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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.

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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