A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
Who is Henrik Ibsen? Check out http://www.exploreibsen.com/
Full Text of the play is HERE
“A Doll’s House was not the first of Ibsen’s plays to make enemies for him; but it was the first to spread his reputation as a subversive playwright abroad, and arouse enmity for toward him in foreign lands” – John Gassner
Below are lines from the play. Please respond in brief, complete sentences to these five quotes, in your journal
TASK ONE: Speculate and hypothesize as to the “characteristics” of the speaker. What kind of mentality/personality is exposed? What kind if individual are we dealing with.
TASK TWO: What kind of situation could the character dealing with? Who could they be speaking to? Try to establish a context.
A. “You can just imagine how pleased we are! My husband is to take up his work in the bank at the start of the New Year, and then he will have a big salary and lots of commissions. In the future we can live quite differently–we can do just as we like. I feel so relieved and so happy. It will be splendid to have heaps of money and not need to have any anxiety, won’t it?”
B. “Try and calm yourself, and make your mind easy again, my frightened little singing-bird. Be at rest, and feel secure; I have broad wings to shelter you under. How warm and cosy our home is. Here is shelter for you; here I will protect you like a hunted dove that I have saved from a hawk’s claws; I will bring peace to your poor beating heart. It will come, little by little, believe me. To-morrow morning you will look upon this night all quite differently; soon everything will be just as it was before. Very soon you won’t need me to assure you that I have forgiven you; you will yourself feel the certainty that I have done so. Can you suppose I should ever think of such a thing as repudiating you, or even reproaching you? You have no idea what a true man’s heart is like. There is something so indescribably sweet and satisfying, to a man, in the knowledge that he has forgiven his wife–forgiven her freely, and with all his heart. It seems as if that makes her, as it were, doubly his own; he has given her a new life, so to speak; and she has in a way become both wife and child to him. So you shall be for me after this, my little scared, helpless darling.”
C. “Was there really anything else to understand except what was obvious to all the world: A heartless woman jilts a man when a more lucrative chance turns up? When I lost you, it was as if all the solid ground went out from under my feet. Look at me now–I am a shipwrecked man clinging to a bit of wreckage.”
D. “Yes, someday I will tell him the truth…perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as nice-looking as I am now. Don’t laugh at me! I mean, of course, when he is no longer as devoted to me as he is now; when my dancing and dressing-up have palled on him; then it may be a good thing to have something in reserve.”
E. “Now you have destroyed all my happiness. You have ruined all my future. It is horrible to think of! What a horrible awakening! All these eight years–she who was my joy and pride–a hypocrite, a liar–worse, worse–a criminal! The unutterable ugliness of it all!–For shame! For shame! I ought to have suspected that something of the sort would happen. I ought to have foreseen it. Be Silent! All your father’s want of principle has come out in you. No religion, no morality, no sense of duty. I did everything for your sake, and this is how you repay me!”
Act I. You are in charge of one of the following topics.
1. Characterization. How does Ibsen “build and define” Nora and Torvald as Act I proceeds?
2. Irony. Describe instances of irony (both subtle and overt) that occur in Act I.
3. Foreshadowing and clues. What seeds planted that will bear fruit later in the play? What possible future developments or connections to future actions are foreshadowed in thus far in Act I?
4. Changes and contrast. Consider the beginning of Act I compared to the end. How has the tone and feeling of the play shifted?
For your “A Doll’s House”out of class essay writing, choose one topic from the following. This will be due 2.0 or 1.5 spaced typed, titled, sensibly formatted, printed, stapled –> start of class Friday the 18th of January. Writing rubric applies. Please do not email me your work.
- Deep analysis of any character
- An analytical comparison of two characters
- An analysis of change and transformation throughout the play
- A comparison of the Nora/Torvald relationship with the Linde/Krogstad relationship
- A discussion of power and control issues in the play
- An analysis of Ibsen’s use of symbolism.
Consider the end of the play. In writing, DEFEND or CONDEMN Nora’s actions. You must choose one option and stick with it. Use the comment section below for your response. A paragraph of at least five sentences is needed, as are specifics and examples when defending your position. Post before class Friday