|A Doll's House|
|Written by||Henrik Ibsen|
|Date premiered||21 December 1879|
|Place premiered|| Royal Theatre |
in Copenhagen, Denmark
|Original language||Norwegian, Danish|
|Subject||The awakening of a middle-class wife and mother.|
|Genre|| Naturalistic / realistic problem play |
|Setting||The home of the Helmer family in an unspecified Norwegian town or city, circa 1879.|
A Doll's House (Danish and Bokmål : Et dukkehjem; also translated as A Doll House) is a three-act play written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month.  The play is set in a Norwegian town circa 1879.
The play concerns the fate of a married woman, who at the time in Norway lacked reasonable opportunities for self-fulfillment in a male-dominated world, despite the fact that Ibsen denied it was his intent to write a feminist play. It was a great sensation at the time,  and caused a "storm of outraged controversy" that went beyond the theatre to the world of newspapers and society. 
In 2006, the centennial of Ibsen's death, A Doll's House held the distinction of being the world's most performed play that year.  UNESCO has inscribed Ibsen's autographed manuscripts of A Doll's House on the Memory of the World Register in 2001, in recognition of their historical value. 
The title of the play is most commonly translated as A Doll's House, though some scholars use A Doll House. John Simon says that A Doll's House is "the British term for what [Americans] call a 'dollhouse'".  Egil Törnqvist says of the alternative title: "Rather than being superior to the traditional rendering, it simply sounds more idiomatic to Americans." 
The play opens at Christmas time as Nora Helmer enters her home carrying many packages. Nora's husband Torvald is working in his study when she arrives. He playfully rebukes her for spending so much money on Christmas gifts, calling her his "little squirrel." He teases her about how the previous year she had spent weeks making gifts and ornaments by hand because money was scarce. This year Torvalt is due a promotion at the bank where he works, so Nora feels that they can let themselves go a little. The maid announces two visitors: Mrs. Kristine Linde, an old friend of Nora's, who has come seeking employment; and Dr. Rank, a close friend of the family, who is let into the study. Kristine has had a difficult few years, ever since her husband died leaving her with no money or children. Nora says that things have not been easy for them either: Torvald became sick, and they had to travel to Italy so he could recover. Kristine explains that when her mother was ill she had to take care of her brothers, but now that they are grown she feels her life is "unspeakably empty." Nora promises to talk to Torvald about finding her a job. Kristine gently tells Nora that she is like a child. Nora is offended, so she tells her that she got money from "some admirer" so they could travel to Italy to improve Torvald's health. She told Torvald that her father gave her the money, but in fact she illegally borrowed it without his knowledge (women were forbidden from conducting financial activities such as signing checks without a man's endorsement). Since then, she has been secretly working and saving up to pay off the loan.
Krogstad, a lower-level employee at Torvald's bank, arrives and goes into the study. Nora is clearly uneasy when she sees him. Dr. Rank leaves the study and mentions that he feels wretched, though like everyone he wants to go on living. In contrast to his physical illness, he says that the man in the study, Krogstad, is "morally diseased."
After the meeting with Krogstad, Torvald comes out of the study. Nora asks him if he can give Kristine a position at the bank and Torvald is very positive, saying that this is a fortunate moment, as a position has just become available. Torvald, Kristine, and Dr. Rank leave the house, leaving Nora alone. The nanny returns with the children and Nora plays with them for a while until Krogstad creeps through the ajar door into the living room and surprises her. Krogstad tells Nora that Torvald intends to fire him from the bank and asks her to intercede with Torvald to allow him to keep his job. She refuses, and Krogstad blackmails her about the loan she took out for the trip to Italy; he knows that she obtained this loan by forging her father's signature after his death. Krogstad leaves and when Torvald returns, Nora tries to convince him not to fire Krogstad. Torvald refuses to hear her pleas, explaining that Krogstad is a liar and a hypocrite and that years before he had committed a crime: he forged other people's signatures. Torvald feels physically ill in the presence of a man "poisoning his own children with lies and dissimulation."
Kristine arrives to help Nora repair a dress for a costume function that she and Torvald plan to attend the next day. Torvald returns from the bank, and Nora pleads with him to reinstate Krogstad, claiming she is worried Krogstad will publish libelous articles about Torvald and ruin his career. Torvald dismisses her fears and explains that, although Krogstad is a good worker and seems to have turned his life around, he must be fired because he is too familiar around Torvald in front of other bank personnel. Torvald then retires to his study to work.
