually followed by the possessive
    "my", signaling Torvald's belief that Nora is
  • Torvald's chosen names for Nora reveal that he
    does not see her as an equal by any means
    rather, Nora is at times predictable and silly
    doll and at times a captivating and exotic pet or
    animal, all created for Torvald.

Sites Cited
  • A Dolls House Wikipedia, the Free
    Encyclopedia. http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrik_
    Ibsen5 April 2007
  • Gillis, G. J. and Westhagen, Jen. SparkNote on A
    Dolls House. 5 Apr. 2007 http//www.sparknotes.co
  • "Henrik Ibsen Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
    5 April 2007 http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrik_I
  • "Well-Made Play" Wikipedia, the Free
    Encyclopedia. 5 April 2007 http//en.wikipedia.org
  • William, Robert. About A Dolls House. Grade
    Saver. http//www.gradesaver.com/a-dolls-house/stu
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