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THTRFLM 1T03 (114)
Lecture 3

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Theatre & Film Studies
Peter Cockett

T&F1T03 week 2 reading: A Doll House  01/18/2014 Hendrink Ibsen (1828-1906) • Born in Norway • Much of modern drama was first explored in Ibsen’s work • Studied medicine, but eventually became a writer • Learned theatre first hand, causing him to write plays • Focused on moral idealism in the modern world • In many plays (including Doll House) explored conflict between social and moral restrictions of society, and the psychological, often unconscious, demands on individual freedom • Plays mainly about modern life • Well-made play: • A“casual” plot • Asecret gradually revealed to audience • A“necessary scene” where the secret is revealed • Acharacter who explains/moralizes the action to the others • Predominance of coincidental events • Ibsen takes this model and uses it throughout his dramas • Suffered strokes in 1900, died in 1906 • Left large effects on modern drama ADoll House • Inspired by series of incidents in 1878 when Laura Kieler contacted him • She had signed a secret, illegal loan to raise money for a cure for her dying husband • Asked Ibsen if she would recommend novel she had written to his published, hoping to make more money, he refused • She forged a check, but was caught • Her husband had her put in an asylum, charged her as an unfit mother, and demanded divorce • When release, the family remained together • Ibsen changed this tragedy into a masterpiece • The play organizes conflict around Nora and Helmer; Nora and Mrs. Linde; Helmer and Krogstad; privitizations of past and financial freedom Nora sees on horizon • All characters change throughout the play • Perfect for time when women’s rights were just beginning to be discussed • Takes place in one room; the drawing room • Room represents Helmers concern for social status • Room stands between unseen world of kitchen and bedroom – domestic world of marriage/children- and public world beyond front door • Room becomes a prison • Helmer is meant to appear sympathetic, worth Nora’s years of sacrifice, and someone she has to struggle to leave • Play was great success in Europe through last decades of C19th Act 1 • Nora does not see value of money buys whatever she wants does not mind borrowing money does not care to return borrowed money asks for nothing but money from Helmer inherited fathers traits; wastes money as soon as she earns it • Helmer is complete opposite; sees value of money • Worries she will spend it all and something bad could happen • Does not believe in borrowing/loaning money • Refers to Nora as “spendthrift” • Helmer just got safe, secure, well-paying job (manager in bank) • Helmer does not like Nora eating junk food • Kristine Linde: • Old friend of Noras – haven
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