Ibsen's naturalism close reading

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IB ENGLISH – IBSEN’S NATURALISM:
CLOSE READING
STRUCTURE
1. IN WHAT WAYS IS A DOLL’S HOUSE COMPARABLE TO ARISTOTLE’S PLAY POETICS AND
HOW DOES IT CONTRAST WITH THIS TYPE OF DRAMA?
Similarities
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Small number of characters
Unchanging scene
Unified by single plot
Differences
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Doll’s house takes place over 60 hours,
longer than classical short period of time
of 24 hours
Doll’s house – 3 Acts not 5
2. THE AUTHOR OF THIS COMMENTARY REFERS TO THE EXTENSIVE USE OF THE DEVICE
OF PARALLEL SITUATIO N. SPECIFICALLY, WHAT ASPECTS OF THE PLAY’S STRUCTURE ARE
EXAMPLES OF THIS DEVICE AND SUCCEED IN HIGHLIGHTING NORA’S P REDICAMENT?
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Parallel situation is used to shed light on Nora’s central predicament
Mrs. Linde’s character contrasted with Nora, a contrast that Nora wishes to remove through confiding
in her about the hardships that have occurred in the past eight years
As the play progresses Mrs Linde flees from the cold emptiness of the world outside and Nora’s
prepares to exile herself
3. DEFINE “RETROSPECTIVE METHOD OF SITUATION AND CHARACTER DELINEATION” IN
YOUR OWN WORDS AND GIVE EXAMPLES OF IBSEN’S USE OF THIS TECHNIQUE IN THE
PLAY
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Retrospective method of situation and character delineation is where the influence of the past on the
present is carefully explored, where the sins of the past contrast with the calm, comfort of the
present presents the depiction of the characters more convincingly
Example – Nora’s playful extravagance is “established in the opening scene as her dominant trait is
gradually demonstrated to be a mask she employs as and when she sees fit”, as her secret is slowly
revealed, the audience discover the true complexity of her nature (just as how one learns about other
people as time progresses, as more time is spent with them, and more is learnt about that person)
4. WHAT ARE THE COINCIDENCES AND THE REVELATIONS (DEAL WITH THEM
SEPARATELY) THAT EXIST IN THE PLAY AND HOW DO THEY LEAD TO OUTCOMES THAT
ARE NOT TYPICAL OF T HE “WELL-MADE” PLAY?
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Coincidence: Mrs. Linde turns up – represented as a figure of hope for Nora’s situation, appears to be
able to bring a happy ending through her influence on Krogstead
Revelations: Kristina advises Krogstead to let Torvald find out the truth, Krogstead returns IOU and
lets Torvald know about Nora’s crime
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Outcomes not typical of “well-made” play – no “comforting solutions to offer”, contrary to
conventional hopes and attitudes
5. IDENTIFY THE TYPICAL SITUATIONS AND STOCK TYPES THAT THE AUDIENCES WOULD
HAVE RECOGNISED IN T HIS PLAY AND DISCUSS IBSEN’S UNORTHODOX USE OF THESE
STEREOTYPES
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Eternal triangle – Nora, Torvald and Dr Rank, leading audience to suppose that Nora has earned her
money through a sexual liaison with Dr Rank
Stage villain – Krogstead, but his villainy is mitigated by his genuine despair of being deserted by Mrs
Linde and his desire for social acceptability
Woman with a past – Mrs Linde reveals that it isn’t a bad past, but full of dutiful, conventionally
praiseworthy acts instead of the “dark deeds” we may have expected
LANGUAGE
6. BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE CONTENT OF NORA’S SEVEN MONOLOGUES, ARRANGING
THEM CHRONOLOGICALLY. WHAT ARE THE INDICATIONS THAT THEY ARE INDICATIVE OF
A GROWING TORMENT?
