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A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
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A Doll's House

by Henrik Ibsen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,117671,880 (3.58)131
""The character of Nora has fascinated me for a long time but I felt that the play, in the form I knew, was too dated. I would not have been interested in accepting the part in the Archer version, because the lines were too stiffly artificial and lacked conviction. The Thornton Wilder adaptation, however, has restored life and credibility to a drama, which is still one of the finest efforts in our theatrical literature." -Ruth Gordon, Cincinnati Times-Star, October 27, 1937 "It's a thrill to encounter this collaboration between these two pioneers of modern theater. Wilder has created a brilliant version of Ibsen's great play, which is taut, conversational and pulsing with life nearly eighty years after it was written. Of course, Wilder worked on A Doll's House while writing Our Town. There are incredible echoes between Nora and Emily-two young women who poignantly confront their own mortality and must say good-bye to life as they know it." -Arin Arbus, director, A Doll's House, Theatre for a New Audience, May 1, 2016 Not staged until 2016, since its record-breaking Broadway premiere starring Ruth Gordon in 1937, this is the first publication of the adaptation of Ibsen's classic drama as revitalized through the shrewd lens of American drama master Thornton Wilder. With clarifying dialogue, Wilder uproots this classic from Norway and funnels it through an American lens. The marriage of Ibsen's naturalistic style melds with Wilder's knack for emotional nuance to create a demonstrative edition of the revered A Doll's House. Henrik Ibsen is often referred to as the father of modern realism. He is most well known for his plays Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, The Master Builder, The Wild Duck, Peer Gynt, and An Enemy of the People. Thornton Wilder is considered to be one of the most accomplished American playwrights and novelists of the twentieth century. He received three Pulitzer Prize Awards for Our Town (1938), The Skin of Our Teeth (1943) and The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1928). His novel The Eighth Day received The National Book Award in 1968. Our Town is the most-produced American play in the world"--… (more)
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» See also 131 mentions

English (55)  Spanish (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Studied it and loved it
  AhmedA2019 | Oct 28, 2019 |
I read quickly through the Project Gutenberg e-copy of this play to help my son with his upcoming English exam. It is a three act play, originally written in Norwegian in 1879 with all three acts set in the Helmer family's front living room.

The play is set just before Christmas one year and Nora (Mrs Helmer) is happy that soon her husband is to be promoted and they won't have to scrimp and save so much. Torvald (Mr. Helmer) scolds her for being a spendthrift while at the same time he is unable to refuse her requests for money. Act I is a scene of domestic bliss even if the family is not very well off. Nora seems to be quite flighty, without a care in the world despite their three young children - but she has a secret she hasn't told her husband which comes back to haunt her at the end of the first act.

Apparently this was quite a controversial play when it first came out because it showed that far from being pampered and talked down to by their husbands and treated like dolls who have no self-purpose, as Nora is by Torvald, women of that time could think and act for themselves although limited by the constraints of society and the law.

Nora. What do you consider my most sacred duties?

Helmer. Do I need to tell you that? Are they not your duties to your husband and your children?

Nora. I have other duties just as sacred.

Helmer. That you have not. What duties could those be?

Nora. Duties to myself.

Helmer. Before all else, you are a wife and a mother.


One aspect of the play is the way Torvald and Nora have put each other up on the pedestals of what they imagine the other is but, as Nora points out, they have not really communicated with each other in all their eight years of marriage. The play (while especially driving home the way Torvald treats Nora like a child or a doll for him to spoil) is the build up to the revelation of Nora's secret and how they deal with discovering that those pedestals are not real.

Helmer. I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora--bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves.

Nora. It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.

Helmer. Oh, you think and talk like a heedless child.


Honestly! It's hardly surprising that Nora reacts the way she does at the end of the play.

Although she knows that what she did was illegal, Nora is proud that she could do something to save her family and it was not wrong of itself. Her secret, when there was little chance of it being discovered, has buoyed her up and kept her the happy heart of the family but Torvald tears that down with a few sentences that show (although he is not told - and doesn't bother to check - the necessity and circumstances that drove her to do what she did) that he doesn't understand his wife.

I'm happy to see there is redemption for a couple of the other characters; I think it is partly because they do decide to confess to each other whereas I thought Nora and Torvald could have talked things through more. Of course, that would have spoiled the drama and thus the impact of Ibsen's play. But there is a glimmer of hope for them in the closing line.

Ibsen based the idea for this play on something that happened to a friend of his; Laura Kieler was in financial difficulties and asked for his help which he refused and consequently she ended up in legal trouble. Ibsen felt guilty about this and wrote the play but Kieler, who went on to become a successful novelist, was not happy that he used her life story for it.

