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How can we judge A Doll's House as a problem play?

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anirbanmahato | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted September 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM via web

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How can we judge A Doll's House as a problem play?

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playsthething | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted September 24, 2011 at 3:31 AM (Answer #1)

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A Doll's House is a quintessential problem play.  In it, Ibsen presents the problem of women's place in society.  However, many at the time might not have recognized this as a problem but more as just the way things were.  Ibsen presents the difficulty that women faced because of their lack of power and legal standing.

The character of Nora is first presented as a flighty, superficial person,playing the little "squirrel" for her husband, but we soon see there is more than meets the eye.  Ibsen is masterful at revealing her story, bit by bit.  Because she lacks legal standing, she is forced into the position of committing forgery to save her husband's life.  She then finds herself being blackmailed and at odds with her husband.  Had women the right to borrow money on their own, the whole situation would have been averted.

Nora then has an epiphany of what makes a marriage and what a true partnership might be.  This is very prescient of Ibsen, presenting the idea of a 50/50 relationship between a man and woman.  The audience is left to wonder what becomes of Nora and Torvald.  In this wondering, they may also consider their own thoughts and beliefs about the place of women in society.

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