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Page 155 – Nora talks about the work that she had to do to earn money to pay back her loan to
Krogstead, she explains how Torvald fell ill due to his overwork and how it was mandatory that they
go south to a warmer climate
Page 161 – Nora talks about when or if she will tell Torvald about her loan, and how it was she who
saved his life, and then Nora asks Kristina if she’s still “no use”, then she talks about “quarterly
payments and instalments” as if she knows about the world of commerce (and she’s trying to show
off to Kristina), and how she’s been saving all the money that her husband has given her to try to pay
the loan, and how hard it was not having the money to spend for herself
Page 162 – Nora explains to Kristina that there really wasn’t any gentleman to give her the money – it
was just wishful thinking, then she talks about how all her troubles will be over and she dreams about
having no more worries, and being able to spoil her children and have up-to-date things in the house
– spring is nearing (spring = new births, new life – a new life for Nora)
Page 181 – Nora is walking around restlessly, she thinks that someone is coming (Krogstead?) but
dismisses the notion for it is Christmas day and “no-one would come today”, she checks the letterbox
and declares that there isn’t anything there, she doesn’t think that Krogstead could ever tell Torvald
about her forgery
o Indicative of growing torment – unfinished sentences, trailing off (“but perhaps...”), short
sentences, sense of anxiety and despair
Page 182 – Nora talks about how if only she dared to go out, and that she doesn’t think that anyone
would come, but she mustn’t think about it
o Unfinished sentences, random interjections (suggests how clouded and distracted her mind
is), exclaims to herself, trails off
Page 229 – (after Torvald finding out about her crime) Nora talks about how she was expecting the
miracle to come where Torvald is willing to sacrifice his honour to save her, but it never came
Page 230 – Nora describes how Torvald is not the man who she thinks to whom she can bind herself,
she tells him about he reacted to the situation and how he was only concerned about his welfare, not
Nora’s, she comes to the conclusion that she’s been living with a stranger for eight years
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7. HOW DOES THE REGISTER OF HELMER, NORA, MRS LINDE AND KROGSTEAD REFLECT
ON THEIR SOCIAL CLASS AND PERSONALITY?
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Helmer: his speech reinforces his paternalism and sense of importance, use of endearments such as
“little skylark” shows his views towards Nora, his “playful friendliness is often insulting”, lecturing
tone establishes his view of himself in the minds of the audience
Nora: “genteel” exclamatory expressions such as “Pooh”, diminutive expressions such as “just a tiny
bit”, short phrases within a series of questions and exclamations, alternates between wheedling and
assertiveness, shows her lively and excitable nature, when she leaves Helmer she reveals her
emerging self-awareness through her use of declarative sentences – “I have another duty which is
equally sacred” - page 100
Mrs Linde: speaks directly to the point, often sounds bitter and cold, words reveal a “collected,
resolved mind of its own opinions”, uses ready-made phrases without any hint of indirectness, means
what she says
Krogstead: manner of speech shows his “legal training in sequences of questions”, talks about himself
in an “ironically humble fashion”, indicates a degree of self-contempt, seems to blame others for his
low status in society, sometimes threatening and openly disrespectful, uses his skill of words to try to
frighten Nora
STAGING
8. FROM THE DESCRIPTION, SKETCH THE SET OF THE OPENING SCENE IN THE PLAY
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Already done in class time
9. WHICH ACTIONS AND WHICH PROPS SYMBOLISE HER ENTRAPMENT IN THIS SETTING
AND HOW?
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Nora rarely settles, rather she paces the floor as if she is some animal trapped in a cage
Whenever she feels threatened, she retreats to the stove – warmth represents the security that she
craves
Christmas tree – originally a miserable, bare tree that has been decorated and turned lively
symbolising the renewal of life and family happiness, she concentrates on decorating it to blot out her
anxieties – Nora is, essentially, the tree for she is trapped underneath the decorations and clothes
used as a facade to hide her true feelings – she is trapped within the social norms
10. IN YOUR OWN WORDS EXPLAIN THE SYMBOLISM INHERENT IN THE MACAROON
PROP
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Symbolises rebellion – Nora’s not meant to have them but she has them anyway, she behaves as if
she’s a naughty child when she eats them behind Torvald’s back
Symbolise lying and deceit – how lying comes so easily to her (“yes, but these are some that Kristina
gave me” – page 166)
Symbolise how Nora is truly a doll and a child to Torvald – he thinks that they will “spoil [her] teeth”
and spoil her image – she has to remain the perfect, pretty doll
Symbolises how Torvald is like a parent to her – he does not allow her to eat these sweets as he
would do with a child (parent’s authority)
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11. THIS WRITER POINTS OUT THE USE OF UNREALISTIC LIGHTING ON THE SET IN
CONTRAST TO THE REALISM OF THE SET ITSELF. IN THIS WRITER’S VIEW WHAT IS THE
STRENGTH OF THE LIGHTING USED BY IBSEN? (AS GLEANED FROM THE STAGE
