Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 53

Thread: Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House"

  1. #16
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,499
    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    He is corrupted in a medical sense just as the society Nora lives in is corrupted.
    Ibsen perhaps saw Nora, Rank and Torvald as victims of corrupted Norwegian society, subsisting in a doll's house. Certainly Mrs. Linde and Krogstad are society's victims. What's needed in Norway is a stocktaking, followed by a new start, and Mrs. Linde and Krogstad show the way.

    For me a highpoint of A Doll's House is the decision by Mrs Linde, of all people, to let Krogstad's exposé lie in the Helmer letterbox.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  2. #17

    class discussion 4/16 (with tie in)

    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    Even if it were acquired at birth there is still a symbolic significance to his wasting away from disease. In fact, I might even venture that it might be more significant if the disease was inflicted on him with no fault of his own. He is corrupted in a medical sense just as the society Nora lives in is corrupted.
    Thomas C. Foster mentions Ibsen's A Doll House in his own book entitled How to Read Literature Like a Professor. In a chapter of the book that specifically addresses the significance of diseases in novels, Foster suggests that Ibsen included a character of great value to his main players with a scandalous disease, contracted at birth, to illustrate the abiding themes of "intergenerational tensions, responsibilities, and misdeeds" (Foster 221). I also think OrphanPip's idea of Rank's disease relating to society is a key factor in his having a scandalous, incurable (at that time) disease that causes him to waste away and die. Dr. Rank, being a doctor, is the character that readers are least likely to suspect as a syphillis victim. His contracting it, but not at the consequence of his own but his father's actions, represents the decay of the society in which A Doll House is set. In this society the sick are sent to heal the sick, and the secret infirmity is one that can be passed from generation to generation, which highlights a long-standing societal ill. Syphillis is considered an STD today, and, judging from what we know of Rank's father's track record, his father's contracting the disease sexually and passing it to him is a plausible story. The contracting of an STD in modern times is a common thing, but in literature a disease resulting from relations between a man and woman suggests a problem in the way men and women relate in society. Rank's disease could be a physical manifestation of the same problem in Torvald and Nora's home: a flaw in the way men see and use women. This is the bigger picture I think Ibsen was trying to illustrate, the disease acting as yet another illustration of a bigger problem: that society's view of women and how such a deluded view led to the poisoned minds (and bodies) of men.

  3. #18
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,499
    Quote Originally Posted by OlutomilolaAsa7 View Post
    This is the bigger picture I think Ibsen was trying to illustrate, the disease acting as yet another illustration of a bigger problem: that society's view of women and how such a deluded view led to the poisoned minds (and bodies) of men.
    If the play before, Pillars of Society, and the play after, Ghosts, are any guide, Ibsen's target is wider than society's deluded 'view of women' and includes the petty-minded mediocrity of those with power and the appeasing behaviour of underlings, whether through ignorance (Nora) or through collusion (Dr Rank).
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  4. #19
    Hey...I'm not really answering the original question or responding to another comment. These are mostly responses to a post on another thread that I moved here because this thread actually concerns A Doll House.

    (This first comment is in response to someone mentioning that the play being set at New Year's was ironic)

    Personally, I find the fact that it takes place at New Year's quite straightforward and not exactly ironic. The closing of the story fits perfectly with the idea of a new year. Nora leaves on New Year's to start over again, and New Year's is a chance for everyone to start anew. In fact, her declarations to Torvald are almost reminiscent of a New Year's Resolution. I think New Year's is the absolute ideal setting for the novel.

  5. #20
    (This comment is in response to someone discussing the use of clothes in the play)

    The clothes also interested me in the play.

    I agree that the clothes further the image of Nora being a doll played with by a controlling husband. I mean, her husband even orders her costume for a party. I think it's fascinating that it arrives tattered; it as almost like it has been played with too roughly by a child, possibly shaken about and ripped because of rough overuse. Torvald at times reminds me of that creepy boy in Toy Story who plays a bit to rough with his toys; while he is not violent with Nora, he uses her as a doll and does whatever he wishes with her. Perhaps if she stayed with him long enough, he might have gotten a bit nastier; his nasty side is hinted to when Nora mentions that he did not tolerate her old friends.

