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5.0 out of 5 stars Individualism and Women's Rights in late-19th century Norway
Henrik Ibsen's play 'A Doll's House' was written in 1879 and shocked theatre-goers of the era. It is a drama about a woman in what may have been a typical marriage of the time. I do not pretend to be a social historian, so that is a guess. Nora is told by her husband what she can eat (no sweets), what she can spend, what she can do with her time, and how she is to comport...
Published 16 months ago by ahef1963
3.0 out of 5 stars Nora's Epiphany
In this play by Ibsen Nora loses the ability to make Torvald love her any longer. This is the epiphany. Nora is the protagonist, she is a "doll" living within Helmer's house. Nora is strictly to look good and to keep her husband happy. In this play beauty is the motif that is recognized throughout. To Helmer Nora is an object, a trophy. When Nora's...
Published on Jan. 8 2001 by Erica Gregoire
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Individualism and Women's Rights in late-19th century Norway,
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This review is from: A Doll's House (Paperback)Henrik Ibsen's play 'A Doll's House' was written in 1879 and shocked theatre-goers of the era. It is a drama about a woman in what may have been a typical marriage of the time. I do not pretend to be a social historian, so that is a guess. Nora is told by her husband what she can eat (no sweets), what she can spend, what she can do with her time, and how she is to comport herself in matters of dress and behaviour. It is a stifling marriage in which Nora has no freedom of choice or ability to complain of the restraints placed upon her.
Ibsen gives Nora a way out. She rejects the confines of her marriage in search of a life where she is able to make her own choices and to explore what she is capable of doing. It is a revolutionary outlook for a playright, especially one who is male and living in the late 19th century, and I can only imagine the outrage that this drama must have caused.
I was absolutely impressed by the play. It's so forward-thinking, and so open to the ideas of individualism for everyone, and of personal freedom for women. I was severely irritated by the way in which Nora's husband, Torvald Helmer, addressed his wife: he spoke to her as if she were a child he was indulging: "Is that my little lark twittering out there?", and chastised her in the way one would an unruly child. With finely-scripted dialogue, Ibsen makes it plain to the reader or theatre-goer that there is no real relationship between Nora and Torvald; that she is the inferior in this marriage.
Enlightened and enlightening; this play is so very worth reading by anyone interested in the earliest days of women's rights and the fight for individual freedoms.
A Doll's House
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid!,
This review is from: A Doll's House (Paperback)"A Doll's House" is a book that should be read by all women, but should also be read by men. The story is so powerful, intriguing, heart wrenching, nail biting, ulcer giving, and just fantastic! For Henrik Ibsen to write this during his time must have sent wives into fantasies and men into worries. While I'm unsure about Nora's final decision, I was positively sure that Torvald was a pathetic husband and didn't deserve a wife. I recommend!
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still important,
This review is from: A Doll's House (Paperback)There is no doubt that Henrik Ibsen's 'A Doll's House' is his masterpiece; one of the most famous plays ever. Notwithstanding it is very dated, and today's readers/audience may find it boring and hard to understand, because there is a very long interval since its first performance to the XXI century.
Although women, unfortunately, still have much to fight for when it comes to rights, they are no longer like Nora, the play's protagonist. She is a complete doll, living to his husband's, Torvald, will. Due to his health problems, she has involved with not reliable people, and borrowed money. Years later, when he is safe and sound, she is still paying her debts --however, he doesn't know it. In order to keep her lie, Nora is involved by a snowball effect, where one lie leads to another one, until the moment when it becomes unbearable.
While I much like the feminist thematic of the play, analyzing it as a literature work I think there are some flaws in the text. The most important character, Nora, is not very well developed. We can easily notice how repressed she is; and we do expect her to take charge in her life and do something, but when it happens, in the very end of the play, it seems to be so unrealistic that it is hard to believe she is a human being rather than a character of a play.
