• 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 Death and the Maiden we can depict that the character that is shown with guns and that is in control is the one that has the power or that wishes to have power and it conceives it when she is in control of a gun.

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

    match, gives birth to twelve children and supports her husband in his rebellious political career. Nora is ready to commit a crime to save the life of Torvald by falsifying the signature of her deadly ill father in order to get a loan.

  2. Discuss how Ibsen has shaped your response to the issues raised in A Dolls ...

    This issue of freedom and inequality between sexes is still relevant today. The use of the short sentences to show that the man controls the woman is an issue that transcends time. This is the point of view of MW Brun, who says that Nora has betrayed her family by

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

    The country that the play is set in has just transformed from a dictatorship to a democracy and Ariel Dorfman is trying to show that Paulina cannot trust anyone except Gerardo because she is still afraid that she would be incarcerated again.

  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. Ibsen wanted to use his play A Dolls House to challenge the norms of ...

    Divorce was frowned on by society and divorcees were shrouded with social stigma. Ibsen felt hat showing a wife and her husband, as two individual entities would challenge the culture's prejudice that a wife needed her husband or her father to provide for her.

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

    in today?s world, In Ibsen?s time, it was protocol for a man to put himself first. "No man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves.? Women knew it was a way of life. Nora, Ms. Linde and every other childbearing female was expected to surpass their personal desires for the more holistic ones, such as their families.

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