    I also find her shawl very interesting and might use it in my World Lit. Paper. For a play with such few props, ones that are noted more than once are most likely important. It even is mentioned being used in actions in a play that involves very little stage direction. Nora seems to shield herself with the simple shawl. It is one of the few things that she takes out of the house with her. The shawl has done a better job of protecting her than her over-bearing husband.

  6. #21
    Okay, this will be my final post for the day...and this one is of my own inspiration.

    Krogstad. What a character. Ask anyone and they'll tell you that I'm pretty quick to defend most villians in novels. I am the girl in English who likes the characters that everyone hates...and I'm quite sure that this general rule applies to A Doll House as well.

    At first I was rather disgusted by Krogstad. He is a very slimy character that is a bit difficult to swallow, somewhat like cough medicine. Then as the play progressed, little bits of information were given about him. Turns out that Krogstad isn't too much different than Nora, the heroine. We see his sins first hand unlike with Nora whose "sins" we just hear about in her conversations. However, both characters have the same motivation - their family. I think it's unfair to hate Krogstad when he is just doing what he has to to helps his kids. He's desperate and does some not so nice things...however, the same goes for Nora. She lies and manipulates, and, in the end, she leaves her family. True, I made that sound a whole lot worse than the play does, but it does need to be noted that she does those things.

    Does anyone else have comments about Krogstad?

  7. #22
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,499
    Quote Originally Posted by captlillyhook View Post
    her declarations to Torvald are almost reminiscent of a New Year's Resolution
    Quote Originally Posted by captlillyhook View Post
    The shawl has done a better job of protecting her than her over-bearing husband.
    Having read all but his early plays, I'm convinced that nothing in an Ibsen play is merely incidental. He weaves an intricate, iridescent spider's web.

    Quote Originally Posted by captlillyhook View Post
    I think it's unfair to hate Krogstad when he is just doing what he has to to helps his kids. He's desperate and does some not so nice things...however, the same goes for Nora. She lies and manipulates, and, in the end, she leaves her family.
    I agree. Society traps and deals harshly with both of them. Krogstad forges for his family just like Nora but, unlike her, he is punished and disgraced. However, Ibsen shows us Krogstad through society's eyes!
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  8. #23
    Now that we are currently studying A Doll House, I want to discuss the symbols that I found in Ibsen's play.

    1). Candle: I think of the candle as a passage of time. At the beginning of Act II, the setting has changed where the christmas tree is out and the candles on the tree are droopy and old. The melting candles remind me of the timer with the sand that falls from one sphere into the other when flipped. The candles represent the lapsing time that Nora has until "something extraordinary happens." At the end of Act II, Nora says she has 31 hours left. The candles foreshadow the time until her 31 hours is up--I am thinking it as to do with suicide or her leaving the household. Something else that we touched on in class was how the candles now show how initially, it seemed pretty on the outside, but on the inside, it is not as good as it seems--a parallel to the Victorian lifestyle potrayed in this play. However, for the candle, I think the time symbolism fits better than the Victorian representation.

    2). New Years: The play takes place around Christmas Eve, Christmas, and therefore, the approaching new year. I find this ironic because close at the end of Act III, Nora leaves Helmer because of her realization of his selfishness and realization of the flaws with the society. I think setting this play during New Years symbolizes the transformation of the new life that Nora will be living--representing the development of a new lifestyle that finally departs from the Victorian society.

    3). Clothes: I may by stretching this one, but I think for some of the scenes, the clothes can be seen as symbols. Nora's costume ties in with "Doll House" title. As we read Act III, Nora begins to reference to her relationship with her father and Helmer as herself being the doll and playtoy to her husband and father. The whole costume and dress up aspect further emphasizes how Nora is the doll that is dressed up by Helmer. This also shows how the husband during this era was in complete control of the house and how the wife was completely submissive and was only a trophy to the husband.

    Any other thoughts, comments, arguments? Please feel free to share! I would love to hear your input
    mummu(:

  9. #24
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,499
    Quote Originally Posted by mummu:) View Post
    I think of the candle as a passage of time.
    Candles in 1870's Norway were just a form of lighting and, of course, Christmas tree decoration. As lighting, they would have provided a natural measure of passing time. I doubt that Ibsen intended anything symbolic here. 'The Christmas Tree is in the corner by the piano, stripped of its ornaments and with burnt-down candle-ends on its dishevelled branches' indicates that this has not been the joyous Christmas that Nora long anticipated.

