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well made play a doll's house

By Rana-Diaa May 09, 2015 734 Words
The well made play is a play constructed according to strict technical principles that produce neatness of plot and the theatrical effectiveness. The form was developed by Eugene scribe and became dominate on 19th century. It called for complex, artificial plotting a build up for suspense, a climactic scene, in which all problems are resolved, and a happy ending. Eugene scribe’s idea of a well made play was designed to present audiences with plots which are interesting and suspenseful and characters which are easy to understand. However when the well made play criteria is strictly observed, plays lose some of their appeal due to the structural repetitions. Henrik combines some of scribes “well made play” techniques with his own ideas (which became the foundations of realism) to provide audiences with a play which attempts to portrays humans truthfully. A doll’s house broke out from the well made play formula through combining the well made play structure with Ibsen’s own technique (problem play) Every well made play opens with motivated exposition when the actors reveal necessary information to the audience. Scribe was fond of using conversations between servants to introduce the audience to the situation. In A Doll’s House, Ibsen uses conversations between Nora and Mrs. Linden to set up the action, and to reveal Nora’s secret about how did she get the money. It is perfectly logical for two school friends to become caught up with other’s life, thereby also bringing the audience up to date. This technique not only works well to introduce the action, but also to help the audience to feel as though they are include in an intimate conversations with the characters. Another technique used to define a "well-made play" is the use of raissoneur character. This character serves as a guide or leader to the audience and often reveals the playwright opinions. Although Ibsen does not have a character whose only purpose is to be "the reasoner," he does use Dr. Rank to express his feelings towards Nora and her situation. He represents reality. He enters the Helmer’s house in order to escape reality (in his case, a terminal illness). Moreover, when Dr. Rank "escapes" to the Helmer’s house, he brings reality with him. Ibsen uses Dr. Rank to illustrate that the Helmer house is a "doll house" where no one cares to pay attention to reality. Bringing him reality to their house, makes everything collapse Whereas Act I set up the initial invasion of reality into Nora's world and the rattling of the basic underpinnings of the falseness of Nora's life (i.e., marriage and motherhood), Act II eventually sees her set up a test that will determine whether or not her world is false. In other words, she is confronted with the fact that Torvald will find out about her lie but believes that, if he is the man she thinks he is, his discovery will only strengthen their marriage. Her reaction to Krogstad finally dropping his letter in the letter box is the climax of the play. Till that point the play is still using the well made play technique, there is an exposition and a climax. In the traditional well made play, the climax would be followed by an unraveling and moral resolution of the dilemma set up in the first act and brought to head in the second. This was thought to happen when krogstad and Mrs. Linden decided to marry. This was thought to be the happy end. However the end will change, so that Nora and Helmer “come to a full understanding”. The significant departure of the well made play is Mrs. Linden’s decision to let Torvald read the letter even after krogstad offered to withdraw it; she deliberately precipitates the crisis that Nora has been trying all long to avoid. Another departure of the well made play is the denouement. Shaw said once that the final discussion between Nora and Torvald was the “technical novelty” of Ibsen’s dramaturgy. This discussion is replacing the happy end set by the well made play technique. To sum up, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House deviates from the well made play technique through ending the play with a discussion. But it is not only Ibsen’s use of discussion which made the third act so technically innovative, rather it is the way Ibsen precisely controlled audience interest and expectations by deliberately manipulating the formulas of the contemporary drama.

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