Dr. Rank, the family friend, arrives. Nora asks him for a favor, but Rank responds by revealing that he has entered the terminal stage of his disease and that he has always been secretly in love with her. Nora tries to deny the first revelation and make light of it but is more disturbed by his declaration of love. She then clumsily attempts to tell him that she is not in love with him, but loves him dearly as a friend.
Having been fired by Torvald, Krogstad arrives at the house. Nora convinces Dr. Rank to go into Torvald's study so he will not see Krogstad. When Krogstad confronts Nora, he declares that he no longer cares about the remaining balance of Nora's loan, but that he will instead preserve the associated bond to blackmail Torvald into not only keeping him employed but also promoting him. Nora explains that she has done her best to persuade her husband, but he refuses to change his mind. Krogstad informs Nora that he has written a letter detailing her crime (forging her father's signature of surety on the bond) and put it in Torvald's mailbox, which is locked.
Nora tells Kristine of her difficult situation, gives her Krogstad's card with his address, and asks her to try to convince him to relent.
Torvald enters and tries to retrieve his mail, but Nora distracts him by begging him to help her with the dance she has been rehearsing for the costume party, feigning anxiety about performing. She dances so badly and acts so childishly that Torvald agrees to spend the whole evening coaching her. When the others go to dinner, Nora stays behind for a few minutes and contemplates killing herself.
Kristine tells Krogstad that she only married her husband because she had no other means to support her sick mother and young siblings and that she has returned to offer him her love again. She believes that he would not have stooped to unethical behavior if he had not been devastated by her abandonment and in dire financial straits. Krogstad changes his mind and offers to take back his letter from Torvald. However, Kristine decides that Torvald should know the truth for the sake of his and Nora's marriage.
After Torvald literally drags Nora home from the party, Rank follows them. They chat for a while, with Dr. Rank conveying obliquely to Nora that this is a final goodbye, as he has determined that his death is near. Dr. Rank leaves, and Torvald retrieves his letters. As he reads them, Nora prepares to run away for good, but Torvald confronts her with Krogstad's letter. Enraged, he declares that she is now completely in Krogstad's power; she must yield to Krogstad's demands and keep quiet about the whole affair. He berates Nora, calling her a dishonest and immoral woman and telling her that she is unfit to raise their children. He says that from now on their marriage will be only a matter of appearances.
A maid enters, delivering a letter to Nora. The letter is from Krogstad, yet Torvald demands to read the letter and takes it from Nora. Torvald exults that he is saved, as Krogstad has returned the incriminating bond, which Torvald immediately burns along with Krogstad's letters. He takes back his harsh words to his wife and tells her that he forgives her. Nora realizes that her husband is not the strong and gallant man she thought he was and that he truly loves himself more than he does Nora.
Torvald explains that when a man has forgiven his wife, it makes him love her all the more since it reminds him that she is totally dependent on him, like a child. He preserves his peace of mind by thinking of the incident as a mere mistake that she made owing to her foolishness, one of her most endearing feminine traits.
We must come to a final settlement, Torvald. During eight whole years ... we have never exchanged one serious word about serious things.
Nora, in Ibsen's A Doll's House (1879)
Nora tells Torvald that she is leaving him, and in a confrontational scene expresses her sense of betrayal and disillusionment. She says he has never loved her and they have become strangers to each other. She feels betrayed by his response to the scandal involving Krogstad, and she says she must get away to understand herself. She says that she has been treated like a doll to play with for her whole life, first by her father and then by him. Torvald insists that she fulfill her duty as a wife and mother, but Nora says that she has duties to herself that are just as important, and that she cannot be a good mother or wife without learning to be more than a plaything. She reveals that she had expected that he would want to sacrifice his reputation for hers and that she had planned to kill herself to prevent him from doing so. She now realizes that Torvald is not at all the kind of person she had believed him to be and that their marriage has been based on mutual fantasies and misunderstandings.
Nora leaves her keys and wedding ring; Torvald breaks down and begins to cry, baffled by what has happened. After Nora leaves the room, Torvald, for one second, still has a sense of hope, and exclaims to himself "The most wonderful thing of all—?", just before the door downstairs is heard closing.
