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Book Review: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

Genre: Play, Theatre
Book Name: A Doll’s House
Author: Henrik Ibsen
Pages: 102
Publication Year: 1879

Before one appreciates any book, story or movie, it is important to understand the backdrop when it was written/ filmed. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen may be discarded as superficial and feminist by many, but once you find that it was written during Victorian times, your perspective may change.

Those were the times when females were only expected to marry for money and bear kids and anything related to love or independence was frowned upon (other authors like Jane Austen have too written of such times). When a daughter/ wife was supposed to a do a man’s bidding. Has much changed now? No, especially not in rural areas, and we can’t even ignore urban societies outright. Isn’t a wife still supposed to leave job if her husband is working in a different city and she is not able to find a job there? No one is there to take care of her frustrations when she is supposed to behave in a certain way.

Ok, so enough of my rant. With respect to the book, it’s nothing but a 3-act play where the female protagonist Nora is not a twit as we are made to believe in the first few pages/scenes. But she is one who has gone against the norm of society in the manner she deems fit. *Spoilers ahead* She is supposed to be a beautiful wife and a doting mother, but she finds out a way to cure her husband’s illness by borrowing money and working hard surreptitiously to somehow manage the hardships (so unheard of in those times). You may call her an evil person for hiding all this from her husband, but her husband has a very strong opinion on how a person is supposed to morally act. The other female character is also an aberrant where even after being a widow and with none left of her family, she is ready to go out and work for herself.

I am not giving away all three acts of this book, but briefly describing Act 1 only to give you a perspective. Why such a name of the book, you may ask. It’s a doll’s house where characters are supposed to behave a certain way in a make-believe facetious world. Do give this book a try!

P.S: It is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version. So what you waiting for! Shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
A Doll’s House is Henrik Ibsen’s best-known play. This masterpiece created quite a stir when it was first released because of its feminist stance. It is considered by many to be the first truly feminist play ever written. The play comes to a climax as Nora, the play’s protagonist, rejects her marriage and her smothering life in a man’s “dollhouse.” Wonderfully written, a true classic.

About the author:
Henrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the “father of modern drama.” Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.

His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian values of family life and propriety largely held sway in Europe and any challenge to them was considered immoral and outrageous. Ibsen’s work examined the realities that lay behind many facades, possessing a revelatory nature that was disquieting to many contemporaries.

Ibsen largely founded the modern stage by introducing a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. Victorian-era plays were expected to be moral dramas with noble protagonists pitted against darker forces; every drama was expected to result in a morally appropriate conclusion, meaning that goodness was to bring happiness, and immorality pain. Ibsen challenged this notion and the beliefs of his times and shattered the illusions of his audiences.

Rating: 9/10
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