    Quote Originally Posted by mummu:) View Post
    The play takes place around Christmas Eve, Christmas, and therefore, the approaching new year...I think setting this play during New Years symbolizes the transformation of the new life that Nora will be living
    The Christmas season apes the mood of the play. Christmas Eve is a time of hope and anticipation (Nora finally pays off her debt to Krogstad), Christmas Day a time of celebration (but not for Nora), the New Year a time for a new start (for Nora...and for Torvald?).

    Quote Originally Posted by mummu:) View Post
    Nora's costume ties in with "Doll House" title.
    The obsession with clothes is Torvald's.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  10. #25
    Also, in my version of the Ibsen's play, the title is A Doll House (not possessive). Throughout the play, Nora is shown to be very similar to a doll by the fact that she was always dressed up into different costumes and forced into different activities such as dancing. Nora herself reiterates this connection when she states, "He (Nora's father) used to call me his doll child, and play with me as I played with me dolls. Then I can to live in your (Torvald's) house." From the passage it is apparent that Nora lived an inferior life where she was always controlled by a man. Similar to dolls, Nora was powerless to do anything herself and was always expected to receive permission of the owner of the doll house she lived in. Thus it is significant that the translator made the the title non-possessive as it demonstrates that due to Nora's inferior status in society, she was not able to be in possession of a house. The doll, Nora, was merely a toy whose actions, clothes, etc was to be completely controlled her father or husband. However, even though Nora was expected to be a doll by society, Nora had other desires for herself. Nora was becoming self aware and desiring independence from the doll house since her early marriage: "I locked myself in and sat writing every evening till late in the night. Ah, I was tired so often, dead tired. But still, it was wonderful fun, sitting and working like that, earning money. It was almost like being a man." Even though it was the man's duty to work and bring home money, Nora took up the responsibility of taking and paying back her loan in order to save her husband's life. Through this process, she was able to discover something new about herself. She learned that she enjoyed working, gaining money, and having responsibilities outside the home. She did not want to be an inferior doll be instead she wanted to be of an equal status to a man. Little by little, Nora was becoming self aware and independent which allowed her to "take off [her] doll's dress" and finally leave the house in order to fully discover herself.
    Through the title and the play, it is apparent that both the translator and Ibsen are expressing their concerns about the position of women in society. Both the translator and Ibsen demonstrate that women have an inferior role in society which took away their independence. However, Ibsen expresses the new yet slow societal changes occurring during his time period. Even though women were still seen to be properties of males, women had different opinions and there was a rise in women's movements during the late nineteenth century. In his play, Ibsen embraces these new ideas and portrays women's rights to individuality.
    What do you all think?

  11. #26
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,499
    Quote Originally Posted by Fire101 View Post
    Even though women were still seen to be properties of males, women had different opinions and there was a rise in women's movements during the late nineteenth century. In his play, Ibsen embraces these new ideas and portrays women's rights to individuality.
    I am reluctant to agree. This play is more about men and women trapped in a society lacking integrity. Mrs Linde lets the letter lie, Krogstad is redeemed, Rank succumbs, and Nora boldy acts. The big question at the end of the play is: What of Torvald?
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  12. #27

    The Women surrounding Nora's Transformation

    This post is of my own inspiration in looking back on Act III of A Doll House.

    This Act, besides being the final Act of the play, has alot of significance as it is the first time that Nora, Torvald's doll, is removed from the room she occupies for most of the play. In her stead, Mrs. Linde becomes the leading female figure of the room, and readers are given the opportunity to learn more about her and her connection to the haunting Krogstad. It is clear from the beginning that Mrs. Linde is a lot more independent than Nora, as life has taught her to be, but it is interesting to find out that her independence goes back further in her history. Through the dialogue that Mrs. Linde has with Krogstad - in which she reminds an accusatory Krogstad that "we couldn't wait for you, Nils; you had such a long road ahead of you then" (Ibsen 95) - it becomes clear that she made the decision to abandon her plans of uniting with Krogstad, despite her love for him, for her own sake and the sake of her family. Kristine's ability to make this decision stems from a knowledge, love, and respect for self that Nora does not have. We see this same self awareness in Nora's own mother figure, nurse Anne-Marie, who had to abandon her own daughter in the hopes of providing a better life for herself. Kristine's self-respect is something that Ibsen suggests will be carried into her final union with Krogstad - even when Krogstad asks her to give up her position, she sums up her stance in saying, "Anyone who's sold herself for somebody else once isn't going to do it again" (Ibsen 95).

