LWSO335 Chapter 2-3: Analysis of 'A Doll's House'
SchoolUniversity of Calgary
DepartmentLaw and Society
Course CodeLWSO 335
ProfessorLinda Mae Mc Kay- Panos
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Late 1870s, Norway, in middle-class society. While women are able to
work in various capacities, it is still believed that their husbands should
have control over their finances, correspondence, etc. Society delights in
frivolous women rather than practical ones. Men earn money, and handle
money, and are supposed to be in complete charge of their finances and
their household, apparently.
We will probably focus on Nora for our analysis, though as a secondary
character we should focus on Mrs. Linde because she also has an
epiphany, like Nora. Characterization will be examined more in exploration
of the theme. Also, we could examine what part Dr. Rank plays, because it
seemed kind of obscure.
The play revolves around Nora, her past and present life, and her struggle
to keep her husband from finding out about the past. When he does find
out, however, his reactions spur her not to reconcile with him, but to move
on. The play is presented in chronological order, with reference to past
events in conversation. However, certain knowledge is withheld throughout
the play, such as Mrs. Linde’s relationship with Krogstad.
The plot is moved by a series of actions which fall systematically like
This is a play, and so stage directions are what we gain most of the
physicality of the character from. Many of the motions in this play
come across as wild, desperate, especially the Tarantallegra.
Ibsen is also very good at conveying emotion, through carefully
chosen words and imagery. For example, when Dr. Rank confesses
to Nora, we all feel the awkwardness of the situation, and when the
letter is put in the letter-box, we feel the frantic panic Nora feels.
The slightly silly, flighty tone of the first act is also incredibly
juxtaposed by the seriousness of the last act.
Another symbol/motif is the macaroons, which seem to symbolize
rebellion. Tasty rebellion.
•Title of the play is VERY IMPORTANT specifically. “A Doll’s House”,
where presumably the doll is Nora.
Dr. Rank is a character that has been put in the play for exposition and
symbolic use. His specific ailment and the cards with black crosses on
them can symbolize the corresponding disease in society and the
presence of two cards is curious, suggesting the death of the Helmers’
marriage as well as Dr. Rank himself.
However, he seems to be mainly expository, as Nora talks much more
freely around him than around anyone else.
Thursday,+ February+ 25,+2016
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