Presentation on theme: "Elements of Drama Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879)"— Presentation transcript:
1Elements of Drama Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879) English 371Danika RockettUniversity of BaltimoreElements of Drama Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879)
2A Doll’s House: by Henrik Ibsen (1828 – 1906) “Godfather of modern drama”Ibsen’s father was reckless with moneyAt 16, Ibsen had an affair with a housemaid 10 years his seniorHe suffered social humiliation because of their illegitimate sonEventually met and married Susannah, whose habits and intimate life he portrayed on stageWrote about one play per year
3A Doll’s House: Late Victorianism & the Rise of the Middle Class With so much change afoot, it is unsurprising that the new middle class preferred its entertainments to be either moral or inconsequential. Didactic literature, meant to train children and adults in the proper way to behave, flourished, as did all manner of home entertainments that allowed the middle class to escape the bewildering world of their dirty, slum-ridden cities.
4A Doll’s House: The New Woman "The New Woman sprang fully armed from Ibsen's brain …”The New Woman pushed against the limits set by male-dominated societyBy the end of the 19th century, many of the social limitations of the Victorian period became insufferable, especially for the people who received the brunt of social scrutiny: women and minorities. They began to rebel and demand equal rights.
5Elements of Drama Character Action Conflict Plot Setting Symbolism Theme
7A Doll’s House: Important Lines Nora: Pooh, we can always borrow until then (148).Nora: I mustn’t be selfish today – I’m not going to think about anything but your troubles. I must just tell you one thing, though (155).Mrs. Linde: Because you certainly couldn’t have borrowed it (160).Nora: … It was almost like being a man (162).Helmer: I take it you’re a widow, Mrs. Linde? (167).
8A Doll’s House: Important Lines Nora: Why only mothers? (179).Nora: Do you think they’d forget their mamma if she went away altogether? (182).Helmer: …suppose it were to get about that the new Manager had let himself be influenced by his wife (188).Rank: Those who go away are quickly forgotten (192).Nora: …being with Torvald is very like being with Papa (196).Nora: I’ve been your doll-wife here … (226).I believe that before everything else, I am a human being (228)
9A Doll’s House: Important Lines Helmer: Nora, I’d gladly work night and day for you, and endure poverty and sorrow for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves.Nora: Thousands of women have.What does this exchange imply about their perceived definitions of “honour”?
10Elements of Drama: Characters Protagonist – the main character (hero or heroine)Antagonist – the protagonist struggles against this character (this is often a villain, but not necessarily)Foil – serves to illuminate a main character, usually through contradiction (think of “good” Cinderella and her “evil” sisters)Confidante – someone in whom the central character confides, thus revealing the main character’s personality, thoughts, and intentionsDynamic – a character who changes during the course of the story. The change in outlook or character is permanent.Static – a character who remains primarily the same throughout a story. Events in the story do not alter a static character’s outlook, personality, motivation, perception, habits, etc.
11The Language of Characters SoliloquyMonologueDialogue
12The Language of Characters: Soliloquy A long speech by one character in which the speaker communicates special information only to the audience.“To be or not to be …”A character’s language reveals his or her feelings, values, situation, and/or beliefs.
13The Language of Characters: Monologue Like a soliloquy, it is a relatively lengthy passage spoken by one characterUnlike a soliloquy, a monologue is addressed to other characters as well as to the audience.It serves the same function as soliloquy: It permits an extended discussion of information, attitudes, or ideas of one character.
14The Language of Characters: Monologue Act III, p. 226 Nora: It’s true, Torvald. When I lived at home with Papa, he used to tell me his opinion about everything, and so I had the same opinion. If I thought differently, I had to hide it from him, or he wouldn’t have liked it. He called me his little doll, and he used to play with me just as I played with my dolls. Then I came to live in your house— Helmer: That’s no way to talk about our marriage! Nora [undisturbed]: I mean when I passed out of Papa’s hands into yours. You arranged everything to suit your own tastes, and so I came to have the same tastes as yours … or I pretended to. I’m not quite sure which … perhaps it was a bit of both—sometimes one and sometimes the other. Now that I come to look at it, I’ve lived here like a pauper—simply from hand to mouth. I’ve lived by performing tricks for you, Torvald. That was how you wanted it. You and Papa have committed a grievous sin against me: It’s your fault I’ve made nothing of my life.
15The Language of Characters: Dialogue Most words in a play are spoken between two characters.This exchange is called dialogue.Demonstrates agreements, conflicts, relationships, differing or similar beliefs, and motives between characters.Dialogue is the main element in a play for the development of character, plot, and theme.
16The Language of Characters: Dialogue Consider the following lines from Act I:Helmer: Is that my little skylark twittering out there?Nora: It is.Helmer: Scampering about like a little squirrel?Nora: Yes.Helmer: When did the squirrel come home?Nora: Just this minute . . .How does this exchange reveal the dynamics of this relationship?
17Elements of Drama: Action The specific action is represented in [brackets]Every actor in a play not only speaks but also act and reacts to other characters and events.Torvald’s “finger wagging” at Nora (151).Nora tosses her head as she walks away (158).Mrs. Linde’s reaction to Krogstad’s entrance (163).Inaction, or refusal to act, is also importantIn drama, the action is often complexTension builds because of Krogstad’s veiled threats to Nora and his speeches to Torvald, hinting at disaster.
18Elements of Drama: Conflict Nora’s struggle with Krogstad, who threatens to tell her husband about her past crime, incites Nora’s journey of self-discovery and provides much of the play’s dramatic suspense. Nora’s primary struggle, however, is against the selfish, stifling, and oppressive attitudes of her husband and of the Victorian society that he represents.
19Elements of Drama: Plot The plot in a dramatic or narrative work is the structure of its action, the main story.The plot is much more than a mere synopsis of the story.The plot centers on the protagonist—the main character (hero or heroine)The protagonist struggles against the antagonist, which could be another character or perhaps an idea or entity.The relationship between them becomes the conflict.
21Elements of Drama: Setting In drama, setting differs greatlyfrom other forms of literature.The stage allows the playwrightto avoid describing place (orsetting) in great detail.
22Elements of Drama: Symbolism Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts (Think: Torvald symbolizes society)In drama, symbols are often much more overt—less subtle—than in other genres.In plays, symbols will sometimes appear on the stage itself to remind the audience of their presence.
23Elements of Drama: Symbolism The Christmas treeTorvald’s diminutivenicknames for NoraNora’s danceNora’s change of clothingChristmas and New Year
24Elements of Drama: Theme The theme is the central or fundamental idea of a play (or a novel, a film, etc.).A literary work will have multiple themesThink about some of the themes we’ve discussed in this class
28Reminders for Next Week Syllabus change for Monday: The Ledger and Woolf readings are optional.We will quiz on the other assigned readingsMid-Term exam one week from todayMultiple choice questions will come from Power Point presentations and class readings