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A Doll's House, considered a pioneer of modern drama, is a three-act play written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month. The play is set in a Norwegian town circa 1879.
The play revolves around the seemingly perfect marriage of Nora and Torvald Helmer. Nora, a seemingly frivolous and childlike woman, is deeply devoted to her husband and children. However, beneath the surface of their seemingly idyllic life, there are secrets and underlying tensions.
It is revealed that Nora has secretly forged a document to obtain a loan that saved her husband's life. She made repayments in secret by saving up money and working, all while hiding her actions from Torvald.
When Torvald discovers Nora's secret, he is initially outraged, accusing her of immorality and deception. However, as the play progresses, Torvald begins to see Nora in a new light. He realizes that he has treated her more like a doll than as an equal partner.
By the end of the play, Nora has come to a profound realization about her own identity and her place in the world. She makes the difficult decision to leave her husband and children, believing that it is the only way to become a truly independent woman.
A Doll's House explores a number of complex themes, including:
The role of women in society: The play challenges the traditional view of women as being subordinate to men. Nora's journey of self-discovery is a powerful feminist statement.
The importance of honesty and truth: Nora's lie to her husband ultimately leads to her awakening. The play suggests that truth, even if difficult, is essential for a healthy relationship.
The nature of identity: Nora's quest for self-discovery is a central theme of the play. She realizes that she has not been allowed to develop her own identity, and she vows to become a more independent woman.
A Doll's House was a groundbreaking play in its time. It was one of the first plays to openly discuss controversial issues such as women's rights and marital infidelity. The play was met with mixed reactions when it was first performed, but it has since become one of the most celebrated works of modern drama.
The play's most famous quote is:
"A woman cannot be herself in the eyes of another person unless she is at home to herself."
This quote encapsulates the play's central theme of self-discovery. Nora's journey to find her true self is a powerful and moving story that continues to resonate with audiences today.