A Doll’s House as a Naturalistic Play
Henrik Ibsen was a nineteenth century playwright who is known for his great depiction of social reality. Ibsen was born in Norway; however he worked in different countries to earn a living. His plays are the most frequently performed after the ones of Shakespeare. One of his most popular plays, which we have studied as a part of the “Modern Drama” class, is called A Doll’s House. The following essay will try to demonstrate with detailed explanations and references to the play that its content is a Naturalistic one. First of all, we will define what Naturalism is. Secondly, we will look at how the definition applies to A Doll’s House. Thirdly, we will compare it with another play: The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov.
Naturalism is often based on the theory of evolution of Charles Darwin. Naturalist authors frequently want to show how people are predestined to live a certain way as they are prisoners of the social hierarchies created by men. John Rahn points out this affirmation in his article on Naturalism: “The dominant theme of Naturalist literature is that persons are fated to whatever station in life their heredity, environment, and social conditions prepare them for. The power of primitive emotions to negate human reason was also a recurring element.” (Rahn, 2011) Naturalism is a type of literature that attempts to apply scientific ideologies of objectivity and detachment to its study of human beings. It focuses not only on the characters, but on the way they react to unusual situations. Naturalists try to recreate human nature through fiction that is to say that the novel or play is a creation through observation of humans living in society. Some have criticized Naturalists to only show a pessimistic side of human nature.
In Ibsen’s A Doll’s House we can easily conclude that the content is Naturalistic by, first, looking at the monologues and dialogues. For example, the way Nora speaks when she addresses Torvald...
Cited: "A Doll 's House: Theme Analysis." Novelguide. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Rahn, John. "Naturalism." - Literature Periods & Movements. Jalic Inc., 2011. Web. 22
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