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"A Doll's House" By Henrik Ibsen

2084 words - 8 pages

Henrik Ibsen was born in Skien, Norway, on March 20, 1828. He was the oldest of five children. His father, Knud, was a prominent merchant, but he went bankrupt when Henrik was eight years old. Thus, Henrik Ibsen lived in poverty from a very young age. From 1851 to 1864, he worked in theaters in Bergen and what is now Oslo (then it was called Christiania). In this work, he was not financially well off, but he did gain valuable experience. In 1858, Ibsen married Suzannah Thoreson and had one son with her. Ibsen's critics attacked him for failing to respect marriage's "sacred ties." Ibsen felt that, rather than merely living together, husband and wife should live as equals, free to become their own human beings. The 1850s, when Ibsen was working in theater in Norway, were a very idyllic time for the nation, in contrast to the rest of Europe. Ibsen's writings however, tended to stir up society and its emotions. This led him to a separation from Norwegian society. Ibsen received a traveling grant and a stipend from the Norwegian government to go abroad in 1864. He permanently moved to Rome and so it was there that he wrote "A Doll House." It was first published and performed in 1879, by which time Ibsen had long been interested in women's rights. Ibsen died in 1906 (Westhagen)."A Doll House" is classified under the "second phase" of Henrik Ibsen's career. It was during this period, which he made the transition from mythical and historical dramas to plays dealing with social problem. It was the first in a series investigating the tensions of family life. Written during the Victorian era, the controversial play featuring a female protagonist seeking independence stirred up more controversy than any other of his worksIn contrast to many dramas of Scandinavia in that time, which depicted the role of women as the comforter, helper, and supporter of man, "A Doll House" introduces a woman as having her own purpose and goals. The heroine, Nora Helmer, progresses during the course of the play eventually to realize that she must discontinue the role of a doll and seek out her own individuality.Isben based the plot a "Doll House" on a true story. In 1871 a young Norwegian woman named Laura Peterson sent him a sequel that she had written to his play "Brand." Isben encouraged her to continue writing, calling her his "skylark." She marries a Danish schoolmaster who, suffering from tuberculosis, learned that he had to live in a warmer climate. The couple was poor, so Laura secretly arranged a loan to finance their trip to Italy. After her creditor demanded repayment of the loan she wrote a novel and sent it to Isben, asking him to recommend it to a publisher. Isben refused to endorse her book, so in a panic, she forged a check to repay the debt. The bank refused payment and Laura had to confess to her husband what she had done. Instead of being sympathetic because she had been so concerned about his health. He accused her of being a criminal and an unfit mother for...

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