A Doll's House
by Henrik Ibsen (9781500973551)

A Doll's House
 
Henrik Ibsen
Format: Paperback / softback
Pages: 84
Category: Plays, Playscripts
Publisher: Createspace
ISBN: 9781500973551
ISBN-10: 1500973556



A Doll's House (Norwegian: Et dukkehjem; also translated as A Doll House) is a three-act play in prose by Henrik Ibsen. It premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month. The play is significant for its critical attitude toward 19th century marriage norms. It aroused great controversy at the time, as it concludes with the protagonist, Nora, leaving her husband and children because she wants to discover herself. Ibsen was inspired by the belief that "a woman cannot be herself in modern society," since it is "an exclusively male society, with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint." Its ideas can also be seen as having a wider application: Michael Meyer argued that the play's theme is not women's rights, but rather "the need of every individual to find out the kind of person he or she really is and to strive to become that person." In a speech given to the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights in 1898, Ibsen insisted that he "must disclaim the honor of having consciously worked for the women's rights movement," since he wrote "without any conscious thought of making propaganda," his task having been "the description of humanity." In 2006, the centennial of Ibsen's death, A Doll's House held the distinction of being the world's most performed play for that year. UNESCO has inscribed Ibsen's autographed manuscripts of A Doll's House on the Memory of the World Register in 2001, in recognition of their historical value. The play opens at Christmas time as Nora Helmer enters her home carrying a number of packages. Nora's husband Torvald is working in his study when she arrives. He playfully rebukes her for spending so much money on Christmas gifts, calling her his "little squirrel." He teases her about how she spent weeks making gifts and ornaments by hand last year because money was scarce. This year Torvald is due a promotion at the bank where he works, so Nora feels that they can let themselves go a little. The maid announces two visitors: Mrs. Kristine Linde, an old friend of Nora's, who has come seeking employment, and Dr. Rank, a close friend of the family, who is let into the study. Kristine has had a difficult few years, ever since her husband died, leaving her with no money or children. Nora explains that things have not been easy for them either: Torvald became sick and they had to travel to Italy so he could recover. Kristine further explains that when her mother was ill, she had to take care of her brothers, but now that they are grown she feels her life is "unspeakably empty." Nora promises to talk to Torvald about finding her a job. Kristine gently tells Nora that she is like a child. Nora is offended, so she reveals that she borrowed money so they could travel to Italy in order to improve Torvald's health. She told Torvald that her father gave her the money, but in fact she managed to illegally borrow it without his knowledge. Over the years she has been secretly working and saving up to pay it off. Krogstad, a lower-level employee at Torvald's bank arrives and goes into the study. Nora is clearly uneasy when she sees him. Dr. Rank leaves the study and mentions that he feels wretched, though, like everyone, he wants to go on living. In contrast to his physical illness, he says that the man in the study, Krogstad, is "morally diseased." After the meeting with Krogstad, Torvald comes out of the study. Nora asks him if he can give Kristine a position at the bank and Torvald is very positive, saying that this is a fortunate moment, as a position has just become available. Torvald, Linde, and Dr. Rank leave the house, leaving Nora alone. The nanny returns with the children and Nora plays with them for a while until Krogstad creeps into the living room and surprises her.

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