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The Controversial Theme of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

The Controversial Theme of A Doll’s House

In his play, A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen depicts a female protagonist, Nora Helmer, who dares to defy her husband and forsake her “duty” as a wife and mother to seek out her individuality. A Doll’s House challenges the patriarchal view held by most people at the time that a woman’s place was in the home. Many women could relate to Nora’s situation. Like Nora, they felt trapped by their husbands and their fathers; however, they believed that the rules of society prevented them from stepping out of the shadows of men. Through this play, Ibsen stresses the importance of women’s individuality. A Doll’s House combines realistic characters, fascinating imagery, explicit stage directions, and an influential setting to develop a controversial theme.

The characters of this play help to support Ibsen’s opinions. Nora’s initial characteristics are that of a bubbly, child-like wife who is strictly dependent on her husband. This subordinate role from which Nora progresses emphasizes the need for change in society’s view of women. For Nora, her inferior, doll-like nature is a facade for a deeper passion for individuality that begins to surface during the play and eventually fully emerges in the ending. An example of this deep yearning for independence is shown when Nora tells her friend, Kristina Linde about earning her own money by doing copying. Nora explains, “it was tremendous fun sitting [in her room] working and earning money. It was almost like being a man” (A Doll’s House, 162). Mrs. Linde is an inspiration to Nora, because Kristina has experienced the independence that Nora longs for.

Even though Nora seeks to be independent, she uses her role of subordination to her advant…

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…ntroversial theme. Ibsen expresses to the audience his hope for the “miracle” of true equality, when neither men nor women abuse the power that society gives them. When Nora sheds her doll’s dress and steps out into the real world, she opens up a new realm of possibilities for all women.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Agress, Lynne. The Feminine Irony: Women on Women in Early-Nineteenth-Century English Literature. London: Associated UP, 1978.

Durbach, Errol. A Doll’s House: Ibsen’s Myth of Transformation. Boston: Twayne, 1991.

Ibsen, Henrik. A League of Youth/ A Doll’s House/ The Lady From the Sea. Trans. Peter Watts. England: Clays Ltd., 1965.

Salomé, Lou. Ibsen’s Heroines. Ed. and trans. Siegfried Mandel. Redding Ridge: Black Swan, 1985.

Templeton, Joan. “The Doll House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen.” PMLA (January 1989): 28-40.

Comparing the Opening Scenes of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth

The opening scene of any play is extremely important because it can play a major role in establishing key elements throughout the rest of the performance. The main elements are the characters, themes, language, settings and plot. The audience can form a basic idea of these elements involved to spark their interest in the play. There is a great deal of contrast between the opening scenes of “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet”, both by William Shakespeare.

The first scene of “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare is very short, but full of impact. The thunder and lightning alone give it a dramatic opening, which grabs the interest of the audience, as it is representative of evil. These dramatic sound effects help to set the eerie and supernatural atmosphere that Shakespeare wanted to create along with the witches. The witches introduce us to a dark, dangerous play, in which the theme of evil is central. The witches say little but we learn a lot about them from this first scene. The mood of the play is set in this opening scene, although the action doesn’t start until the next scene. The presence of supernatural forces in the opening scene of “Macbeth”, provides for much of the play’s dramatic tension and the mounting suspense.

“When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”

This is the opening line of the play “Macbeth”. It immediately draws the audiences attention and captures their imagination, as the supernatural world fascinated people in Elizabethan England. At the time the play was first performed and at the time that Shakespeare was writing it, witchcraft was a great enemy of the state and people became enthralled by these peculiar, suspicious witches. Witch-hunts took place and many people were convicted o…

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…beth” and “Romeo and Juliet” are utterly contrasting, they are both interesting and enjoyable in their own unique ways.

Works Cited and Consulted

Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 1991.

Bryant, Joseph A., ed. William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. New York: Penguin, 1990.

Edwards, Terence. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Macbeth. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1977.

Hunter, G.K. “Macbeth in the Twentieth Century.” Aspects of Macbeth. Ed. Kenneth Muir

Shakespeare, William. Tragedy of Macbeth . Ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Warstine. New York: Washington Press, 1992.

Watts, Cedric. Twayne’s New Critical Introductions to Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991.

Scott, Mark W. (Editor). Shakespeare for Students. Gale Research Inc. Detroit, Michigan. 1992

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