Ibsen's German agent felt that the original ending would not play well in German theatres. In addition, copyright laws of the time would not preserve Ibsen's original work. Therefore, for it to be considered acceptable, and prevent the translator from altering his work, Ibsen was forced to write an alternative ending for the German premiere. In this ending, Nora is led to her children after having argued with Torvald. Seeing them, she collapses, and as the curtain is brought down, it is implied that she stays. Ibsen later called the ending a disgrace to the original play and referred to it as a "barbaric outrage".  Virtually all productions today use the original ending, as do nearly all of the film versions of the play.
A Doll's House was based on the life of Laura Kieler (maiden name Laura Smith Petersen), a good friend of Ibsen. Much that happened between Nora and Torvald happened to Laura and her husband, Victor. Similar to the events in the play, Laura signed an illegal loan to save her husband's life – in this case, to find a cure for his tuberculosis.  She wrote to Ibsen, asking for his recommendation of her work to his publisher, thinking that the sales of her book would repay her debt. At his refusal, she forged a check for the money. At this point she was found out. In real life, when Victor discovered about Laura's secret loan, he divorced her and had her committed to an asylum. Two years later, she returned to her husband and children at his urging, and she went on to become a well-known Danish author, living to the age of 83.
Ibsen wrote A Doll's House when Laura Kieler had been committed to the asylum. The fate of this friend of the family shook him deeply, perhaps also because Laura had asked him to intervene at a crucial point in the scandal, which he did not feel able or willing to do. Instead, he turned this life situation into an aesthetically shaped, successful drama. In the play, Nora leaves Torvald with head held high, though facing an uncertain future given the limitations single women faced in the society of the time.
Kieler eventually rebounded from the shame of the scandal and had her own successful writing career while remaining discontented with sole recognition as "Ibsen's Nora" years afterwards.  
Ibsen started thinking about the play around May 1878, although he did not begin its first draft until a year later, having reflected on the themes and characters in the intervening period (he visualised its protagonist, Nora, for instance, as having approached him one day wearing "a blue woolen dress").  He outlined his conception of the play as a "modern tragedy" in a note written in Rome on 19 October 1878.  "A woman cannot be herself in modern society," he argues, since it is "an exclusively male society, with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint!" 
Ibsen sent a fair copy of the completed play to his publisher on 15 September 1879.  It was first published in Copenhagen on 4 December 1879, in an edition of 8,000 copies that sold out within a month; a second edition of 3,000 copies followed on 4 January 1880, and a third edition of 2,500 was issued on 8 March. 
A Doll's House received its world premiere on 21 December 1879 at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, with Betty Hennings as Nora, Emil Poulsen as Torvald, and Peter Jerndorff as Dr. Rank.  Writing for the Norwegian newspaper Folkets Avis, the critic Erik Bøgh admired Ibsen's originality and technical mastery: "Not a single declamatory phrase, no high dramatics, no drop of blood, not even a tear."  Every performance of its run was sold out.  Another production opened at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm, on 8 January 1880, while productions in Christiania (with Johanne Juell as Nora and Arnoldus Reimers as Torvald) and Bergen followed shortly after. 
In Germany, the actress Hedwig Niemann-Raabe refused to perform the play as written, declaring, "I would never leave my children!"  Since the playwright's wishes were not protected by copyright, Ibsen decided to avoid the danger of being rewritten by a lesser dramatist by committing what he called a "barbaric outrage" on his play himself and giving it an alternative ending in which Nora did not leave.   A production of this version opened in Flensburg in February 1880.  This version was also played in Hamburg, Dresden, Hanover, and Berlin, although, in the wake of protests and a lack of success, Niemann-Raabe eventually restored the original ending.  Another production of the original version, some rehearsals of which Ibsen attended, opened on 3 March 1880 at the Residenz Theatre in Munich. 
