Drama analysis: A Doll’s House Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


A Doll’s House drama has been regarded as a composition whose performance in art has a social significance of mapping out life’s issues. It presents an in-depth development of emotional themes which realistic characters are going through. These characters are trying to deal with dramatic experiences in their lives.

According to Butler and Watt, characters in the play are facing myriads of conflicts that are arising from among themselves, the natural phenomena and society at large (181). Those themes include corruption, violence against women, class division, sexuality and moral dilemmas. Numerous examples of key themes, expression of character and practice have been clearly depicted in the drama A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.

The position of a person based on the established sacred institutions usually indicates an individual’s status in a social group. In addition, social mobility describes the ability of an individual to comfortably fit among the popular people in society. This paper analyses the position of a woman in society, the aspect of social life as well as the importance of responsibility in the drama A Doll’s House.

A brief overview of A Doll’s House

Henrik Ibsen was born in March 1828 in a family of six children (Ibsen 5). His birth took place in skien, Norway. At the age of 23 years, he began working in theatres. By this time, he had written Catiline which was his first five-act tragedy play (Ibsen 15). In 1866, he wrote more dramas such as the Brand and Peer Gynt. In 1878, he wrote the Doll’s House which portrayed the classical tragedies of marriage and marriage institutions, human rights and particularly women’s rights.

It is imperative to note that Henrik Ibsen’s three-act play A Doll’s House is a significant drama which tends to critique the marriage norms and attitudes that were very popular during the 19th century. The drama was composed by Ibsen in 1878. It has characters and themes reflecting the occurrence of tragedies during that period (Ibsen 55). He was drawn by the gender bias that explained the inability among women to stand out in society that was male-dominated.

Standard conventions and adaptations of the time

Gender stereotype in society has been in existence for a long time. In the 19th century, the position of a woman on the male dominated society, her roles and duties in marriage depicted how low they were regarded compared to men. According to Butler and Watt, this was due to the intensively conventional practices and persuasively convincing reference to what the society saw as acceptable at the expense of others (108).

Though these stereotypes were adopted by majority of the people during this period, Ibsen felt that it was wrong. Having married and treated his wife on an equal platform, he felt that such a culture was supposed to be discouraged as it was highly generalized and it gave wrong perceptions on women and discouraged full capacity building among women (Butler and Watt 108).

They are greatly adoptive in different regions of the globe. During the 19th century, the differences between men and women in the society were very critical and the act of marriage was defined in terms of their roles and position in marriage and society (Calasanti and Slevin 16).

In this historic time, the events in the play are relevant to the occurrences in society. According to the events taking place in the life of Nora, she is a feminine gender who has been socially disregarded in society compared to men (Ibsen 65). She was considered to be inferior and thus unable to hold major positions in leadership and even perform any vital role in the community.

Besides, established institutions of this time gave less regard to women in society and denied them chances to head or participate in any major decision making procedures in their communities or marriages. The roles of women as exemplified in the play were described and determined in their absence since they were not allowed to hold major positions in the leadership structures (Ibsen 35). This factor prompted them to sacrifice their roles, a consideration that men could not undertake.

This would assist in saving their marriages and become economically stable. Currently, majority of the third world countries still give preference to male children with the females being denied chances to get better education and facilities. Until recently, reports showed that the practice is still practiced because land and other types of property ownership in certain areas of the world has been a reservation for men only as opposed to women (Calasanti and Slevin 16).

The author’s intent

In their publication, Butler and Watt argue that art has been widely used for artistic purposes as well as for social purposes such as education and acquisition of general knowledge in life skills (67).

Drama has been one of the media being massively used as the key tool in promoting positive attitudes towards different gender while denouncing the stereotypical behaviors. As indicated earlier, Ibsen’s describes a society that was marred by gender issues and conventions that sidelined and oppressed women (Ibsen 45). Male dominance and institutions played the greatest role in spreading stereotypes in society due to its great availability and massive persuasive and convincing power.

Ibsen’s intention was to use his work to shed light on these issues and also educate the society on the importance of treating women in a fair manner. His drama A Doll’s House highlighted several negative attitudes towards women’s roles and the negative outcomes of the gender stereotypes (Ibsen 45). He aimed at showing both sides of the story, the feelings of the womenfolk and the menfolk with regards to their positions and pointed towards the society making informed decision.

Reception of his work and change

One of the key significances of Ibsen’s work of the A Doll’s House is that he wrote it in the middle of the gender issues and appeared to criticize the systems of the that era. His work received varied receptions with many critiquing its role in fighting institutions of marriage.

