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A D OLL S H OUSE By Henrik Ibsen. A D OLL S H OUSE S OME F ACTS : Published in 1879 Norwegian title: Et dukkehjem Title can be also read as a dollhouse.

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Presentation on theme: "A D OLL S H OUSE By Henrik Ibsen. A D OLL S H OUSE S OME F ACTS : Published in 1879 Norwegian title: Et dukkehjem Title can be also read as a dollhouse."— Presentation transcript:

1 A D OLL S H OUSE By Henrik Ibsen

2 A D OLL S H OUSE S OME F ACTS : Published in 1879 Norwegian title: Et dukkehjem Title can be also read as a dollhouse The play was highly controversial when first published, as it is sharply critical of Victorian marriage norms. Written while Ibsen was in Rome and Amalfi Amalfi is a town and commune in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy. The play was born in a time of revolution in Europe.

3 R EVOLUTIONARY Charged with the fever of the 1848 revolution, a new modern perspective was beginning to emerge in the literary and dramatic world, challenging the romantic tradition; Ibsen has been credited for mastering and popularizing the realist drama derived from this new perspective. His plays were both read and performed throughout Europe (in numerous translations) like no other dramatist before. A Doll's House was published and premiered in Copenhagen.

4 A C HALLENGE TO T ECHNICAL T RADITION OF THE W ELL M ADE P LAY The Well Made Play a genre of theatre from the 19th century, codified by Eugène Scribe ( ). It has a strong neo-classical flavor, involving a very tight plot and a climax that takes place very close to the end of the story, with most of the story taking place before the action of the play; much of the information regarding such previous action would be revealed through thinly veiled exposition. Following that would be a series of causally related plot complications.

5 A TTRIBUTES OF A W ELL M ADE P LAY The plot is based upon a withheld secret, known only to some of the characters, usually about the play's hero, the revelation of which provides the turning point of the play. Initial exposition provides information, usually by means of question and answer, about the events that precede the start of the play (antecedent action) and both leads toward the secret and withholds it. Ups and Downs are generally seen in dialogue, exchanges of wit between opponents, in which we move closer to the revelation of the secret. Reversal, followed by a revelatory scene (the French critic Francisque Sarcey called this the scéne à faire) in which we and the characters in the play learn the secret, often for the first time. A plausible dénouement is designed to make everything that has occurred believable. The key to the whole play is that each act or scene repeats this pattern.

6 1. The majority of well-made plays are comedies, often farce. In his book The Quintessence of Ibsenism, Bernard Shaw proposed that Ibsen converted this formula for use in "serious" plays by substituting discussion for the plausible dénouement or conclusion. Thus, plays become open ended, as if there were life beyond the last act curtain. Ibsen's play was notable for exchanging the last act's unraveling for a discussion.

7 Critics agree that, up until the last moments of the play, A Doll's House could easily be just another modern drama broadcasting another comfortable moral lesson. However, when Nora tells Torvald that they must sit down and "discuss all this that has been happening between us", the play diverges from the traditional form. With this new technical feature, A Doll's House became an international sensation and founded a new school of dramatic art.

8 2. W HERE IS THE W ISE O LD M AN ? Ibsen's realist drama disregarded the tradition of the older male moral figure. Dr. Rank, the character who should serve this role, is far from a moral force; instead, he is sickly--rotting from a disease picked up from his father's earlier sexual exploits-- and lascivious, openly coveting Nora. The choice to portray both Dr. Rank and the potentially matronly Mrs. Linde as imperfect, real people was a novel approach at the time.

9 Ibsen was reacting to the uncertain tempo of the time; Europe was being reshaped with revolutions. 3. The revolutionary spirit and the emergence of modernism influenced Ibsen's choice to focus on an unlikely hero- -a housewife--in his attack on middle-class values.

10 T RAGEDY OR C OMEDY --T RAGICOMEDY Comes form Latin tragicomoedia Drama that mixes elements and styles of tragedy and comedy Main concern is to explore the relationships between man and supernatural agencies (God, fate, etc.) Mixes farce and humor with moments of sadness Often related with social and political disruption

11 T RAGICOMEDY Tragicomedies are not merely plays that combine the comic and tragic; they are plays in which the tragic and comic are formally and emotionally dependent on one another, each modifying and determining the nature of the other so as to produce a mixed, tragicomic response from the audience (Munro 230). Tragicomedies generally end in moral and aesthetic discomfort, leaving the audience to wonder on the true objective of the play (Munro 230).


13 Yet precisely what sort of play is it? George Steiner claims that the play is founded on the belief…that women can and must be raised to the dignity of man, but Ibsen himself believed it to be more about the importance of self-liberation than the importance of specifically female liberation.

14 Images of women: Nora, as a symbol of woman, is called a number of names by Torvald throughout the play. These include "little songbird", "squirrel", "lark", "little featherhead", "little skylark", "little person", and "little woman". Torvald is extremely consistent about using the modifier "little" before the names he calls Nora. These are all usually followed by the possessive "my", signaling Torvald's belief that Nora is his. Torvald's chosen names for Nora reveal that he does not see her as an equal by any means; rather, Nora is at times predictable and silly doll and at times a captivating and exotic pet or animal, all created for Torvald.

15 S ITES C ITED A Dolls House Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. April Gillis, G. J. and Westhagen, Jen. SparkNote on A Dolls House. 5 Apr "Henrik Ibsen Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 5 April "Well-Made Play" Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 5 April made_play%22 made_play%22 William, Robert. About A Dolls House. Grade Saver. house/study-guide/about/ house/study-guide/about/

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