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Realism in a Doll's House

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The Term 'Realism' was appeared in the 1850s includes works about working class life, ordinary people and their activities. It is used to represent events, actions, and characters as they actually are. Realism in literature is considered opposites to idealization or romanticism, it aims to get people aware of the social condition of the lower class, because no one talks about the situation of low class and their problems. Thus, literature is the only means that helps them to overcome this harsh period. Henrik Ibsen is one of the realists because all his works are influenced by the problems that people live in, so he called (the father of realism) because he takes ideas from reality and turning them into literary works, seeking to discuss these problems and then solve them. In addition, his works are not without the precise description of the details which make them more realistic. This essay is going to discuss one of the plays written by Henrik Ibsen, it is ' A Doll's House'.

A Doll's House play was one of the plays that aroused interest among many people in the 20th century because it is one of the first plays that discussed unexpected issues, such as the issue of feminism, individualism, and finances. Nora is the most famous feminist in literature of the 20th century because she refuses to live the rest of her life belonging to her husband Torvald, and carry out his orders without asking herself if she wants this or not. Throughout the play Nora has not been treated as an independent individual with a value or respect but she was not aware, until her secret has been revealed about the money borrowed to save her husband's life, and here she realized that Torvald does not care about her, his priorities are reputation and appearance, thus Nora decided to leave, look for herself and achieve her wishes.

The main themes mentioned in the play are the problems of reality that middle-class people had in the 20th century, money, gender, individual vs. society. Money was the main theme of this novel. It represents Torvald's priority in life, and Nora's need to keep her marriage. Also, gender has played a key role in the play because it illustrates the difference between a woman's life and a man. Nora is getting the loan hardly and then repay it hardly, just because she is a woman. In conclusion, her husband sees her wrong and does not appreciate the circumstances she went through because as a man can simply overcome these difficulties. The last issue, individual vs. society, society imposes some roles on individuals, whether female or male, and therefore Nora's desire to be treated as an independent individual is not acceptable in society because he sees the role of women does not exceed the limits of her home.

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Both plays talk about almost similar problems. First, gender, Nora and Eliza are treated badly by men in the plays (Torvald and Higgins) because they are women, whose lives are entirely under the control of these two men. Also, both plays illustrate the financial problems of the twentieth century, because throughout A Doll's house play Nora needed money to pay the loan, and Eliza in Pygmalion had to agree to Higgins' ask to change her class and get money. Also, Eliza and Nora were suffering from their fathers, Eliza's father left her because of poverty, and Nora's father treated her like a doll under his control. So, both plays are almost intended to refer to the problems of society in the 20th century.

One of the scenes that accurately described the reality in A Doll's House play when Torvald learned about the loan, he never cared that Nora was forced to this illegal loan only in order to help him and save his life, he abandoned her and was very angry, his reputation and social form was much more important than the feelings of his wife This scene reflects realism in both reputations and gender because men always care about their reputations without regard to any other considerations. They also see themselves as much more important than women, so Torvald could not appreciate this great sacrifice from Nora because his focus on himself.

In conclusion, A Doll’s House Play contained the most prominent problems of society such as, feminism, gender discrimination, loss of identity, and financial issues. Thus, it can be considered as one of the literary works that have contributed to guide society to correct concepts on some common issues.

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Realism in a Doll’s House. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from
“Realism in a Doll’s House.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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Realism in a Doll’s House [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Dec 3]. Available from:
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