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A Doll's House

Henrik Ibsen

Date of publication: 1879

A Doll's House, written two years after The Pillars of Society, was the first of Ibsen's plays to create a sensation and is now perhaps his most famous play, and required reading in many secondary schools and universities. The play was highly controversial when first published, as it is sharply critical of 19th Century marriage norms. It follows the formula of well-made play up until the final act, when it breaks convention by ending with a discussion, not an unravelling. It is often called the first true feminist play, although Ibsen denied this.

Plot Introduction

The play opens as Torvald Helmer is soon to begin a higher, and better-paid, position at his job. His wife Nora's friend Christine Linde, recently widowed and short of money, has heard about this promotion and comes to ask Nora for help in persuading Torvald to give her (Christine) a job. Nora promises to ask Torvald to give Christine a position. Nora confides to Christine that she once secretly borrowed money to save Torvald's life when he was very ill, but she has not told him in order to protect his pride. She then took secret jobs copying papers by hand, which she carried out secretly in her room, and learned to take pride in her ability to earn money "as if she were a man." Torvald's impending promotion promises to finally liberate her from having to scrimp and save in order to be able to pay off her debt. However, she has continued to play the part of the frivolous, scatter-brained child-wife for the benefit of her husband.

(From Wikipedia, description text under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL))

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