DIRECTIONS AND DIALOGUE)
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“Essentially unrealistic use of lighting to counterpoint and reinforce the reactions of his characters”
Nora calls for the lamp (page 68) – the light chases away more than the physical gloom of the room
Nora to Dr Rank “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, now that the lamp’s been lit?” (page 69) – equating
his declaration of love with deeds of darkness, even though she was prepared to exploit his love for
her own purposes (gaining money from him to pay off her loan to Krogstead)
12. HOW ARE CLOTHES, COLOUR AND DANCE USED AS SYMBOLS IN THE PLAY
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Tarantella – symbolic action of the play, Nora attempts to use it to prevent Torvald taking Krogstead’s
letter from the box by staging a rehearsal of this “wild dance”, used by Ibsen to illuminate the pathos
and irony of Nora’s dilemma: the tarantella was originally performed by those who were victims of
the tarantula (a supposedly venomous spider) – emotional power of the play
Shawls (colour) – visual symbolism, Nora wears a “long multicoloured shawl” (page 77) when
rehearsing the tarantella, but when she performs it at the party she wears a “large black shawl” (page
84) – differences in appearances are crucial in significance: coloured shawl embodies a desire to cling
onto the many delights of life, black shawl conceals the colourful Italian fancy-dress costume
Taking off costumes – at the end when Nora reappears to tell Torvald that she’s leaving him, she has
removed her fancy-dress: symbolically taking off her façade of being a doll and putting aside her
world of child-like play; there are no more illusions – she will now discover her new identity
13. ACCORDING TO THIS ARTICLE THE DOOR IS A PROP USED AS A RECURRING IMAGE
IN THE PLAY. HOW MANY REFERENCES TO THE DOOR ARE THERE AND WHAT IS THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE DOOR AND PARTICULAR THEMES?
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Nearly 40 references to the doors opening and closing in the stage directions and dialogue in the play
The play begins with a door opening and ends with a door slamming shut
Imagery relates to themes of caged and free animals, to open and to closed possibilities, potentiality
for change and its impossibility, sense of choices freely made and choices irrevocably determined by
heredity and by social and environmental pressures, symbolic of a doll’s house
CHARACTERS
14. HOW DOES IBSEN E STABLISH NORA AS THE “PERFECT BOURGEOIS WIFE” IN THE
OPENING SCENES OF THE PLAY?
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Laden with parcels from a shopping excursion
Wrapped in furs
Over tipped porter
Girlish extravagance – desire to spend Helmer’s higher salary straight away
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15. NORA IS ACCUSED OF DELIBERATELY IGNORING THE REALITY OF HER MARRIAGE
AND HER RELATIONSHIP WITH TORVALD. WHICH EVENTS AND BEHAVIOURS SUPPORT
THIS ALLEGATION?
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Nora intuitively apprehends the nature of her marriage
She may seem superficially silly, but if she tells Helmer the truth, it would “completely wreck [their]
relationship. This life [they have] built together would no longer exist” (page 36), she deliberately
refrains from thinking or talking about the reality of her situation, her responses are rendered
ambiguously complex due to the awareness which she chooses to repress
Further revealed in Nora’s conversation with Dr Rank in Act 2 – her seemingly insensitive reception of
the news of his imminent death (as it makes it more difficult for her to ask him to pay off the debt) is
then followed by clumsy flirtation, becomes obvious that Nora’s interaction with others has rested
upon – let alone understand – how her actions might affect other people, what upsets her is not the
fact that Rank loves her but the fact that it makes it impossible for her to feign ignorance of the
impact of her conduct – she’d rather cling selfishly to behaviour that she has delighted in from
childhood as her only means of escaping the paternalism of her father and husband that infantilise
her
16. HOW IS IT THAT NORA’S DECISION TO LEAVE HER CHILDREN COULD BE LESS OF A
TRAUMA TO HER FAMILY THAN TO HER CHILDREN TODAY?
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Interlude with children shows Nora in the role of the mother, but a mother whose love reveals itself
in the form of a play
th
A mother in a middle class, 19 century family was not concerned with the day-to-day care of the
children, what they ate and wore, how they learnt and how they interacted with other people’s
decision was the nanny’s concern
Far less disruptive and potentially damaging to her children than in today’s society, but that doesn’t
mean that it would be any less shocking to contemporary audiences
17. THE POSES THAT NORA IS ACCUSED OF AD OPTING
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With Torvald – child-wife who uses her sexuality to get her own way and is pleased to be protected
and pampered
With Mrs Linde – energetic and supportive wife, capable of independent thought and action
With Dr Rank – flirtatious, amusing, youthful companion
Her restlessness signals her basic insecurity and anxiety, delights in her ability to manipulate, as she is
propelled further into despair she “takes refuge in melodramatic posturing, her agony is genuine but
her actions betray a romantic desire to act heroically” – her intention to commit suicide is the climax f
