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Summary of "A Doll's House"

            This is a play written in 1879 by the Norwegian poet and playwright Henrik Ibsen. It conveys the life of "the perfect couple- of the 19th century yet goes into more depth in revealing the troubles and sufferings sometimes found in this ideal lifestyle. When first released, the play was a scandal, shocking audiences, due solely to the fact that it was so correct and truthful. The portrayal of Nora's character was scandalous, for it showed all the characteristics (naiveté and childlike haste) of the ideal middle-class housewife as ways of achieving power and independence; a very shocking aspect to men and women of the 19th century as it was normal for men to be in charge of the household and women to play the role of housewife and not cause any trouble. So shocking was the play, that it was condemned as a degenerate attack upon traditional family values.
             Nora is the main character of the play, the main action and scandal takes place between her and her husband of eight years, Torvald Helmer, a lawyer who has just been promoted to manager in the bank where he works. The other characters that appear include Dr Rank, a good family friend who comes to the house at least once a day; Nils Krogstad, a lawyer who works in the same bank as Torvald; Christine Linde, a school friend of Nora's who has come to visit Nora, hoping to find work; the nurse and Nora and Torvald's three young children. The entire play takes place in Torvald's house over the Christmas period.
             The relationship between Nora and Torvald is a very uneven one. Torvald's tone is that of a father talking to a young child. Ibsen writes typically in a way that the characters might talk in relation to their position and their relationship with each other. For example, it would have been expected at that time for a woman to treat her husband as a superior, to show respect and loyalty to her husband and abide by his rules.

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