Ibsen's A Doll's House was first published in 1879 and performed the same year. The play centers on the Helmer family. When an outsider threatens to expose one of Nora Helmer's past acts, Nora's illusions about marriage and loyalty are shattered. This play is an early work portraying female independence.
Swedish playwright August Strindberg was a contemporary of Ibsen. His play Miss Julie is one of his most outstanding works. It centers on Julie, an aristocrat young woman who has a brief affair with her father's valet. In it, Strindberg combines dramatic naturalism with his own conception of psychology. With such works, Strindberg helped develop Expressionist drama in Europe.
George Bernard Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession (1898) centers on a young woman's discovery that her mother's rise from poverty was through prostitution, and that her mother still holds financial interests in several brothels. Learning these unpleasant truths forces the young woman to reevaluate her relationship with her mother and others.
Irish playwright John Millington Synge also dealt with unsentimental studies of the character of his people. His 1907 comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, like The Wild Duck, was initially unpopular with local audiences, but has since won widespread acceptance as a masterpiece. It centers of a young Irishman whose self-reported murder of his father earns him much admiration.