THE DOLL’S HOUSEViews and Values The performance style of Realism challenged social views and values of the time.
Views and values presented in a text are the: Attitudes, Beliefs and ideas of the people and societies depicted
The task • Identify the ways in which the text reflects the context in which it was created. • Analyse how a text endorses, challenges or leaves unquestioned various ideas and issues. • Explain how a writer uses characterisation, setting, form, narrative, style and tone to convey attitudes and explore ideas. • Use detailed evidence from the text to justify your discussion of the text’s views and values
Social Conventions • Underlying beliefs and core values of a society. • They are widely accepted understandings that regulate behaviour, appearances and social interactions • Give society a sense of identity and belonging based on a shared sense of the ‘right thing’ to do • Social conventions are often challenged by minority groups
Examples in The Doll’s House • It is a good career move for men to marry • Women do not/should not know about financial concerns • Women do not/cannot borrow money • Women should behave in a feminine way • Dress indicates social and economic status • A good wife was a woman who adopted her husband’s taste, agree with his views, obeyed his commands • Torvald considers Krogstadt as an inferior and it is therefore inappropriate to call him by his first name • Nora is restricted by the social conventions of marriage • Women were subservient to their husbands. Their role was wife and mother • Children are ‘seen and not heard’ • Fathers are ‘absent’ - child rearing is a female concern • Manners are important • The Christmas tree as a cultural signifier – a status symbol in the 1870’s
ContextsHistorical, Social, Cultural, Ideological • Historical – major events that define the period. The Doll’s House written in 1879.
Norway and the historical context • Ibsen born 1828 and died 1905 in Norway • Denmark’s rule of Norway ended in 1814 • Literature drew on Norwegian myths (Ibsen drew on these ideas but soon changed dramatic focus- to the emerging middle class) • Europe undergoing dramatic change. Rise of Industrialisation. Move from agrarian economy. Rise of middle class . Capital and economic freedom led to a the middle class wanting more control in governance. • Ibsen felt the rise of the middle classes would cause conservatism. • Working class would be prevented from achieving a better life. Ibsen concerned for a division between the wealthier class and the poorer class. • 1848 the beginning of a general revolutionary movement throughout Europe. • In England, by the 1880’s the Suffragette Movement was taking hold
Ibsen and the historical context • Scientific and technological breakthroughs were changing much of the western world. • Charles Darwin “The Origin of Soecies by Means of Natural selection challenged the values of religion and the meaning of life. • Sigmund Freud published his works on psychology and psychiatry – the study oh human behaviour. • Ibsen influenced by the search for scientific answers to questions about what motivates a person’s actions and the influence of the environment (including family background, work, culture etc) on the person. • “A Doll’s House” written in 1879 reflects the rebellious mood and shocked contemporary audienced
Ibsen ‘the father of modern drama’ and the rise ofRealism • Many of Ibsen’s plays broke new ground, marking a move away from the romantic and artificial melodramas. • His plays were controversial because they did not follow the convention of ‘a happy ending’. Bad things could happen to good people and vice versa. • Common themes included divorce, unhappiness, diseases, the role of women, depression and social problems.
Ibsen and Realism • Characters were complex people facing deep frustrations and struggles, and the plays offered insights into the human mind and heart that were genuine and real, rather than what society wanted to hear. • Consequently, the style of acting had to change drastically from the popular Melodrama style. • Characters in Ibsen’s plays spoke in realistic dialogue and all action on stage was believable
MELODRAMA • Most popular drama form in C19th • Integration of dialogue and music • Exaggerated emotions and acting • Spectacular stage effects- train crashes, snow storms, earthquakes. • Plots simplistic and not necessarily logical • Stock characters, conflict between good and evil • Pure entertainment
Look at some of Nora’s responses to her situations, and at Krogstadt’s language. Does Ibsen incorporate any melodramatic elements? Are they criticises or undermined by Ibsen in the context in which they appear?
Realism • Was a turning point in theatrical history, where a stand was taken to move away from contrived, unrealistic and sentimental plays, towards plays which dealt with social and personal realism • FEATURES of REALISM: ∆ Dealt with real life problems and people ∆ Explored social issues such as role of women; class divisions; social problems. ∆ Like a ‘slice of life’ on stage ∆ Actors had to recreate emotional authenticity on stage ∆ Emphasis was on exploring psychological reality of the character’s inner world.
The Well Made Play • A neatly constructed play. 3 Acts – Exposition –situation- Denoument – Resolution and return of status quo. • Ibsen however wanted the audience to bring their conscience to the theatre and become actively involved in the theatrical process. • Ibsen replaced the traditional well made play by including a complication and discussion of the issues raised. He left out the reconciliation. • Although the play looks as they it was going to be conventional – Krogstadt looks like a villain, but he has redeeming characteristics and is capable of change. • Nora leaving shatters the status quo.
Consider the ways in which Ibsen uses elements from the well made play.What issues are not resolved at the end of the play?
Henrik Ibsenand his views on “A Doll’s House” • ‘ a tragedy of the contemporary age’ • ‘ I revel in adverse criticism...My enemies have been a great help to me – their attacks have been so vicious that people come flocking to see what all the shouting was about.’ • ‘untruth does not reside in institutions but in individuals themselves within the community’.