Over the years, analysts have sought to establish the best method of addressing resistance to change in behavioral studies. In their argument, Butler and Watt pointed out that most plays and drama aimed at changing societal behavior were defined on the basis of the received response strength (47). Response of individuals is often measured through analysis of aspects such as the willingness to adapt to change demands and flexibility.

It is notable that the play received sharp criticism from his community and some analysts who suggested that actual response to change should be used as the correct measure of the employed mechanism. As time passes by, the drama has become widely accepted due to the calls for change by institutions that fight for human and women’s rights.

Besides, democracy as described in the classical theories of change has been a major pillar towards equating the roles of women to those of men. It has acted as a major platform for total participation in all developments in the society. Increasing democratic space for women in various decision making activities and work has been widely accepted as the call of the drama A Doll’s House. This has massively changed the earlier perception that men are unique and hold positions of advantage than women.

Tone, mood, pace and internal thoughts

The play A Doll’ House by Ibsen presents important moods and tones from its stage directions, settings and characters. Analysts indicate that Ibsen sets the moods of the characters in the play by using tones. The pacing and alternate agendas are clearly seen by the symbols such as the Christmas tree and the New Year’s Day, the settings of the residence and the chaos witnessed at the end of the play (Ibsen 45).

One of the attitudes seen by the lack of arguments is misunderstandings at the start and progress of the play. The jovial tones of the characters betray the coming pain and frustrations of gender problems faced by women.

One such expression of joy is witnessed in Nora when she receives the Christmas tree from a young man (Ibsen 75). She expresses happiness at the role of paying for the service given by the young man. According to Ibsen, the settings of this mood as well as the fact that all is well at the house of Helmer creates a cozy and warms feelings in the play (144).

Besides glee, the behavior which Torvald is referring to Nora as his pet or lark creates another mood of shock and disdain among the audience (Ibsen 95). Women are seen to be affected by this type of treatment from men and as such, fail to realize and exploit their main potential in society. In addition, social inequality is being brought out as the main source of internal conflicts.

The reflection of social inequality in the play as expressed by the institutions of marriage acts as a major source of disparagement and depiction of tones used when conversing.

Besides, the play reveals internal thoughts from different characters. One such character is Nora who ends Act One by thoughts that shows she feels she will poison her children by the lies she had been telling in order to save Torvald (Ibsen 65). The thought that Krogstad will reveal her lie to Trovald makes her think suicide thoughts in black water.

From the analysis of the drama, it can be concluded that the author was very keen and focused in addressing the needs and current occurrences in society. While the events in the plot of the play may not necessarily be revealing the extent to which human rights have been violated in society, it is still vivid that an equal platform has hardly be en brought into reality especially when addressing the rights of the female gender.

Annotated Bibliography

Butler, Tim and Paul. Watt. Understanding social inequality. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2007. Print.

The rising levels of inequalities in society present a major problem on the roles and development of women. The book highlights social disparities as a major problem that faced the communities that lived during the 19th century. It raises the concerns that this practice denied women an opportunity to contribute and participate in economic and political matters. The authors lament that the problem may not end soon because certain communities still cling to this practice.

Calasanti, Tony and Kathleen, Slevin. Gender, social inequalities, and aging.Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2001. Print.

This book outlines the emerging reality for many communities, families and households of the gender and social dissimilarities affecting society. The authors are of the perspective that this problem ha over the years been reduced through creation of a centralized consideration of ensuring equality for all genders. They also indicate that creating legislations as means of will act as good option in eradication inequalities.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House (SparkNotes Literature Guide). Bloomsbury: Spark Publishing, 2002. Print.

The book by Ibsen presents a critical analysis of the drama A Doll’s House which carefully navigates readers’ minds on the occurrences in the lives of characters. Particularly, it effectively brings out the interconnectedness of the different characters in accomplishing their needs despite social imbalances. The author seek to provide the answers to serious social inequities issues by indicating that participation of women must be encompassed on a larger framework with an aim of giving all genders an equal platform in all levels.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Rockville, Maryland: Serenity Publishing, 2009. Print.

This book A Doll’s House provides an inclusive review of the scenes of the play in both Act One and Act Two and the major settings, themes and moods of the play. Though written for readers who seek to read the play, it is highly valuable as it digs into historical underpinnings that define the period of the 19th century.

Works Cited

Butler, Tim and Paul, Watt. Understanding social inequality. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2007. Print.

Calasanti, Tony and Kathleen, Slevin,. Gender, social inequalities, and aging.Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2001. Print.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House (SparkNotes Literature Guide). Bloomsbury: Spark Publishing, 2002. Print.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Rockville, Maryland: Serenity Publishing, 2009. Print.

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House: Shmoop literature guide, Sunnyvale, BA: Shmoop University Inc., 2010. Print.

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