4Henrik Ibsen"It was a long time before I realized that to be a poet means essentially to see, but mark well, to see in such a way that whatever is seen is perceived by the audience just as the poet saw it. But only what has been lived through can be seen in that way and accepted in that way. And the secret of modern literature lies precisely in this matter of experiences that are lived through. All that I have written these last ten years, I have lived through spiritually." ('Speech to the Norwegian Students, September 10, 1874, from Speeces and New Letters, 1910).
5Realism: A Doll HouseRealism: Literary technique that attempts to create the appearance of life as it is actually experiencedCommon Language, NOT Highly poetic language formal declarations, asides, or soliloquiesEveryday people and events, NO heroes or the saving a kingdom.Opening of the eyes and the minds of an audience, NOT melodrama with happy endings.
6Henrik Ibsen 1828-1906 Biographical Influences Born in Skien, a tiny coastal town in the south of NorwayMerchant father went bankrupt – raised in poverty.Mother was a painter and loved theatre.Age 18 – fathered and supported his illegitimate child through journalismFailed his entrance exam to the university where he had hoped to become a physician.
7Playwright Historical Influences Catiline, a tragedy, which reflected the atmosphere of the revolutionary year of 1848 which sold only a few copies.The Burial Mound was performed three times in 1850.The first performance of Cataline did not take place until After successfully performing a poem glorifying Norway's past, Ibsen was appointed in 1851 by Ole Bull as "stage poet" of Den Nationale Scene, a small theater in Bergen.During this period Ibsen staged more than 150 plays, becoming thoroughly acquainted with the techniques of professional theatrical performances.In addition to his managerial work he also wrote four plays based on Norwegian folklore and history, notably Lady Inger of Ostrat (1855), dealing with the liberation of medieval Norway. In 1852 his theater sent him on a study tour to Denmark and Germany.
8Ibsen’s best-known works were structured as social commentary and written in Rome, Munich and Dresden:Brand (1866), inspired by Kierkegaard's idea of subjectivity as truth. The symbolic tragedy tells about a priest, who follows his high principles at the cost of the lives of his child and his wife.Peer Gynt (1867) was a satiric fantasy about a boastful egoist, irresponsible young man, an Ulyssean figure from Norwegian folklore.The Emperor and the Galilean (1873) Ibsen believed this to be his most important play - heavy drama about Christianity and paganism.Pillars of Society (1877) dealt with a wealthy and hypocritical businessman, whose perilous course almost results in the death of his son.A Doll House (1879) was a social drama, which caused a sensation and toured Europe and America.
9“Is A Doll House a Feminist Text?” (Joan Templeton 1641-1641) Templeton’s critique uses strident quotations and a sarcastic tone to imply that Ibsen has been “saved from feminism” by many contemporary male critics. Templeton, in truth, calls for feminist a re-examination of the character of Nora.What does a feminist reading reveal about the character of Nora whose life was circumscribed by a patriarchal society?Could Ibsen have written a play with this theme about a man? Who might have been controlling him?
10“A Psychoanalytic Reading of Nora” (Carol Strongin Tufts 1641-1641) Tufts asserts an alternative character analysis of Nora. Rather than viewing Nora as a victim, Tufts frames the psychoanalytic argument of Nora as narcissistic: Can you find textual evidence that reveals:Grandiose sense of self-importance and uniqueness – exaggerates achievements and talents, focuses on how special one’s problems are.Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.Exhibitionistic: requires constant attention and admiration.Responds to criticism, indifference of others, or defeat with either cool indifference, or with marked feelings of rage, inferiority, shame, humiliation, or emptiness.Relationship dysfunctions: Lack of empathy, Entitlement, Interpersonal exploitiveness or vacillating between the extremes of over-idealization and devaluation.
11Critical Perspective: A Doll House Henrik Ibsen's plays anticipate majordevelopments of the twentieth andtwenty-first centuries:the individual's feelings of alienation and actual alienation from society,the pressures by which society insures conformity to its values and suppresses individuality,the barriers which modern life sets up against living heroically.
12A Doll HouseA Doll´s House (1879) was a social drama, which caused a sensation and toured Europe and America.A Doll´House is about a woman who refuses to obey her husband and walks out from her apparently perfect marriage, her life in the "doll's house."At the turn-of-the-century physicians used Nora, whose mood changes from joy to depression in short cycles of time, as an example of "female hysteria."Later, critic, Havelock Ellis, inspired by Nora's character, saw in her "the promise of a new social order."
13A Doll’ House: Discussion Questions 1. How does the character of Nora illustrate the alienation of women from the 19th century patriarchal society?2. How does the character of Torvald Helmer illustrate Torvald’s struggle to conform to the 19th century patriarchal society?3. How does the relationship between Mrs. Lunde and Krogstad serve to emphasize certain characteristics of the Helmer’s marriage?4. How would Dr. Rank’s relationship with Nora, his illness, and his death serve a symbolic function in the play?
14A Doll’ House: Discussion Questions 1. How does the character of Nora illustrate the alienation of women from the 19th century patriarchal society?
15A Doll’ House: Discussion Questions 2. How does the character of Torvald Helmer illustrate Torvald’s struggle to conform to the 19th century patriarchal society?
16A Doll’ House: Discussion Questions 3. How does the relationship between Mrs. Lunde and Krogstad serve to emphasize certain characteristics of the Helmer’s marriage?
17A Doll’ House: Discussion Questions 4. How would Dr. Rank’s relationship with Nora, his illness, and his death serve a symbolic function in the play?
18Works CitedA Doll House. Production Pictures. Online Posting. 7 Oct West Virginia U. 24 Aug <http:www.wvu.edu/theatre/>A Doll’s House. Dir. Patrick Garland. Perf. Claire Bloom, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Richardson, Edith Evans, and Denholm Eliott. Videocassette. Metro Goldwin Mayer, 2000.A Doll’s House. Advertisement. Amazon.com. 24 Aug <amazon.com>.Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll House. The Bedford Introduction to Literature, 7th. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford St. Martins,Templeton, Joan. “Is A Doll House a Feminist Text?” The Bedford Introduction to Literature, 7th. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford St. Martins,Tufts, Carol Strongin. “A Psychoanalytic Reading of Nora.”The Bedford Introduction to Literature, 7th ed. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford St. Martins,White, Samantha. “Symbolism in Ibsen’s A Doll House.” Journal of World Literature 34 (2000): Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Lake-Sumter Community Coll. Lib., Leesburg, FL. 24 Aug <http://www.linccweb.org/eresources.asp>.