A Doll's House Questions and Answers
by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House book cover
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What is the genre of A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This play fits securely within the genre of Realism. It takes as its subject characters who seem quite realistic and commonplace, who do realistic things and suffer in common ways. People are not idealized and life is not easy, but it is rather full of conflicts and heartaches and disappointments. We have Dr. Rank, for example, who suffers from some apparently fatal affliction, and he nurses a heart broken because he loves Nora Helmer and she does not love him in return. We have Nora, as well, a woman who breaks the law in order to save her husband, and she is repaid with his insults and distrust when he discovers her actions. Then there is Nora's husband, Torvald, a man who is a product of his time, who embodies and dramatizes the problems created in relationships when men and women are not equal under the law. He loses the life that he knows, the wife that he purports to love, and he does not understand why. These kinds of details help to establish the play as a Realist one.

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Valentine England eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House is classified as both a naturalistic problem play and a modern tragedy.

In the realm of theatre, naturalism is a movement which chooses to reject the outdated and over-romanticized precepts of the dramatic genre in favor of creating a realistic study of human behaviors in meaningful conflicts. In A Doll's House, this approach is taken in order to critique the expectations of marriage in the 1800's and to examine the role of self-discovery in the course of human life. It does so by dramatically depicting the home life of a family in the throes of personal and financial crisis. 

The play is, of course, referred to as a tragedy because of the classic "unhappy" ending; in this case, the dissolution of Nora and Torvald's marriage after Torvald refuses to accept Nora's desire to escape the social and gender confinements that have left her feeling like a plaything in the hands of her father and husband. 

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