Slept Through High School English Class? Here’s What You Missed in “A Doll’s House”

Henrik Ibsen, often referred to as “the father of realism,” was a Norwegian playwright and one of the founders of Modernism in theatre. He wrote one of his most famous texts, A Doll’s House, in 1879. That same year it premiered on December 21, 1879 at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark accompanied by much criticism and outrage: This due to the protagonist, Nora, who questions the gender roles and social norms of women in 19th century Norwegian marriages. The play was so controversial that the German actress Hedwig Niemann-Raabe refused to perform the final scene as is exclaiming, “I would never leave my children!”

This outrage is a result of why A Doll’s House is considered a feminist text by many realms of academia. Ibsen’s exploration of women’s roles in society and the “duties of a wife” was something audiences had never been challenged with before.


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