4**** ( )
  libraian | Oct 16, 2019 |
A middle class home, a rather silly, flighty wife and mother, a rather patronising yet fond father....and three acquaintances.
Money troubles, deception, a rather melodramatic feel to the whole thing...and Nora realising, at last, that the life she's been leading as the petted, childlike wife is not sufficient for her and she needs to 'find' herself... ( )
  starbox | Oct 7, 2019 |
Vec se pomalo slabo secam Pigmaliona od Dzordza Bernarda Soa, al' sam siguran da su ove dve drame jako slicne. Obe se bave (ne)zavisnoscu zene. Ono oko cega nisam toliko siguran, al' mislim da je Soova drama bolja. ( )
  NenadN | Sep 6, 2019 |
In this audio version of Ibsen's classic play, Nora must face down the consequences of a choice she made years ago and the ramifications it has for her marriage and domestic life.

Callista Flockhart sparkles as Nora and the other cast members set her off to advantage. I studied this play in high school English but I'd forgotten most of the details so the turn in the final act was wonderful to experience again. Recommended. ( )
  MickyFine | Sep 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ibsen, HenrikAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGuinness, FrankAdaptationmain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clant van der Mijll-Piepers, J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keel, AldoAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, WilhelmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lavery, BryonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Linder, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLeish, KennethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, Michael LeversonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palola, EinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stephens, SimonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walsh, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilder, ThorntonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

A Doll's House / Hedda Gabler / The Master-Builder / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

Pillars of Society / A Doll House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck / Rosmersholm / The Lady from the Sea / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder / Little Eyolf / John Gabriel Borkman / When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / The Lady from the Sea / The League of Youth by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

The Master Builder / The Wild Duck / Peer Gynt / Hedda Gabler / Pillars of Society / A Doll's House / The League of Youth / Ghosts / Rosmersholm / John Gabriel Borkman / An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

Werke 1 : Gedichte, Kaiser und Galiläer, Nora, Stützen der Gesellschaft by Henrik Ibsen

Pillars of Society / A Doll's House / Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

Modern and Contemporary Drama by Carl H. Klaus

The Bedford Introduction to Drama by Lee A. Jacobus

World Drama, Volume 2: Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Russia and Norway by Barrett H. Clark

Anthology of living theater by Edwin Wilson

Six Plays by Henrik Ibsen by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / An Enemy of the People / Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / The Lady from the Sea / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder / An Enemy of the People / The Lady from the Sea by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / The Wild Duck / Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / The Lady from the Sea by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / John Gabriel Borkman by Henrik Ibsen

The Works of Henrik Ibsen by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll’s House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Wild Duck / Rosmersholm / The Lady from the Sea / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House / John Gabriel Borkman by Henrik Ibsen

The League of Youth / The Pillars of Society / A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

Hedda Gabler / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House / The League of Youth / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

Nine Famous Plays, Including: Peer Gynt, A Doll's House, Ghosts, Hedda Gabler, An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

The Methuen Drama Book of Naturalist Plays: A Doll's House, Miss Julie, The Weavers, Mrs Warren's Profession, Three Sisters, Strife (Play Anthologies) by Chris Megson

An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House / The Master Builder / Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Hedda Gabler / The Master Builder / John Gabriel Borkman by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

Hedda Gabler / Ghosts / An Enemy of the People / A Doll's House / The League of Youth / The Wild Duck / Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen

Ibsen's Selected Plays: Peer Gynt; A Doll's House; The Wild Duck; Hedda Gabler; The Master Builder [Norton Critical Edition] by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Hedda Gabler / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

Världsdramatik 2: Drama i borgerlighetens värld by Bengt Lewan

Die grossen Dramen by Henrik Ibsen

Contemporary Drama: European, English and Irish, American Plays by E. Bradlee Watson

Contemporary Drama European Plays I by E. Bradlee Watson

A Doll's House / Emperor and Galilean / John Gabriel Borkman / When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Peer Gynt / Ghosts / The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / The Wild Duck / An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Ghosts / Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

I capolavori: I pilastri della società-Casa di bambola-Spettri-Un nemico del popolo-La casa dei Rosmer-La donna del mare-Hedda Gabler. Ediz. integrale by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House / Rosmersholm / The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

Die Stützen der Gesellschaft. Nora by Henrik Ibsen

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Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen. Be sure the children do not see it till this evening, when it is dressed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The original Norwegian title was “Et dukkehjem”.
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