Realism appeared in the last half of the 19th century as an experiment to make theater more useful to society. It is often used in literary works that represent the lives of middle-class people especially after world war. It is not like romanticism or idealism because writers and readers suffered of the same issues, so the realistic works based on real elements to simulate readers, such as using characters with normal features and known names with limited abilities living in daily problems which are caused by logical reasons. Ibsen is one of the most famous realists writers, he called ‘the father of realism’ because in all his works depicts humans as they are, and he chose to break the barrier of beautiful text in literary works and decided to reflect the real life because his goal of writing is to describe human moods and human fates in its natural according to predominant social conditions. This essay is going to discuss the play a Doll’s House which written by Henrik Ibsen as an example of realistic play.
A Doll’s House, play in three acts by Henrik Ibsen, it has been published in Norwegian (1879) and performed the same year. The play revolves around a normal family, a family of Torvald Helmer, he is lawyer in a bank, married of Nora, and they have three little children. Torvald is supposed to represent the ethical member in this family, while his wife Nora is the little, beautiful and irresponsible woman in order to flatter him. As the events progressed, many outsiders enter this family’s life, one of them reveals the fraud once committed by Nora without her husband’s knowledge, in order to get a loan was necessary to save her husband life. When he discovered this act, Torvald was very angry at Nora because of his fear about the social reputation and does not appreciate her. Noura is very disappointed with her husband’s reaction and sees it as a hollow fraud because he let her down. Nora decides to be independent and left him and their children, slamming the door of the house behind her.
The Most important three themes in A Doll’s House play are Gender, Societal Expectations and Identity. These themes introduce realism in the play because it appeared in real circumstances among normal people; Gender is an important theme because the relationship between men and women is based on the expectations of society which make men are the dominant gender while women have to take a sacrificial role. The second theme, Societal Expectations, it is shown clearly in A Doll’s House particularly about the roles of women and men in marital life, Torvald is the man, so he has to be the dominant spouse, and Nora as the wife has to live and work to serve her family as the most important task in her life. Identity, the last theme, is shown through Nora’s view of herself ‘a doll’. Nora felt she was like a doll controlled by both her father then her husband, with no real identity.
Shaw is similar to Ibsen in his play (Pygmalion) in the way of describing women suffrage because of the male power, because in both plays Liza and Nora are subject under the dominant of male. Although these two women were always with men, Eliza filled the void and the time in which Higgins lived, and Nora had actually saved Torvald’s life, but the both men with the women in their respective lives was filled with hatred and selfishness. At the end, Eliza and Nora are looking for independence and seeking to find themselves.