A Doll’s House Summary – Henrik Ibsen


A Doll’s House, The play written Henrik Ibsen theme, summary and analysis. Information on the A Doll’s House play.

A Doll's House Summary - Henrik Ibsen

A Doll’s House; a play by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. It was a milestone in modern drama, the first serious play about a sigmficant social problem. Written in 1879 and first performed in December of that year at the Royal Theater, Copenhagen, it began the series of skillfully structured, controversial dramas of Ibsen’s “naturalistic” period.

In the “happy” marriage of the Helmers, Torvald, the husband, appears to be a paragon of strength and honesty. Actually, the family is prosperous only because Nora, his wife, once committed a fraud. When the fraud is later exposed, Torvald accuses her of ruining his reputation; when the threat of public exposure evaporates, he regrets his behavior. But Nora, now aware that their marriage is not founded on mutual respect and uııderstanding, leaves her husband, children, and home for an uncertain future of self-discovery.

A Doll’s Home is frequently dismissed as a defense of femininism, centering on the courageous Nora’s search for her human rights. But Ibsen’s thesis is that in a sound marriage, husband and wife must be true to themselves as well as to each other. Both Helmers are dolls— lifelike puppets manipulated by complex social forces that Nora senses but that Torvald does not begin to comprehend even as the curtain falls.

Rolf Fjelde’s English translation of A Doll’s House, in Ibsen: Four Majör Plays (1965), is faithful to Ibsen’s style and meaning. It is also highly readable and actable.


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