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Consider the relationship between the use of theatrical space and thematic development in Ibsen's A Doll's House.

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Introduction

Consider the relationship between the use of theatrical space and thematic development in Ibsen's A Doll's House The prominent theme in A Doll's House is that of male supremacy and the subsequent suppression of women's participation in society, particular to the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. In conveying the prevalence of Nora's constraints and the restrictions placed upon her, Ibsen uses subtle visual nuances of space within the setting to compliment and emphasise the idea of imprisonment and limitation. One of the most evident of these being the idea of the set on stage acting as a realist representation of a house, symbolic of the doll's house that Nora, the metaphorical doll, inhabits. This structural division of space into the interior and the exterior of the house carries with it social and cultural implications. Gender roles are spatially defined in relation to the inside and the outside of the house. ...read more.

Middle

stronghold where women are prohibited entry; a possible synecdoche for the institutions of a society in which men are superior and the predominant ruling class. A further indication of the powerless isolation that Nora endures is that she is only ever socialised through the outside interventions of others. It is only with the daily visits from Dr Rank it seems and the surprise visit of Kristine that she is able to express herself to a greater degree of freedom than with Torvald and therefore maintain a somewhat subconscious pretence of happiness when under such restrictions, for we see that it is Torvald who forbids her to talk of her childhood friends and wants her exclusively to himself. The happenings of the play evolve predominantly around Nora as the central heroin figure and therefore the attention of the audience is focused upon the 'doll' and those who interact with her, from the outside such as Kristine and Dr Rank and even her own children who enter from outside of the house, only to ...read more.

Conclusion

In the theatre, the contrast between interior and exterior space, between house and outside, could be eroticised, as in some productions1 of A Doll's House, and the idea of Krogstad gaining access into the house, already threatening and devious due to the brooding question as to the loan, takes on almost explicit sexual overtones of penetration and violation. While the male characters are often intent upon entering space designated as a woman's sphere of influence, Nora is faced with trying to avoid being trapped, contained and restricted by the conformities embodied in Torvald. Having fixed her anxieties on the loan and Krogstad's letter, Nora, towards the end of Act III recognises her imposed limitations and so aims to escape the restrictive space of her house. Therefore her anger and disappointment finds its theatrical expression in the actual, physical act of leaving the house, her children and her husband and venturing into the outside world in order to explore both the outside of her world and the inside of her being. 1 Idea based on the German Production of the play ?? ?? ?? ?? Vishal Sookur ...read more.

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