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

Contemporary criticism considers "A Dolls House" a realistic social/domestic drama the main theme of which centers around the impossibility of distinguishing between appearance and reality. Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


English Language & Literature: A Doll?s House Name: George Stavrou Instructor: Dr. Leda Andoniou Date 12/10/2012 Write a concise essay on the following topic: Contemporary criticism considers A Doll?s House a realistic social/domestic drama the main theme of which centers around the impossibility of distinguishing between appearance and reality. Discuss this statement on the basis of characterization and plot. Is it a recurring theme in the play? In what scenes does it become more obvious? Henrik Ibsen?s A Doll?s House play is a realistic drama set in Norway during the 19th century. The play raises the question about some of the most fundamental affairs the humanity ever faced. Those contentions include sexism that is depicted between the superiority of the man and the position of the woman in the society, materialism and in general money issues, moral issues and morality?s actual definition, gender performativity and the reliability of appearances. One of the greatest matters of contention in Ibsen?s play and even in human?s history is the one of appearance versus reality. Trying to distinguish those two aspects of human?s character can sometimes be impossible. In A Doll?s House Henrik Ibsen manages to present his character in a way that the reader in the end can find out the difference between the characters? appearance and their actual personality. Ibsen seems to have understood the relationship between those two features especially in the Victorian society he lives in and in some way he tries to show the others that societal image is not the lone thing they should care about. ...read more.


He is portrayed as the ?authority? in the house where he always has the last word and he also seems to be controlling every single detail in excellence. He is treating Nora in sympathetic way here she underestimates her by calling her all that pet-names and he believes that he is superior to her. Of course like the previous character the husband?s image is devastated in the end of the play when he actually panics and he loses the control of the whole situation. He is getting crazy in the idea of losing the prestige of his current social position and he blames Nora for that. He cannot believe in his eyes when he is reading Krogstad?s letters and he leaves the audience to wonder what his reaction will actually be. By the end he may even disappoints the majority of the audience which probably expected a heroic full of courage action that will protect his wife. Moreover the last main character of that play is Krogstad. A man who is depicted as villain and whose only want is to harm Nora and her marriage. In fact though after makes up with Mrs. Linde we can see that all he initially wanted was to regain he lost social reputation after the crime he has committed. All he wants is to take back his social position so that he can continue with his life. ...read more.


Torvald?s reacting destroys audience?s opinion about a superior, self-important man who controls everything and gives them the impression of a hypocrite who only cares about his social image. A similar conversion is spotted in Nora?s reaction. She expects Torvald to take all the responsibility and tell her he is going to protect when he is actually shouting at her about the catastrophe she has caused in his life. When the second letter of Krogstad arrives Torvald through irony tells Nora that she is forgiving her only because he now knows that his social image will not change. Nora?s dreams and expects break into pieces in fron of her eyes and that causes her revolutionary reaction later on. In conclusion, the central theme of appearance versus reality is illustrated in A Doll?s House both through characterization and plot. All the character?s in Ibsen?s play serve a specific reason of existence. Ibsen is using as many characters as he needs in order to create a play that will pass his messages. Every each one of his character?s Nora, Torvald, Krogstad, Mrs. Linde they all have a role in the play which help in the consistency of the plot. He wisely chooses to show through the theme of appearances versus reality how people look like in his era and the Victorian society and how they should look after all. Ibsen?s masterpiece is something much more than just a play for entertainment in contrast the hidden messages in it are enough to urge human?s thinking. (1352 words) George A. Stavrou ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. The book being titled Im not scared is very appropriate as the common theme ...

    Fillipo also shows that the sophisticated education he has been served with has caused him to be an extremely knowledgeable boy. This is apparent when he is discussing a flying species with Michele. "Flying foxes fly even in the daytime and they chirp like birds.

  2. Free essay

    The use of symbolism to convey protagonists confinement in a Doll's House and Death ...

    In conclusion we can see how the uses of symbolism in both plays are crucial for the fact that they help the authors to illustrate the protagonist confinement. In the first place we can see how both plays deals with social issues; In a Dolls House we can see how

  1. Contrasting the straight forward realist drama style of "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen ...

    Ramatoulaye wants to lift herself and women in general "out of the bog of tradition, superstition and custom, to make themselves appreciate a multitude of civilizations without renouncing themselves, to raise their vision of the world, cultivate their personalities, strengthen their qualities" ("So Long a Letter" , Marima Ba, p.

  2. Hedda Gabler. In the play Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen chooses to develop his characters ...

    At the end of Act III, many events have transpired which have changed the way L�vborg acts. The one night that has passed, that of the bachelor party, has caused him to have a complete change of heart in regard to the work he had done with Thea, and the life that he intends to lead.

  1. How does the social setting affect the husband-wife relationship in A Dolls House and ...

    if people found out but instead he was more worried about how it would affect his status and that he would be fired. Gerardo: My Commission? What Commission? Thanks to you, we may not be able to investigate all the other crimes that- And I'm going to have to resign.3

  2. There are many differences but also similarities between the ways Henrik Ibsen and Thomas ...

    All of the main events of the play occur in the Helmer's living room. This room has several doors, 'on the back wall, one door on the right leads to the entrance hall, a second door on the left leads to Helmer's study......in the middle of the left wall, a door'.

  1. The clash of conflict between societal morality and individual ethics in A Dolls House ...

    since the very beginning of the play is shown as a submissive character being dominated by the male protagonist Torvald. However, she too believes that individual ethics hold a high reverence than the societal law which is known to the audience by the end of the play.

  2. In A Dolls House by defying societal norms Nora enhances the empowerment of ...

    This analogy suggests that as a woman, she?s always had someone to answer to. Like every woman in Nora?s time, the social norm was that they had to be taken care of and put under the surveillance of a man.

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