    The presence of such self-aware and strong-willed women around her makes Nora's ultimate transformation seem somewhat overdue and inevitable.

    I wonder what could have been Ibsen's motive in having these women around Nora. Even though they reaffirm the existence of the societal ideals that constrict Nora, both Kristine and Anne-Marie's lives and choices reflect the radical ideas that Nora herself professes at the play's end. Could Ibsen have allowed these women to be around Nora as catalysts for her change? To what degree does Kristine's presence around Nora, along with Nora's dialogue with Anne-Marie, influence her ultimate transformation from Torvald's doll to a real woman?

    Also I wonder what kind of doll Ibsen envisioned Nora to be. A rag doll perhaps? I think maybe a marionette, as her movement and being under Torvald's control bring up visions of the Von Trap family and their yodeling marionette dols.... hmmmmmmmmm

  13. #28
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,499
    Quote Originally Posted by OlutomilolaAsa7 View Post
    ... [Mrs. Linde] made the decision to abandon her plans of uniting with Krogstad, despite her love for him, for her own sake and the sake of her family. Kristine's ability to make this decision stems from a knowledge, love, and respect for self that Nora does not have.
    To be fair to Nora, she married in circumstances decidedly more favourable than those confronting the young Christine Linde. And like Linde, the young, forging Nora risked much early in life for family.

    Quote Originally Posted by OlutomilolaAsa7 View Post
    The presence of such self-aware and strong-willed women around her makes Nora's ultimate transformation seem somewhat overdue and inevitable.
    Nora's 'transformation' is triggered almost exclusively by the staggering shock of learning, after years of expectation, that Torvald was not going, was never going, to take the blame for her forgery. She learns that Torvald is not a sacrificial lamb; he's no Jesus Christ. Mrs Linde, in declining to retrieve Krogstad's letter, is merely the catalyst for Nora's transformation.

    Quote Originally Posted by OlutomilolaAsa7 View Post
    Even though they reaffirm the existence of the societal ideals that constrict Nora, both Kristine and Anne-Marie's lives and choices reflect the radical ideas that Nora herself professes at the play's end.
    Nora's idea to forge her dying father's signature is just as radical, even though Nora scarcely perceived the risk. All three women are compelled to play the hand that life and society deals them. Through these women, Ibsen critiques the Norwegian society he had recently abandoned.

    Quote Originally Posted by OlutomilolaAsa7 View Post
    Also I wonder what kind of doll Ibsen envisioned Nora to be.
    I think simply a plaything, a bauble, a toy.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  14. #29

    Class Discussion/ Addressing: "What of Torvald?"

    In the copy of A Doll House that our class used, the translator Rolf Fjelde makes an interesting point in the forward: "It is crucial...to note that whereas the play begins with Nora, and in time Torvald appears, after the action has run its course Nora withdraws, and the play ends with Torvald. The balance is significant" (Fjedle 24). Fjelde points this out in his attempt to discount the general notion that A Doll House (which is how he has translated the title) is a feminist play. He instead argues that the play is about the revolution of the marital relationship between husband and wife. So where Nora has to strike out on her own in order to discover herself, Torvald has to lose Nora in order to realize that all of his notions of marriage and their relationship is strictly based on societal expectations and constraints. In class today, we discussed passages that exemplified the new role of men and women versus the traditional role of men and women. Although there are plenty of passages that show the traditional and new role of women, there isn't too much about men. However, towards the end of the play, when Torvald is pleading with Nora to stay, he tells her, "I have the strength to make myself over" (Act III, line will vary based on text). This statement shows that to a degree, Torvald is willing to actually work to make Nora stay, although whether his promise would have held true or not is debatable, and is never realized. He also asks her, "But couldn't we live here like brother and sister--" (Act III), which further implies his willingness to change in order to make her stay. In class we discussed that although the relationship between brother and sister is not equal, it is more equal than the relationship between father and daughter or man and wife. In fact, the relationship between man and wife is expected to be more of a father daughter relationship. Torvald blatantly states this when he is "forgiving" Nora for committing forgery: "For a man there's something indescribably sweet and satisfying in knowing he's forgiven his wife--and forgiven her out of a full and open heart. It's as if she belongs to him in two ways now: in a sense he's given her fresh into the world again, and she's become his wife and his child as well. From not on that's what you'll be to me--you little, bewildered, helpless thing." (Act III). Therefore, when Torvald is asking Nora to live with him as brother and sister, one could interpret it as him making an attempt to concede some sort of power to her, but again, whether he actually would have is never shown. Although Ibsen does not give much instruction as to what the role of the "new man" should be in his play, he recreates the role of the man through recreating the role of the woman. It is implied that when Nora asks Torvald to sit down and talk about the situation, that if their relationship was more equal, Torvald would listen to Nora and talk it over with her. Also, when Torvald finds out about the letter, instead of throwing a temper tantrum, a more appropriate response could have been to talk about the situation with Nora and decide how to resolve it (which would be completely opposite of what Nora expected as well--considering she expected Torvald to take all of the blame and be her knight in shining armor). I do agree with the translator in that the play is about redefining the marital relationship, and not just the woman's role, but I think Ibsen focuses on the woman's role more than the man's because the woman is the victim, and therefore must stand up to her oppressor. I'm really not sure if this provides much insight at all, but I’d like to come back to it.

