Posts Tagged ‘henrik ibsen’

So depressing we get to read this during Valentines. But, hey, it’s suitable.

  • There has to be understanding that Ibsen’s greatness is predated (at least by this point) by William Shakespeare and the Greek playwrights. Ibsen’s body of work is so strong that theatre as we know it today can easily pinpoint Ibsen’s realism as its foreground.
  • I do want to get this out of the way – the roots of realism are traced to either the publication of ‘A Doll’s House’ or the first staging of it. We have to take into account the tradition of neoclassicism it predates as well as the French concept of the ‘well-made play.’ A parallel, for instance, is Oscar Wilde’s Salome as an example of Symbolist drama. I did not include Salome for the reading challenge (although I read it together with Doll House) but comparing the two, it is a clear shift from technique, attack and theme.
  • It is such a depressing play. Alright, resolution, the next round of Reading Challenges, we’ll do just comedies. Anyway, in Europe, A Doll’s House heralded what is known as a domestic tragedy. Let’s call it a modern tragedy. At the same time, it is ground-breaking for being a ‘problem play’ – a play that shows a specific social problem.
  • Let’s move to text, which is arguably the main point of this whole reading challenge. Krogstad is an evil bastard, but I sort of think Mrs. Linde is the bigger bitch in the whole play. Of course, I don’t get why Nora had to spill her secret to Mrs. Linde who obviously is this whole jealous woman with so many issues. But I think, though Mrs. Linde had good intentions by the end, the way Ibsen chose to show a scene where she had to decide whether Krogstad had to withdraw the letter or not shows that it was an important choice and it rested on her. Whether she truly cared about her friend or whether she were just this evil bitch is perhaps up to the director to decide.
  • So much tension is boiling here. The audience is aware of the surface feelings of Nora throughout the whole play, she seems uneasy even though her husband seems to be admiring her. Later on, her explosion that she doesn’t love him pushing things to the limit. In my opinion, the understatements of tension between her and her husbands in acts i and ii really paid off for an explosive act iii.
  • Of course, one can argue that this is one of the earliest texts that talk about women’s rights. (Ibsen would deny that and call it human rights. I see no difference.) It does show the whole bored in a relationship thing but raises it to the level where she and her husband have really lost any love for each other. Rereading portions in the play, even the way they jovially talk to each other, seems to be just a game with no real emotions attached anymore. It’s play. Nora is Helmer’s doll. That is why when Nora reveals all this in the end, we get it.
  • This is the play with the best pay-off, really. It is all surface at the start but it blows up in your face in the end.
  • My favorite line in this play:

    HELMER: No man would trade honor for love.

   NORA: Millions of women have done just that.

Right. So next week, we’ll stay with pioneers of modern theatre. Chekhov, Cherry Orchard.


Read Full Post »