Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House is a play about a woman who comes to understand that she doesn't necessarily understand anything at all. Or, more specific to Ibsen's plot, it is a play about a woman who is forced to reveal a very precious secret and in doing so discovers that the life she is leading is not necessarily the life she wants and/or needs. Upon first glance, the play seems to be some sort of blackmail caper, where the action all centers around the question of how the protagonist is going to escape the horribly illegal situation in which she has found herself.
[...] In Act Three, after Torvald has read the first Krogstad letter, he says to Nora: “From now on happiness doesn't matter; all that matters is saving the bits and pieces, the appearance.” This is a philosophy that an earlier Nora might have accepted, but after going through all that she has during the course of the play, she can no longer agree with such a sentiment. She can no longer understand herself as a person who could live like that. [...]
[...] I think the given circumstances of A Doll House are presented in such a way that the audience is never even distinctly aware that they are being fed exposition. Much of everything is displayed quite nicely and directly through the use of present action (i.e. the first scene). At the same time, everything is not revealed at once. There is no Greek chorus to come onstage and update the audience as to everything that has ever happened before this present time. [...]
[...] On the other hand, A Doll House might suggest that the world in which she lives is the imaginary, and she is the real. The truth is, the story is about a woman who discovers that she is living a life not of her creation, but rather of a concoction created for her. A Doll's House implies that she is in control of her reality (or lack thereof) and A Doll House implies that she is merely a figure living under the control of the reality (or lack thereof) created for her. [...]
[...] Torvald finds the letter near the end of the play and yells at Nora, telling her she is an unfit mother and while she must stay in the house to keep up appearances she is no longer a welcome presence in his house. Then he happens upon another letter upon which is stated that Krogstad has no intention of revealing the illegal deeds of Nora to anyone because he has found something to live for after all, in Kristine. Torvald immediately takes back what he has said and forgives his wife and feels that everything will be all right again. [...]
[...] For most of the play, all of the characters in A Doll House seem completely preoccupied with how their actions will be perceived by the people around them. This speaks specifically about the society the Helmers live in, and perhaps the society in which Ibsen himself lived. Politically speaking, money and power is the law in the Helmers' town. If you have money then you have power, and if you have power than everyone will look up to you, you will rule. [...]
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