a life of self-deceit
18. WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF THE SERIOUS TALK IN ACT 3?
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Talk represents a reversal in their previous roles – Nora takes the lead, and Helmer is forced to look at
their marriage from a totally new perspective
“Our home has never been anything but a playroom” (page 98), “in eight whole years... we have
never exchanged a serious word on a serious subject” (page 97)
Nora feels as if she must now educate herself for she can no longer live her life as someone else’s
property, she feels the need to leave her husband and children so that she can “stand up on [her] on
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feet” (page 99), she is now faced with the “uncomfortable reality” of a man’s world (social, moral and
religious codes), we discover that her energy and love of life has been channelled into “frivolous
enjoyment”
Nora discovers that her husband is not the man who she thought he was and therefore no longer
believes in miracles, and so she hands back her wedding ring – symbolic of their marriage and unity –
and leaves him, with her claim for independence complete
When discussing this with Torvald, she reveals a hidden intuitive intelligence
19. IN WHAT WAYS DOES HELMER EPITOMISE THE RESPECTABLE NINETEENTH CENTURY
HUSBAND AND TO WHAT EXTENT IS HIS PORTRAYAL SYMPATHETIC?
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Epitome of the respectable 19 century husband
Treats his wife has a “winsome little creature, capable of playful deception but dependant on his
largess and knowledge of the outside world”, chastises her for being extravagant but he loves giving
her presents of money (it is like a game), maintains his dominance over Nora through his financial
control of the household and refuses to borrow money for fear of his honour being compromised (for
he is a banker), “patronising and teasing tone when addressing his wife does not give up even in the
face of her distress”, plays games with her to maintain his role as the dominant male
Apparent “pomposity and lack of perception” are the stereotyped response of the domestic male at
the time, his security relies upon feeling superior
Victim of gender stereotype of the time – he gave up his job as a lawyer to find another one and had
to overwork in order to get a promotion (and as a consequence became dreadfully ill due to the
overwork)
20. HOW DOES IBSEN E NSURE THAT THE AUDIENCE UP UNTIL HIS DIALOGUE SEES
KROGSTEAD AS VILLAINOUS WITH MRS LINDE AND WHAT ALLOWS HIM TO REDEEM
HIMSELF IN THE EYES OF THE AUDIENCE?
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Interrupts Nora’s innocent game of hide-and-seek with her children, appears to be the “malign
influence who will destroy the family’s peace and happiness”, asks Nora to use her influence over her
husband and when she declines he is provoked into threatening to reveal Nora’s actions to her
husband, detailed knowledge of her forgery underlines his “unpleasant enjoyment of the fact that she
is in his power” (suggests to audience that he is hungry for power and enjoys exerting his dominance
to have this sense of power), he understands Torvald’s weakness and lack of courage and seeks to
exploit this for his own financial and social benefit and increases the stakes on his next visit to see
Nora, asking for Torvald to make him assistant manager, and frightens her further by “hinting
forcefully at the effects of drowning” (page 73)
Remains the embodiment of villainy until his dialogue with Mrs Linde
However, despite his catalogue of complaints against society, his bitterness is gradually eroded, he is
determined to hold on to the respectability that he has worked so hard to re-establish, and desires
social position and prestige above all things
His emotional despair humanises him to the audience, giving him a different dimension to his actions
and cynicism and the audience can sympathise with him, hence being redeemed in their eyes
He no longer wishes to hurt Nora, and accepts Mrs Linde’s advice to let Torvald find out about Nora’s
unlawful actions
He departs the play as the happiest man in the world, leaving his letter untouched
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21. SUM UP RANK’S CHARACTER AND FUNCTION IN THE PLAY ACCORDING TO THIS
WRITER. WHICH SYMBOLS LINK HIM TO DEATH?