Another thing about Nora is that she is extremely selfish. If on the one hand, she does things to help her husband recover, on the other, she's doing it because she's afraid of losing him, and being left helpless alone. Moreover, in the end, she simply quits her life --good for her!--, but she doesn't care about her children. How convenient it is to leave their three small kids, claiming she is not a good person and will harm them. She becomes a free person, and under no shadow of doubt, her children will grow up problematic people.
Above all things, 'A Doll's House' is a play, and it doesn't deny its origins. The dialogues are very theatrical. The monologues pop up in almost every page, compromising the natural flow of the events.
All in all, it is still a good play, and has its cultural and social importance. It portraits the hypocrisy of XIX Century European society, when women had no power at all, and were brought up to satisfy their huband's will. It has lost its freshness and power, but still stands up as one of the first work with a feminist thematic, and for that matter should be read and known.
4.0 out of 5 stars Breaking out of the doll house,
This review is from: A Doll's House (Paperback)A Doll's House proves to be a short, yet highly provocative play, nonetheless. Nora, feeling constrained by the Norwegian male-dominated society of the 19th Century, literally - and metaphorically- breaks out of its walls, so to speak. Torvald Helmer, valuing his honor over his love for his wife Nora, galvanizes her to figuratively abandon her doll house - replete with her husband, 2 children, & 2 servants. She, in striking out on her own, concurrently abandons the rigid social class system of the time, as well as the unwritten rules and mores of society.
Notwithstanding the final act being a bit less than I had hoped for, and perhaps being less relevant and poignant now than in the 19th Century, A Doll's House was nonetheless an enjoyable and compelling play worth reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant play on Marrige, Supression and Feminisme.,
This review is from: A Doll's House (Paperback)Henrik Ibsen in one of the most famous Norwegian writers thoughout the world. And he is known for his plays where he gives a critical view upon the society.
In this play, everything happens around the main character Nora. She is innocent, naiv and has no education at all, just like most women of her social rank had at that time. Her husband, Torvald, is well known in the city, and his wife is just a "doll". She isn't supposed to have opinions on anything, just smile and look pretty in this male dominated world.
When Torvald Helmer finds out that his wife has "stole" money from her father to be able to pay for a health insitution for him, he's shocked. Nora, not understand what she might have done wrong, was only trying to help her husband, and yet protect her dying father. She wakes up, starting feel independant, wanting to discover herself...
Ibsen was a master of showing different sides of the social levels, and giving a critic view on what he didn't like. He has done it yet again, focusing on the marriage of these two people. Supression and a male dominated world is central aspects, and also the growing feminisme.
The book is worth reading for anyone how loves to read. It is truly one of Ibsen's best plays!
2.0 out of 5 stars not my type,
This review is from: A Doll's House (Paperback)isn't quite my type of story. i think the last act comes too quickly and nora's character isn't developed enough earlier in the play to warrant such a transformation. good idea, great at the time, i'm sure, but not as engaging now.
2.0 out of 5 stars A "House" I Couldn't Wait To Leave,
By A Customer
This review is from: A Doll's House (Paperback)I read Henrik Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People" in high school, and I remember liking it -- a lot. I finally got around to reading this most celebrated of plays, Ibsen's "A Doll's House," and I was bored, bored, BORED.
I read hundreds of plays, for pleasure -- I am not a student, I am not an English teacher, and I am not in or of the theatre -- I just started to love reading plays about a half dozen years ago, and I am trying to make up for lost time.
Of the hundreds of plays I've read, this was one of the worst. I know it's considered a masterpiece by "those in the know," but I'm supposed to tell what I think and share MY opinions in this review, and that's what I've just done.
