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A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll’s House is a dramatic piece that premiered in 1879 at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen. It was Ibsen’s first dramatic work that caused a sensation. Download a COPY of A Doll’s House in PDF format, below.

Henrik Johan Ibsen, born in 1828, is considered one of the most important writers in Norwegian history, the father of modern realist drama, and one of the greatest writers to influence modern theater.

When A Doll’s House was published, it was considered a controversial play as it showed a critical view of marriage in the 19th century. Although Ibsen denied that his work showed a feminist perspective, it was assumed so.

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Summary of A Doll’s House

The Helmer couple seemed to have it all: financial stability, three adorable children, and a quiet life. They had been together for 8 years, and both Nora and Torvald were apparently content.

He indulged his wife’s whims and tried to provide her with whatever she required, and she was warm and loving.

As a Christmas present, they receive the news that Torvald got a new job as a bank manager, a fact that made them both very happy.

That day Kristine Linde, a good friend of Nora’s, drops by for a visit. Over tea and cookies, they begin to talk about their lives.

Nora, of course, speaks highly of her circumstances, but Kristine could not say the same.

She confesses to her friend that she had married for a financial arrangement to save her ailing mother and her three young siblings, but now her mother was dead, her siblings had left, and she was in complete loneliness.

She feels she has never known love.

Nora, on the other hand, tells Kristine that her husband had gotten an excellent job. However, feeling confident because of her friend’s confession, she decides to tell her a secret, because not everything was as perfect as it seemed.

Torvald had been diagnosed some time ago with a very serious illness, and the doctor recommended traveling to warmer lands.

Unfortunately, they could not afford the trip and Nora decided to make a loan to the procurator behind her husband’s back, giving as an excuse that her father had given the money.

Of course, Torvald never knew the truth, but Nora signed a promissory note, forging the handwriting of her father, who unfortunately had recently passed away.

Kristine thought that her friend had gone mad, but Nora believed that everything was justified, since after all she had done it for love and had saved her husband’s life.

Shortly thereafter, the lender blackmails Nora and warns her that if her husband did not leave him with a position at the bank, he was going to tell her the whole truth about the loan behind her back and the forgery of the signature.

FAQ about A Doll’s House

What is the plot of the play A Doll’s House?

Nora is a woman like any other woman of her social class. She was well married and was indulged by her husband, raised her children, and took care of her house. The typical bourgeois lifestyle.

But, one day, her facade of a subordinate woman begins to fall after she did something with the best intentions that was not well seen by society.

What is the conflict that develops in A Doll’s House?

After having made a fraudulent loan to save her husband’s life, Nora is threatened by the official who lent her the money to reveal his secret.

This unleashes a conflict in her married life since her husband was unaware of the situation and when he finds out, he makes a claim that Nora considers unfair.

Why is it called A Doll’s House?

The title A Doll’s House symbolizes the empty life of appearances that Nora lived in her home. She had always tried to keep her manners and be the wife that everyone expected.

However, she never took care of herself. In reality, she was an oppressed woman within the marriage and was aware of this when her husband demanded that she borrow money to save his life.

What is the ending of A Doll’s House?

After Torvald and Nora’s heated argument, a letter arrived in which the lender explained that he was giving up his blackmail and left them a copy of the promissory note.

Torvald was relieved and happy, they were out of trouble! But, Nora was not. She told him that the best thing for everyone was for her to go off and find herself. Torvald tried to persuade her without success.