A Beautiful and Inconvenient Reality Essay

1373 Words 6 Pages
Henrik Ibsen was a nineteenth century playwright who pioneered realism in drama. He wrote during a time in which very specific gender roles dominated life, especially for women, who found themselves bound to their home and their husbands, lacking a voice of their own. The influence of that society is evident in Ibsen’s works, many of which sought to analyze and critique different aspects of it. Ibsen did not hold back with regard to challenging even the most widely accepted societal norms; this led to many of his plays becoming extremely controversial. Chief among those plays are A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler. However, Ibsen himself said, “A Doll’s House is a social problem play, while Hedda Gabler is merely a problem play.” Though …show more content…
In contrast, men were to be strong-willed breadwinners, honorable people with insights into the complexities of the world, working to provide for their families. These rules were widely accepted and were a huge constraint on the lives of most in the nineteenth century. A Doll’s House is recognized by many as Ibsen’s greatest work. It is a social problem play, and it is also one of Ibsen’s most striking uses of realism, a style that he propelled to the forefront of then-modern drama. Prior to Ibsen, most plays included supernatural elements and had characters speak in verse. He made a point of making his plays very realistic, taking place in everyday settings, portraying events that could plausibly happen anywhere, and including everyday conversation. In addition to being realistic, A Doll’s House contains a large dose of social commentary. In the beginning, we see Nora and Torvald Helmer, a typical nineteenth century couple. They are excited because Torvald has a new job as bank manager; he’ll be able to better provide for them now. Nora is a typical housewife; she spends most of her time taking care of the children, looking pretty, and submitting to Torvald’s will. This submission is starkly symbolized by Torvald calling Nora his “little skylark” (pg. 13) and his “squirrel” (pg. 12) - a practice that contributes to dehumanizing and subjugating her. Nora also has to be sneaky about eating macaroons, as “Torvald had forbidden them” (pg. 25)

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