5.0 out of 5 stars unjustified criticism,
By A Customer
This review is from: A Doll's House (Plays for Performance) (Paperback)I've heard a lot of criticism on this play as the one made by the reviewer before me. i do not need to elaborate why i love this play since it has been made eloquently and knowledgebly by others. all i'd like to say is that Ibsen could not foresee the problems of contemporary society (absent parents, teen pregnancy, drugs etc.). When a new idea (like women lib in those times and still in my part of the world)is floated in the beginning it has to be no less than revolutionary to make its place in people's mind. its only now when the women's lib movement has been in vogue for a while that you can give a definite shape to the inital euphoria according to the circumstances. let not the benefit of hindsight breed arrogance in you but try to understand the statement Ibsen was trying to make according to his times.
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was way before it's time - Ibsen was a genius!,
This review is from: A Doll's House (Hardcover)The Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen wrote an insightful play about marriage and the role of women in Ibsens time (19th century Europe). I am sure that "A dolls house" must have been a shock to the European society when Ibsen first published this book. He criticised the system that demoted women to mere property and this must have been an outrageous statement in a society where women didn't even have the right to vote!
The author himself said that this play was about human rights, not women's rights. While I believe this to be true, I still have no problems understanding why the female rights groups says that "A dolls house" is about women's rights. Whilst this play was written over a hundred years ago, many of the issues about women discussed in "A dolls house" are still applicable today. I think Nora is a *great* role model for a woman of the new millennium!
If you, like me, had to read this as a part of your college literature requirements, give it another try! It is a wonderful book.
5.0 out of 5 stars The start of Realism,
This review is from: A Doll's House (Paperback)When Ibsen's "A Doll's House" came out, it would be a start of a new revolution in the theatre. Science and Society was changing so the theatre had to change too. Instead of seeing Kings and Historical figures on the stage, we would see the common person and their role in society and their environment. Everything(Dialouge, props, acting etc.) would be all Real and be as if the audience were looking through a keyhole in these peoples lives and the people unaware of the audience. Audiences now would see a "slice of life." Ibsen's "A Doll's House" along with Strindberg's "Miss Julie" would establish the Realism movement and inspire the future of playwrights such as Chekhov, Shaw, Wilde, O'Neill etc...
"A Doll's House" is a play about the role of women in Ibsen's time. Nora who struggles to bring happiness to her family. When her husband Torvald is sick, Nora borrows money from a co-worker(Krogstad) at her husband's bank to pay for a trip to heal her husband. The play takes place after this trip and we see that Torvald is restored to full health. Torvald treats Nora just like a doll and nothing more. We find out that Nora secretly is saving up to pay back the money she borrowed by buying cheaper clothes or not eating. An old friend named Mrs.Linde comes to Helmer's house in search for a job and Nora persuades her husband to let Mrs.Linde have a job at his bank. Meanwhile Krogstad comes to visit and hears this. He is very afraid that his position is at risk and thinks Torvald will fire him. He tells Nora that if she doesn't convince her husband to keep his job, he'll tell her husband of her borrowing money. This sets up the conflict and the way Nora deals with it, is not the traditional way a character like hers might in previous plays. If you have not read the play and don't want the ending spoiled don't read on.
After Torvald finds out, instead of Torvald being thankful for his wife for trying to save her husband for a dreadful illness, he is furious and says he will be humiliated and torn by Society when they find out what his wife did. We the audience/reader think that it is all over for Nora, that Torvald will leave her and she will be a cast out. Instead in Act 3, in a moment of epiphany Nora's whole life goes past her. She realizes that her whole life she has just been a doll in a doll house passed down from her father to Torvald. She tells Torvald how hard she has tried to be a good wife and build a family but it won't work. She decides to leave Torvald. This action went against all the traditional values at the time and sparked a revolution. Ibsen showed the world a reality, society didn't want to see. Nora leaving Torvald was unheard of at the time and that is why "A Doll's House" is so important.
Ibsen's "A Doll's House" aside from starting Realism, is just a well written piece. Anyone who loves literature or theater must read it. Ibsen from "A Doll's House" would question the role of people in Society and question authority like no other playwright before him had.
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A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen (Paperback - Feb. 21 1992)