Where in Ibsen's "A Doll's House" could I find the word "wreck" without any addition to the word, such as "shipwrecked" or "wreckage."   

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, the only reference to "wreck" is found in Act III, when Kristine Linde and Krogstad use an extended metaphor to compare their lives to those of survivors floating in the water after a shipwreck, clinging to the wreckage.

I downloaded the entire play from Project Gutenberg into a Word document. Then I searched for any use of the word "wreck." It was not used in dialogue or even in stage direction. It would appear that the only references in the play are made by Mrs. Linde and Krogstad when they are reunited after years of separation and decide to throw their "lots" together in order to not only survive, but improve their lives, especially in light of the fondness they once shared for each other.

There are a great many other references to damage: when Rank speaks of his disease and impending doom brought on by the destruction his father's wild life has exacted on Dr. Rank's body and health. There is also, of course, Torvald Helmer's accusations that Nora has destroyed his life in her attempts to save him.

However, I cannot find the use of the word "wreck" in any part of the play.

rebeccajeyes's profile pic

rebeccajeyes | eNotes Newbie

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At the beginning of Act Three, Krogstad uses the word "wreck" in the context of "a broken man clinging to the wreck of his life". The whole line reads: "When I lost you, it was just as if the ground had slipped away from under my feet. Look at me now: a broken man clinging to the wreck of his life."

The line is then echoed shortly after by Kristine Linde who states: "You said you were like a broken man clinging to the wreck of his life" and then "And I am like a broken woman clinging to the wreck of her life. Nobody to care about, and nobody to care for."

As the play was originally written in German, translations vary; however my edition (Henrik Ibsen, Four Major Plays, Oxford World's Classics) includes a brief introduction to Ibsen (by James McFarlane in 1961) and a select bibliography, along with three of his other plays, but some other editions may not include the exact word "wreck". 

I've attached a photograph of the page in my edition (excuse my notes).

I hope this has been useful.

Some images are still being reviewed.

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