Class Blog #5 – A Doll’s House: Genre.

Henrik Ibsen is known for popularizing dramatic realism in the late 19th century. This style of writing was severely different from earlier literature, which primarily focused on the aristocracy and used verse. Ibsen’s famous play, A Doll’s House, contained several of these genre defining characteristics that help cement Ibsen in that role. A Doll’s House focused on contemporary, working class people, and used prose, making it seem more conversational and realistic. That being said, the play is also identified as a tragedy. At the time the play was written, a tragedy, for the most part, implied that the character starts a good position, and by the end of the story, is in a worse one. I find this strange, as in my eyes, I do not believe Nora to be in a worst situation at the end of the play. I believe the title of the play, A Doll’s House, refers to Dora being dehumanized over the course of her marriage and simply manipulated and controlled like a toy. She is confined to her place in the “doll house” and lives to conform with societal norms. By the end of the play, she breaks free from these societal chains. She is left without money and without family, which may be the basis for many labeling the play a tragedy. However, from a psychological (which was another key feature of Realist literature) and emotional standpoint, I believe Nora has progressed. She is no longer bound by her societal role and can start a new life without masking her true self.

One Response to “Class Blog #5 – A Doll’s House: Genre.”

  1. Kim Sasser says:

    If we read Nora as better off, at the end of the play, than she was when it began, are there other ways we might understand ADH as a tragedy, as Ibsen identified it?

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