Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House (1879) has interesting references to the time when the drama was written . The author wrote the work in Italy, where he was living with his family at the time, which is also reflected in the fictional life story of the Helmer family. Moreover, parallels with the author's biography can be drawn from some of the characters and their psychological conception.

The story of Nora is very likely directly inspired by the fate of a family friend, Laura Kieler, after this young author, like Nora, experiences complications after borrowing money to finance a stay at a health resort in Italy for her sick husband.

Our texts illustrate the autobiographical features and the origins of the drama and describe the historical background: Norwegian society as well as the Norwegian women's movement in the 19th century. Beginning in the 1870s, Ibsen became intensely involved with the emerging women's rights movement and deliberately created a work that clearly denounced the problems and rigid gender roles of the time. Therefore, the work bears traits of both realism and naturalism

The reception, criticism, and the many of adaptations will be discussed. They show how much the author already represented very modern ideas at that time, which were not positively received by all sections of society. It also shows that his portrayal of problems in relationships and how to deal with them are always relevant themes. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

The socially determined role of women

Naturalism was used in literary works mostly between 1880 and 1900. Ibsen's work (1779) was written shortly before the beginning of this movement. Although the play contains many features of bourgeois realism, it already has some naturalistic traits that will play an important role.

For naturalists, people are determined by their social circumstances, thus they are usually not responsible for their problems that result from this circumstance. The most important literary form for authors that use naturalism is the drama. Here the precise and accurate elaboration of the characters is brought into focus, while the plot is in the background.

In A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen does not focus mainly on the plot, but on the...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of PrimeStudyGuides.com, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in