How is A Doll's House a modern tragedy?

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jsfritz | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, though written in the late 1800s, is a modern tragedy as it presents a woman's journey towards self-liberation in a patriarchal society. From the opening scene of the play, Nora Helmer's clearly the subordinate in her marriage with Torvald.  Many of his pet names towards her are references to animals which denote that her role in the marriage is a less than human one.  Nora's positioned herself into a doll-like role, as she accommodate Torvald's needs; there is little to no reciprocity.  Nora's desire to help her husband is evident through the debt that she incurred to help nurse him back to health.  As the play progresses, Nora begins to awaken to the possibilities of who she could be as opposed to the doll-like role she current plays in her life with Torvald.  Through Krogstad's blackmail and Torvald's lack of appreciate for who Nora truly is as a person, Nora awakens to a desire to leave and find out who she truly is as a person.  The modern tragedy here begins with the dissolution of the Helmer's marriage; it is the marginal life that Nora must live in order to discover herself.  She must divorce herself from her former, subordinating ties and set out to test her will in a patriarchal society.

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Hajra Talib | Student, Graduate | eNotes Newbie

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A Doll"s House is a modern tragedy because a wife who has always led a conventional kind of life in the household takes a revolutionary step . The step taken by her was a trumpet-call to the women of the day to rise and demand their rights . The message of the play makes it modern in the fullest sense of the word.

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s-ahsan | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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If critically analyzed A Doll's House turns out to be a modern tragic play, as it discusses the womenly tragedy in the male dominating society. Nora's character which is said to be the replica of Ibsen's wife is highly awful. All her sacrifices go futile. she loves her family, and takes disastrous steps just to gain the bliss of her arital life. In the act of doing so she commits frogery and stores her husband's health. Another evidience of her forfeit is that, she accumulates all the money for her sake but in reality she saves it to pay back the installments. From such proofs we come across the truth that women undergo many hardships in life, despite all their struggles their efforts go in vain. This modern genre in contrast to tradition depicts a woman hero who as a result gets collapsed and deceived by the hands of society. Hence, making her realize that her sex is weaker and of no authority. ultimately she surrenders in the hands of the patriarchal society.

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