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Close family friend
Tone of cynical bitterness – describes the successful Krogstead as a moral cripple, then extends his
remarks to include society in general, stating that those who are corrupt are given “some nice,
comfortable position” whist “the healthy ones just have to lump it” – in his view human society is
being turned into “a hospital”
He is in love with Nora and confides in her that he will soon die for he is suffering from tuberculosis of
the spine, inherited from his father who had venereal disease as a result of his debauched life, and
knowing that Helmer is “sensitive” and “hates anything ugly”, and so he does not want him to visit
him in hospital
Declares his love to Nora when she flirts with him as a prelude to asking him for money – his love was
concealed behind banter and amusement, she knew how he felt but did not want it openly declared,
he finds her impossible to understand but continues to show his support and affection, ”even though
she carelessly wounds him by equating his company with that of servants when she was a child”
“Disgust and bitterness at his lot are intense and he is jealous that Mrs Linde will very rapidly take his
place as the family friend”
Detached scientific curiosity in regards to his demise – fascination with illness and death
Use of symbolic phrase “and thank you for the light” (page 90), his penchant for black, crosses on
visiting cards perhaps suggest an indifference towards the news of his imminent death
“Been like a member of the living dead extracting whatever life he can from his fleeting encounters
with Nora”
22. WHY IS MRS LINDE’S ROLE IN THE PLAY SIGNIFICANT TO THE OUTCOME?
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Older and wiser than Nora who is frivolous and extravagant: her life has been more difficult than it
could have been due to her sense of duty, she now has a freedom which she actually perceives as
loneliness, and unlike Nora she has had to face the world and survive on her own – she knows the
value of the support of another human being, she acts the role of motherly confidante, and is
patronising and chiding Nora
She is prepared to intervene with Krogstead on Nora’s behalf, however it is she who prevents him
from asking Helmer to return the letter for “there must be an end to all these shiftings and evasions”
(page 84), and if “Nora and Helmer are to achieve a “full understanding”, Helmer must know the truth
of her secret dealings”, and it is her influence on Krogstead that creates a possibility of a “happy
ending” and forces Nora to confront the truth of her husband’s nature and her own situation
Nora deliberately chooses the life of Kristina – the life she’s trying to escape, and finds that the
security of illusion is preferable to the choice that eventually Nora feels that she must make
Her idealistic motivation leads to the breakup of Nora’s marriage even though her plan was designed
to “establish it on a firmer basis”
23. WHAT ASPECTS OF THE HELMER’S WORLD DID ANNE MARIE REPRESENT?
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Represents the middle class world, and the Helmer’s wealth – where nannies bring up the children for
the parents, she is protective towards Nora and indispensible
th
19 century middle class depend upon such servants
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24. EXPLAIN THE IMPORTACE OF THE CHILDREN IN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE PLAY.
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The children are Nora’s “dolls” which whom she delights in playing – they represent how the Helmer’s
house is actually a doll house, where the doll wife is playing with her doll children – they have no
designated characters aside from showing Nora in the role of the mother
THEMES
25. WHAT SORT OF WOMAN IS NORA REPRESENTATIVE OF IN HER WORLD?
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She is representative of the “middle-class, 19 century daughter and wife who is ‘protected’ from
experiencing the hardships of the world outside the family and is expected to suppress her own
desires in deference to the wishes of her father and husband”
26. TO WHAT EXTENT ARE NORA AND HELMER TRAPPED BY WHOM AND WHAT?
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They are trapped by each other and by society – they are trapped by their social roles as husband and
wife, they must behave according to convention and as a result they have developed a marriage
based upon an illusion, where they deceive each other and themselves both consciously and subconsciously
Nora must be the conventional good wife, however when she finds out that her husband does not
behave in the hoped-for miraculous fashion she is confronted by what she’s always suspected – that
his “subservience to petty social values” are more important to him than his feelings for his wife
Torvald is trapped in his own social role where he must be brave, honest and responsible, social
respectability is of utmost importance and he must assume his role as protector for Nora, he thinks
that it “was fun to be in love” (page 98)
27. HOW ARE THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF NORA AND KRISTINA COMPARABLE WITH
RESPECT TO LOVE AND DUTY?
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Mrs Linde had to give up her true love for duty to her family – made her miserable
After experiencing life hardships, Kristina tries to fix her relationship with Krogstead in order to be
happy and in love again, and have a duty to someone (for life with no duty to someone is worthless,
cold and empty)
Nora – duty to family, and she was happy but she finds out that she has to go out to the real world
and discover herself – her love and duty is not what Nora values most in life, rather she wants to
value herself as an individual in society, and escape the social and gender norms from which she is
bound
Both have strong connections to love and duty
28. WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE THAT IBSEN SEE KS TO SHOW HIS AUDIENCES THAT
ROMANTIC LOVE IS DEL USIONAL?
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Romantic love is a delusion – “it inhibits the free development of the individual”
To keep Torvald’s love, Nora lies, pretends to be helpless and suppresses her true feelings, and he is
blinded by ideas of love too for he claims to love Nora however his sexual appetite is quickened by
her beauty, and he describes her as his “most treasured possession”
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“In striving to maintain a romantic view of marriage, the two have assumed roles in which they have
gradually become trapped. When Nora slams the door, she shatters the romantic masquerade that
has been their life.”
