IB Candidate #000186175
IBSL English A1
3 November 2012
The Importance of Appearances in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House
Henrik Ibsen was a prominent realist writer in the 19th Century and his works were famous for broaching timeless topics that were not only prevalent in his 19th Century society but are still applicable in present day society. This trend is evident in one of his more known works, A Doll’s House. The plot of the play revolves around the consequences the protagonist, Nora, suffers after deceiving her husband by committing forgery. Throughout the play, multiple themes are illustrated but, one of the more prominent ones is that of appearance vs. reality and how important it is to appear in a certain way in society. Utilizing the setting, the characters of Nora and Helmer and specific instances in the plot, Ibsen highlights the theme of appearance vs. reality in society.
As the setting is kept constant throughout the play, the nature of the setting helps reflect the major themes including the importance of appearance. The entire action of the play takes place in the Helmer’s living room. This is important for two main reasons. Primarily, the living room is the main part of the house open to visitors and strangers, in other words society. It reflects the social standing and the character of the family by the way it’s kept. However, the living room is also a part of the house, a building that is regarded as private. So, by choosing a public part of a private place, Ibsen chooses the grey area as the setting of the play.
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