• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Social Historical Bacground - A Dolls House

Extracts from this document...


Social and Historical - "A Dolls House" "A Dolls House" was first published in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 1879. The first edition of the play flew of the shelves with 8000 copies sold within the first month. The play was then staged at Copenhagen's Royal Theatre on the 21st of December of the same year. This allowed people who had read the manuscript (men), as well as those people who could not read (women), the chance to see Ibsen's visual representation of his play. Women were less likely to read as they were less likely to attend school. Therefore, when men and women attended theatres a difference of opinion arose. Women were for the independence of Nora whilst men found it scandalous. However, both genders found elements of the play scandalous such as the lack of a happy ending, a sign of naturalistic drama of which Ibsen was a master. Most other playwrights of the time were still writing plays which adhered to the conventions laid out by Ancient Greek tragedy: the play must be in verse and about people of high social status. ...read more.


With the freedom of women now dismissed as Ibsen's goal, critics began to draw up their own conclusions as to what the play was about. Michael Meyer wrote: "Its theme is the need of every individual to find out the kind of person he or she really is and to strive to become that person". This comment is regarded in today's world as quite valid. Modern audiences can accept that Ibsen's focus was not just on women, but that the play could be applied to both sexes. Meanwhile, audiences of the past could not accept this which lead to some alteration of the text and its production. The play was altered by directors and producers for two main reasons: either the producers were disturbed by its content or they were trying to stage the play in a new way. The ending of the play was changed in Germany when the actress cast as Nora said that she could never leave her children. Ibsen saw the changes as "a barbaric outrage on the play" but could not do anything due to the lack of copyright. ...read more.


Laura's husband, like Torvald, became ill forcing the couple abroad. Nora arranged a loan with the help of a friend so that her husband did not know anything. Once her husband got better she wrote about her ordeal and tried to sell the story in the form of a novel to pay for the debt. She asked Ibsen for his assistance with this but he wrote back to Laura and advised her to take up the matter with her husband. Ibsen believed that Laura was hiding something from the husband and believed that the husband should take responsibility for her troubles. Laura had not told her husband anything about the loan as she was too scared. When she received the letter from Ibsen saying he would not publish the novel she forged a check to pay back the loan. However, the forgery was discovered and Laura was forced to tell her husband everything. Laura's husband was enraged and filed for separation. As a result, Nora suffered a mental breakdown and had to go to a mental hospital. When she was released from the institution she begged her husband to take her back. I believe that there are obvious parallels here between Nora and Laura ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Henrik Ibsen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Response to the question

This response is in receipt of a question that asks candidates to consider the social and historical influences that drove Henrik Ibsen to writing the play 'A Doll's House'. The wildly controversial play was the first of it's kind in ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This response is in receipt of a question that asks candidates to consider the social and historical influences that drove Henrik Ibsen to writing the play 'A Doll's House'. The wildly controversial play was the first of it's kind in that it introduced an entirely naturalistic play, severing the theatre-going public's relationship with the melodrama of Greek Theatre, which Ibsen felt was crushing the realism of theatre, which had the potential to represent so much more. The candidate here demonstrates a very good understanding of the social relationships of the time and appreciates a number of different attitudes and responses to the play. Where a lesser ability candidate may fall down is that they generalise views on the play at it's time of publication too simply, but this candidate realises that different people of different sexes and different social backgrounds would react differently to the same content; a tribute to the versatility of naturalistic theatre.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis shown by this candidate is indicative of a very high B/low A grade for A Level. There is a sound appreciation of the content of the play and the context in which it was birthed, as well as a sensitive appraisal of the multitude of varying responses the play got, ranging from support and encouragement to sneers and condemnations for actively promoting scandals that would never have been tolerated in a Danish society at the time. The is evidence that this candidate has conducted external, independent research in order to fortify their answer, by quoting critics and commentators on the play's themes and story-line. This kind of enthusiasm is greatly appreciated by examiners who, after reading a hundred other copies of the same essay, are very grateful for this extra insight that can set and answer far and away above other standard essays that comprise only of regurgitated classroom information.
One minor irk I do have with this essay though, and the reason it is not perfect, if that after such an impressive introductory paragraph and subsequent analysis, there appears to be no conclusion. Conclusions and introductions will not win any extra marks for insight and knowledge, but both are to be considered something of bookend for the bulk of the essay - and conclusions are important because they consolidate all the ideas that are explored in the above paragraphs. It is therefore imperative that one is written.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication here is very good throughout, save for a few moments where the candidate makes silly mistakes that could easily be rectified if the answer were read and re-read. One such error is where they refer to the play as a "novel" at one point. Another would be when they mistake "Laura" with the character of Nora, when comparing Ibsen's character with a real life parallelism. These are minor irks and do not necessarily compromise the clarity of written communication, though they should be noted and corrected before submission of coursework/closure of the exam booklet.

Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 31/03/2012

Read less
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Henrik Ibsen essays

  1. A Dolls house Language

    It does this as the 19th century old English is very formal showing there middle to higher class and well educated. The language also shows the society that the characters live in and is significant as it reveals their inner thoughts, feelings relationships and situations.

  2. Confinement and self-liberation in 'A Doll's House'

    For example, Nora never enters Torvald's study, conveying her conformation to patriarchy. As other characters come and go freely through the hall, Nora becomes increasingly restricted to the main living area throughout the course of the play. She is seen using the door to the outside world only twice; on

  1. A brief analysis of 'A Doll's House' By Ibsen

    and for the men they had to get a job and bring in the income for there relationship to live. It was just "the done thing" there were no reasons why a man could not stay at home and look after the house why the women worked it was just the way people presumed it to go.

  2. In-order to analyse the language in A Dolls House I am going to focus ...

    This scene opens Helmer's eyes to what he had been doing to her. Nora's lines in the first scene are short and simple but by the last scene, her lines expand in to short prose. Helmer begins confident and high!

  1. Write a Page on Your First Impressions of Nora from A Dolls House.

    Gratitude, given to such souls as Ms Temple and Jane Eyre will forever flourish within my heart for through them I have learned much- I have found my path to happiness like the prince of Rasselas. They have taught me to live and I have come to find that to

  2. My Production Notes on A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen.

    It has been nine years since Nora and Christine have seen each other." Nora then says to Christine "So you've come to town? All that way in winter! How brave of you!" It was very unusual for women to travel on their own in that period because it was unsafe.

  1. Henrik Ibsen

    De tv� verken tar b�da upp en stor livsfr�ga, n�mligen v�ran uppgift i livet. Med sin bitska satir och stora humor intar pj�sen om Peer Gynt i m�ngas �gon en s�rst�llning innom f�rfattarskapet. Pj�serna �r f�r �vrigt en slags uppg�relse med nationalromantiken och dess flykt fr�n verkligheten.

  2. Opening act of "A doll's house". The 1st act of any play is more ...

    The other characters he introduced were torvald and mrs.linde. Where both these characters came to be very linear, Mrs. Linde's role was more than just Nora's friend. She was a foil which Ibsen introduced to make us understand Nora in a much better way by contrasting her with Mrs. Linde.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work