A Doll's House Context

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  • A Doll's House Context
    • Biographical Facts
      • all of his life, Ibsen wrote about money and marriage; and this is no surprising, he witnessed a first hand failed marriage between his parents and his family struggled with financial issues
        • his characters often mirror his parents, themes in his plays often deal with issues of financial difficulty
      • His father was a merchant and he lost all of their money, veverything was solf; the family were ostracised
      • He is often referred to as the 'Father of Realism'
      • Ibsen was forced to move away and leave school age 15. He started doing an apprenticeship and in his spare time wrote plays.
      • He applied to many universities, but was rejected as his entrance grades were too low.
      • He had a long and happy marriage to Suzannah Daaae Thoresen
      • He had father a child with maid whilst working at his apprenticeship, he provided financial support but never met the boy
      • moved to Norway in 1851 to become an assistant at the Norske Theatre. He wrote directed and stage plays for them
      • he was greatly influenced by his mother-in-law, Magdalene Thoreson,  who was a leader of the feminist movement in Norway
    • Ibsen Plays
      • Include Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of the People, Emperor and Galilean, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, The wild Duck, When We Dead Awaken, Rosmersholn, and The Master Builder
      • directed more than 70 plays by scribe or in his style
      • Ghosts - extremely controversial
      • his first play -The League of Youth - explores forces and friction of modern life
    • Literary Influences
      • Camilla Collet - founder of Norwegian feminism
      • German philosophers, Hegel, Voltaire and Kierkgaard
      • literary critic Georg Brandes - who called for naturalism and realism (personal friend)
    • Politics
      • Ibsen gave many political speeches and was decorated with numerous awards and honours during his lifetime
      • As much as he was involved with politics he din not want to be viewed as a politician
    • Laws and Campaigns
      • 1870 Married Woman's Property Act
      • One of the leading central male figures for feminism n Norway
      • Didn't want to be labelled as a feminist
    • Historical Context
      • Social context- Freedom and Gender
        • new science/Darwinism - expolred the questions of heredity, survival and the struggle of the individual towards meaning in life without religion
        • Darwin's radical new idea also made Victorians ponder about life after death - dear of degeneration. This fear was also compounded by the Industrial Revolution
        • Ibsen explored ideas about individuals and freedom- Nora breaking away from an unhappy marriage is more about her freedom as an individual rather that as a woman
      • Marxism
        • characters hold a lack of empathy for people not like themselves
        • definition: the political and economic theres of Karl Max and Fredrich Engles, later developed by their followers to form the basis of communism
        • Capitalism in ADH - Nora being presented as quite stupid and childlike shows the fail and inconsistent nature of capitalism
      • Bourgeoise Society
        • definition - the middle class, typically with reference to its perceived materialistic values or conventional attitudes
      • Patriarchal society
        • women were subordinate to men, they couldn't take out their own money, married women couldn't work
      • theatre was changing, from naturalism to realism
      • industrialisation, social mobility, middle class wanting representation, working long hours with little wage
    • Audience's Beliefs and Responses
      • Weigand: saw it as a comedy
      • Had to change the ending fro a German actress, she refused to leave her children


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