In literature, realism movement started around (1865- 1914), emerged in France. It is a literary and intellectual movement aimed to describe reality in literary works, it tends to present elements of the story accurately, such as: setting, characters, themes, etc., to make them realistic without any reference to fiction such as Imagination or figurative language. Also, realism movement is considered the opposite of romanticism and idealism because it shows lives of people with all their flaws and tragedies, especially because they suffered in this period from the horror of World War. Ibsen is one of the authors who can be classified as realistic, because in his works he seeks to achieve a certain consistency between the act and psychological complexity. When writing literary work, he mentions the reasons why things happen, and what are the resulting consequences, which makes the plot more realistic and did not originate from an unknown past. This essay will discuss realism in the play of a Doll’s House which written by Henrik Ibsen.
A Doll’s House is a play divided into three-act, written by Norway’s Henrik Ibsen. It was presented in the first time at the Royal Theatre. The importance of the play is to highlight the way in which the fate of married women is dealt with. Nora is married to a man (Torvald) who treats her with little respect, or like a child not as a person. However, Nora is responsible for (in illegal way) borrowing money to pay to help her husband to save Torvald’s. But when he knew, he did not appreciate that, which made Nora decides to left him and her children and live for herself. This play provoked controversy at the time and we can say, it caused ‘storm of outraged controversy’.
There are several themes in this play, such as: love and marriage, gender, money and work, and Deceit. love and marriage in the play began with emphasize on the relationship between the couple Nora and Torvalds. Also, gender shows the limited role of women in society and how Nora considered the first feminist when she realized this role at the end, then declares her freedom. In addition, Money and Work is appeared as an important theme because the need for money influenced all characters in the play almost, in Torvald and Nora relationship, and when Nora borrows money for her husband at first, Kroegstad also tries to get back to work at the bank. Furthermore, deceit appeared in more than one situation in this play, but the most prominent, when Nora appeared to be obedient wife but she hides a serious secret from him, it is in all cases deceitful. Deception in the play destroys relationships. These themes in the story discussed as issues and concepts of the society, which makes the play more realistic.
Shaw in Pygmalion is similar to Ibsen in A Doll’s House in some points, and they have occurrences that show similarities between the two female protagonists, Nora Helmer and Eliza Doolittle. Comparison Nora with Eliza is very acceptable and shown very clearly because they both are going through experiences that have led to huge results, and changed their lives completely at the end. Also, they both under male authority because Torvald and Mr. Higgins who make decisions in their life, and no man in the two plays respect them. Mr. Higgins and Torvald do not give them absolutely freedom to live their life as they deserve.
A scene that describes realism in terms of gender theme is when Nora is confronting Torvald, she told him that their relationship is exactly like her relationship with her father, who treated her as a toy. She is obliged to obey their orders and beliefs, and she has no right to make a decision by her own desire. Thus, this part reflects the situation which many women live in, and shows the oppression of female characters in this play and expectations imposed by society on them.
In short, A Doll’s House explores aspects of feminism because Ibsen created the first real “feminist” character in the history of a theater. In my opinion, this play aims to reveal the injustice upon women, which was inherent in the culture of the male-dominated society. Everymen around Nora consider her as inferior creature, which reflects the common view of women in this period. No doubt, A Doll’s House one of the literary works that contributed in increasing attention in feminism issues