    I would also like to discuss the role of Mrs. Linde in Act 3. First of all, she frustrates me a great deal. Although I realize that the truth would not have come out so soon without her, and she probably had the best intentions when asking Krogstad not to recall the letter, I think she should have had more regard for her friend's right to tell her husband about her own affairs herself. In a sense, Mrs. Linde is almost playing with Nora like a doll. Really, the end is completely based on Mrs. Linde's request for Krogstad to let Torvald read the letter, and if she hadn't, things would have continued on. Granted, Nora and Torvald's relationship would have deteriorated and eventually the truth would have come out, but I still don't feel like it was Mrs. Linde's place to make that decision for Nora. I also think it is significant that Mrs. Linde makes this decision, because it shows that Nora truly has no control over her situation at all, at least, until she takes control of it in the end by leaving. I also understand that in order for Nora to leave her husband and shock the audience at the end of the play, Torvald had to find out one way or another. And I guess it really just required someone else to tell him, because Nora probably would have kept the lie going because she really did not realize how bad her situation was until the "great miracle" of Torvald taking the blame didn't happen. So I am talking in circles, but I am still perturbed by Mrs. Linde's actions against her supposed "friend." It also annoys me that she went off with Krogstad, who is definitely the slimiest character in the play and the most manipulative. To a degree, I think Torvald is unaware of how cruel his treatment is to Nora, because he is true a product of society, but Krogstad is all too aware of what he is doing. Although Krogstad reveals early in the play that his reputation was ruined for committing forgery, just as Nora did, I think Krogstad probably did it more out of a grab for power and money that in an effort to protect his family. I believe Nora is vindicated in her forgery because of its intention. When she is talking to Torvald in the end about her confusion about life's moral questions she says, "I just know I see them so differently from you, I find out, for one thing, that the law's not at all what I'd thought--but I can't get it through my head that the law is fair. A woman hasn't a right to protect her dying father or save her husband's life! I can't believe that" (Act III).

  15. #30

    Nora's self-awareness

    The entire last part of act III is about Nora's progression toward self-awareness and her expressing this to her husband.

    This is seen in the passage when Nora says, " You don't understand me. And I've never understood you either--until tonight. No, don't interrupt. You can just listen to what I say. We're closing out accounts, Torvald... We've been married now eight years. Doesn't it occur to you that this is the first time we two, you and I, man and wife, have ever talked seriously together?" (Act iii 108-109).
    I found this passage significant because it shows the shift of power that has occurred once Nora realized her position, and decided to change it. This is the first scene in which Nora truly stops listening to Torvald and makes him listen to her, showing that she is now a new woman and not the traditional housewife that she had always been.

    Nora's entire life before her self-awareness can be seen as a doll's life in a doll house. The title A DOLL HOUSE is significantly different from other translations that say A DOLL'S HOUSE, because the prior one refers to the entire household as a place in which everything is just perfect and right. The latter one implies that Nora, or somebody else specifically, is like a doll, rather than referring to the entire place as one.

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Wanted : Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt!!!
    By MonicaGabriella in forum Book & Author Requests
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-26-2007, 04:24 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •