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Dolls House Diction Essay

916 words - 4 pages

Excitement through RealismBefore the women's rights movement of the 19th century, women typically played domestic roles as wives and homemakers, without much opportunity to adventure outside that realm. Accordingly, an epiphany was sparked by key influences in literature to advance the feminist movement that continues to this day. One such propagator was Henrik Ibsen, whose controversial play A Doll's House conveyed ideas of female empowerment through the internal struggle of the protagonist Nora Helmer. Nora is consistently belittled by her husband Torvald, but eventually faces her own disillusionments to escape her restricted lifestyle. In contrast to Ibsen's style of realism, most plays during the 1800s were characterized by external conflicts that built up suspense and anticipation; nonetheless, Ibsen is able to replicate the same action within an internal conflict through his employment of realistic diction.Ibsen generates excitement in Nora's inner dilemma through her confessional dialogue with her old friend Mrs. Linde. Nora discloses her darkest secret of borrowing money without Torvald's consent to Mrs. Linde, who plays the role of her wise confidante. After Mrs. Linde advises Nora to confess to her husband, Nora exclaims "Good heavens, no…It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now" (Ibsen 12). Ibsen utilizes the standard colloquial of the 1800s as the diction for Nora's dialogue; thus, by using common, unsettling phrases like "good heavens" or "upset…altogether," Ibsen promotes a tone of apprehension for a bleak future. He further builds anticipation by foreshadowing the destruction of Nora's marriage, an internal conflict that would ruin her seemingly perfect life in the "beautiful happy home". Ibsen's harbingers of Nora's doom through simple conversation create a similar effect to the vivid images of danger that suggest external problems in other plays. They both establish the conflict of the play, even though Nora's problem is more of a psychological battle to confess than a battle against a physical enemy. In this man vs. self conflict, Nora's anxiety in conversation appears genuine and produces excitement, but the anticipation is even more pronounced when she converses with herself.Through Nora's discussions with herself, Ibsen fabricates suspense similar to that of other literature. The antagonist of the play and Nora's creditor, Nils Krogstad, discovers that Nora forged the signature required by her father to borrow the money. After Krogstad blackmails Nora with this information, she affirms to herself "Nonsense! Trying to frighten me like that…yet - No, it's impossible! I did it for love's sake" (Ibsen 24). Ibsen maintains his realistic diction, wording Nora's concerns in very succinct, everyday language that naturally creates a tone of panic. Her exclamations of "Nonsense," "no," and "impossible" signal her denial of Krogstad's power to...

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