29. HOW DOES IBSEN USE THE CHARACTERS OF NORA AND HELMER AND THEIR
SITUATION TO ENCOURAGE DETERMINISM AND FREE WILL AS OPPOSED TO BEING A
SLAVE TO SOCIAL CONVENTION, HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT?
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The play is used to illustrate the moral and psychological need to exercise free will – conclusion
implies that individuals need to be responsible for themselves and exercise free will
Ibsen uses Nora’s domestic role (enhanced by her natural vivacity and intelligence) enable her to
reject the controlling influence of society, however Torvald remains cowed by a social code he can
neither live up to nor ignore
Ibsen champions the idea of individual spirit, integrity and potential through the characters of Nora
and Helmer and their situation, for middle class domesticity only exists by ignoring the basic problems
of human existence, and it can only be proven to be a lie, a lie that he exposes through this play
Ibsen also uses the nature of Dr Rank’s illness to emphasise the inner corruption of such a society
Nora wants freedom in order to become an individual with the freedom to do what she wants with
no sense of social obligations
30. HOW DOES IBSEN D RAW A PARALLEL BETWEEN THE LIFE THAT IS REPRESENTED IN
THE HOUSE ON STAGE AND THE FALSE LIFE OF A DOLL’S HOUSE?
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The play provides a “make belief world where the children make their dolls perform social roles”
Parallel between the life that is represented in the house on stage and the false, pretend life of a
doll’s house – a playroom where Nora is her husband’s doll and the children are her dolls (Torvald’s
paternalism confirms this throughout the play, infantilising Nora and turning her into a doll-child of
his own), he gives Nora presents expecting her to entertain him in return and in parallel Nora is trying
to be a good mother by playing with her children and giving them presents, just as her husband is
doing the same to her
When Nora slams the door shut at the end she is “rejecting her role as a doll in order to realise her
full potential as an individual in the outside world” – she is now a grown bird ready to leave the nest
and explore the world by herself without the guidance of her parents (or her husband)
31. IDENTIFY THE IMAGERY USED BY IBSEN TO ESTABLISH THE TENSION THAT EXISTS
BETWEEN NATURE AND SOCIAL CONVENTION
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Imagery in A Doll’s house that relates to the world of nature
The window on the left hand wall – looks onto the outside world and the Scandinavian winter (look at
nature behind the refuge and safety of human creation – glass)
Large stove – refuge from the weather, the bleakness of human interaction in the world of business
Cold – when Krogstead he enters he brings the cold with him (metaphorically bringing in his illintentions for Nora and moral corruption, bitter like the Norwegian winter’s cold), Nora’s deceit
forces her out into the cold
Helmer knows how fragile their protected environment is – “one cruel stroke of fate could destroy it”
Helmer’s pet names to Nora – allies her with the world of nature, related to animals that are “small,
gentle and pleasure-giving”, the lark and the squirrel (two of Torvald’s pet names) have “difficulty
surviving in a world where Nora seems ‘red in tooth and claw’”, she is referred to as an “expensive
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pet” and when she leaves she now has to cope with the natural world that she belongs to but from
which she has been alienated
32. WHY IS THE METAPHOR OF THE CASTAWAY USED TO DESCRIBE MRS LINDE AND
KROGSTEAD?
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Krogstead + Mrs Linde are “castaways” – symbolic victims of a “world of storm and tempest, as well
as of the cruel reality of a system based on moral cowardice”
Their emotional condition reflected on Mrs Linde’s description of them being “two shipwrecked
souls”
33. IN THIS PLAY WHAT ARE THE MIRACLES THAT NORA IDENTIFIES OR HOPES FOR
DURING THE COURSE OF THE PLAY?
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A rich, secret admirer giving her the money to pay back her loan to Krogstead – actually Dr Rank but
her miracle is shattered when he declares his love for her
Helmer taking the entire responsibility for Nora’s actions – when the miracle fails to happen Nora is
“forced to acknowledge what she has concealed in her subconscious – the true nature of her husband
and her relationship with him – her husband embodies her religion where he is like a “God-like
provider upon whom she has depended totally, accepting his wishes and attitudes as innately
superior to her own”- once her belief in him is broken, she has no concept of religious duty left, and
so she leaves him and no longer believes in miracles
Page 10 of 10
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