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Analysis Of "A Dolls House"

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Write a paper that explains how history is portrayed in a particular play emphasizing what a certain historical event, personage, or situation enables the playwright to communicate. Discuss what effect the playwright's transformation of historical reality has on an audience.

Henrik Ibsen's widely regarded work, A Doll's House, was first introduced in 1879 as a theatrical presentation of human rights. Today, Ibsen's work remains as such, although often conveyed as more focused on women's rights. The Norwegian playwright's vision of a seemingly common home is quickly translated through Ibsen's use of symbolism, setting, and diction.

Symbolism is a key aspect in much of Ibsen's writing, much of which can be dually interpreted as extended metaphors. For instance, the Christmas tree purchased at the beginning of the play; to be decorated primly and properly, clearly beautiful and new, sparkling in the main room, undergoes its own phases--as does the Helmer's marriage. By the end of the play it is bedraggled and worn, having completed its faÐ*ade as a gorgeous centerpiece, as has Nora and Torvald's relationship. The money Nora pleads for as a Christmas gift is highly important to the piece. Her begging for the material object conversely resembles her conscientious desire to tell Torvald each detail of her woes and her yearning to have a serious conversation with him. Nora even states "I'll wrap the money in pretty gold paper..." showing that any truth she attempts to reveal will still be masked, or implying that perhaps Torvald will be the one to "unwrap the paper" and thus rid Nora of the wretched cloak which hides her true thoughts and person. Perhaps the most significant symbols are the pet names Torvald produces for Nora: squirrel, little skylark, and wastrel and their distinct synonymity to the word doll. Nora plays the role of the doll throughout the entire play, acting as her father's manipulative, as her husband's toy figurine, as her children's plaything, and overall as a restrained house pet until she reaches the conclusion that she is none of the above, but her own person waiting to be discovered.

Henrik Ibsen's cleverly uses setting within A Doll's House in order to make his work one which aptly describes both the time period and societal constraints in which the Helmers, particularly Nora, reside. Women of the time were frequently frowned upon for any attempts to move out of the social stereotype of silent-as-mice housewives. Nora however, finally chose to break that boundary in deciding to leave her husband and children, leaving them vulnerable to ridicule and open criticism of Nora's self-absorption. As well, in Norway, women were not permitted to control their own money until 1888, following A Doll's House's performance and publication by almost a decade. Thus, Nora's actions in the play were illegal at the time and considered extremely scandalous. Kristine Linde represents the seemingly average woman of the time, choosing a life that centers around not only helping, but taking care of others, essentially acting as a mother to everyone she knows. Ibsen's writing was particularly influential to the time period, in which women's rights movements were beginning construction and obtaining followers. However, although A Doll's House is today interpreted as a feminist play, Ibsen was less concerned with the rights of one particular group than the rights of humankind. Perhaps it was because of his self-imposed exile after the failure of his theatre in which Ibsen felt the need for all humans to be recognized as equals, and not as parts of a heterogeneous society. The Norway of A Doll's House represents the historically-accurate Norway of the mid- to late-1800's, a world of varying prejudices and injustice. Such a realistic world thus captivates the audience, particularly the audience of the plays time period, and gives reason



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