The Father Of Modern Theater: Henrik Ibsen

3168 words - 13 pages

How far will one search for truth? Henrik Ibsen was a poet of truth; he confronted firmly held ideas not only represented in Norway, but worldwide. Ibsen incorporated radical views and elevated the principles of women and downplayed the power of man. He is deemed the “father” of modern theater and is the worlds most frequently performed dramatist after William Shakespeare. Regardless of his unpopular viewpoints, Ibsen’s dramas invigorate social movements and are applicable today.
A Doll’s House embodies feministic principles; Nora’s exit from A Doll House is considered the primary representation for women and marriage issues. The Dolls House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen by Joan Templeton discusses one of Ibsen’s most profound works, A Doll House, in which the main character, Nora, rebels against the preconceived notions of society by leaving her husband and children. Templeton takes an interesting slant by suggesting Ibsen not only wrote Nora to encourage female liberation, but also wanted to reveal the calamities of modern life and how relationships are not flawless. “Little by little the topical controversy died away; what remained was the work of art, with its demand for truth in every human relation” (Templeton 28). The theme of marriage is vital in A Doll House; the breakup of a seemingly ideal, affectionate couple proves that the sanctity of marriage and the power of the husband are not absolute.
Sometimes women are depicted as playthings or servants, as opposed to true companions. In the Dictionary of Literary Biography "Henrik Ibsen." Norwegian Writers the author Ed. Lanae H. Isaacson quotes Ibsen, “…but women are always judged in practical matters by men’s law as though they were not women but men,” (Isaacson 9). Ibsen’s complex characters reveal the consequences of expecting women to behave a certain way in a seemingly masculine world. Women are put on a pedestal and are projected to please at every solid virtue as if they were domestic creatures. Templeton states that Ibsen wanted Nora to be an “everyman”, however some critics consider Nora’s personality to be a backlash on men, many refute to acknowledge the reality of women and that they too are human beings. “…many assume that Ibsen’s carefree, charming “lark” could never have become the newly fledged feminist […] that the childish, expectant, ecstatic, broken-heated Nora, makes A Doll House immortal,”(Templeton 29). Nora refusing to return home generates negative commentary, she is considered abnormal, a woman who abandons her family due to her own self-interests.
Nora exudes characteristics that are unwomanly, Templeton examines the unorthodox ways of Nora, “Nora is incapable of appreciating her husband because she is not a normal woman. She is compulsive, highly imaginative, and very much inclined to go to extremes […] Torvald, and not Nora, is really the wife in the family,”(30). Yet throughout the course of the play, Nora proves to be the stronger person in...

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