A Dolls House, Drama Analysis, Realism and Naturalism
Topic B: Character
Nora Helmer frolics about in the first act, behaves desperately in the second, and gains a stark sense of reality during the finale of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Ibsen was one of a few pioneers of the new theatrical movement of realism, and accordingly he is often called the father of modern drama. The character of Nora lives in a dream world, a childlike fantasy, where everything is perfect, and everything makes sense, but as the play develops, Nora transforms and finds the strength to leave her home and her children in order to find out who she is and what she wants out of life. Nora leaves the role of the doll child and doll wife and becomes an independent self-thinking adult. She realizes that the world is different than she always thought it was, and that she herself is also different. The play opens a door onto the social problems that many face but never speak of. Since Ibsen's time, women have made great strides in gaining the choice to determine their role in relation to the family and society. A Doll’s House uses the character of Nora Helmer to show the transformation that takes place from dependent house wife to independent adult. The theme of A Doll’s House, a woman's right to individual self-fulfillment, was considered highly subversive in an age when women were not allowed to conduct business without the authority of a father or husband. Wives and daughters were considered to be property, thus lending to women acting childish and naive. The character of Nora exhibits many of these juvenile and immature qualities. The audience first sees her when she returns from a seemingly extravagant Christmas shopping excursion. She eats a few desserts which she has secretly purchased. When her condescending husband, Torvald Helmer, asks if she has been sneaking macaroons, she denies it whole-heartedly. The Narrator tells us, “She takes a bag of macaroons out of her pocket and eats...
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