In Great Britain, the only way in which the play was initially allowed to be given in London was in an adaptation by Henry Arthur Jones and Henry Herman called Breaking a Butterfly.  This adaptation was produced at the Princess Theatre, 3 March 1884. Writing in 1896 in his book The Foundations of a National Drama, Jones says: "A rough translation from the German version of A Doll's House was put into my hands, and I was told that if it could be turned into a sympathetic play, a ready opening would be found for it on the London boards. I knew nothing of Ibsen, but I knew a great deal of Robertson and H. J. Byron. From these circumstances came the adaptation called Breaking a Butterfly."  H.L. Mencken writes that it was A Doll's House "denaturized and dephlogisticated. … Toward the middle of the action Ibsen was thrown to the fishes, and Nora was saved from suicide, rebellion, flight and immorality by making a faithful old clerk steal her fateful promissory note from Krogstad's desk. … The curtain fell upon a happy home." 
Before 1899 there were two private productions of the play in London (in its original form as Ibsen wrote it) — one featured George Bernard Shaw in the role of Krogstad.  The first public British production of the play in its regular form opened on 7 June 1889 at the Novelty Theatre, starring Janet Achurch as Nora and Charles Charrington as Torvald.    Achurch played Nora again for a 7-day run in 1897. Soon after its London premiere, Achurch brought the play to Australia in 1889. 
The play was first seen in America in 1883 in Louisville, Kentucky; Helena Modjeska acted Nora.  The play made its Broadway premiere at the Palmer's Theatre on 21 December 1889, starring Beatrice Cameron as Nora Helmer.  It was first performed in France in 1894.  Other productions in the United States include one in 1902 starring Minnie Maddern Fiske, a 1937 adaptation with acting script by Thornton Wilder and starring Ruth Gordon, and a 1971 production starring Claire Bloom.
A new translation by Zinnie Harris at the Donmar Warehouse, starring Gillian Anderson, Toby Stephens, Anton Lesser, Tara FitzGerald and Christopher Eccleston opened in May 2009. 
The play was performed by 24/6: A Jewish Theater Company in March 2011, one of their early performances following their December 2010 lower Manhattan launch. 
In August 2013, Young Vic,  London, Great Britain, produced a new adaptation  of A Doll's House directed by Carrie Cracknell  based on the English language version by Simon Stephens. In September 2014, in partnership with Brisbane Festival, La Boite located in Brisbane, Australia, hosted an adaptation of A Doll's House written by Lally Katz and directed by Stephen Mitchell Wright.  In June 2015, Space Arts Centre in London staged an adaptation of A Doll's House featuring the discarded alternate ending.  'Manaveli' Toronto staged a Tamil version of A Doll's House (ஒரு பொம்மையின் வீடு) on 30 June 2018, translated and directed by Mr P Vikneswaran. The drama was very well received by the Tamil Community in Toronto and was staged again a few months later. The same stage play was filmed at the beginning of 2019 and screened in Toronto on 4 May 2019. The film was received with very good reviews and the artists were hailed for their performance. Arrangements were made to screen the film, ஒரு பொம்மையின் வீடு, in London, at Safari Cinema Harrow, on 7 July 2019.  From September 2019 to October 2019 the Lyric Hammersmith in London hosted a new adaptation of the play by Tanika Gupta who moved the setting of the play to colonial India.  Though the plot largely remained unchanged, the protagonists were renamed Tom and Niru Helmer and a conversation was added regarding the British oppression of the Indian public. One significant shift was the lack of a slamming door at the end of the play. They also published a pack of teaching materials which includes extracts from the adapted play script. 
A production of A Doll's House by The Jamie Lloyd Company starring Jessica Chastain was scheduled to play at the Playhouse Theatre in London in the summer of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the play was postponed to a later date.  In November 2022, it was announced that the production would instead premiere on Broadway at the Hudson Theatre. It began previews on February 13, 2023 and officially opened on March 9.  It stars Jessica Chastain, Arian Moayed, Michael Patrick Thornton, and Okieriete Onaodowan. 
A Doll's House questions the traditional roles of men and women in 19th-century marriage.  To many 19th-century Europeans, this was scandalous. The covenant of marriage was considered holy, and to portray it as Ibsen did was controversial.  However, the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw found Ibsen's willingness to examine society without prejudice exhilarating. 
The Swedish playwright August Strindberg criticised the play in his volume of essays and short stories Getting Married (1884).  Strindberg questioned Nora's walking out and leaving her children behind with a man that she herself disapproved of so much that she would not remain with him. Strindberg also considers that Nora's involvement with an illegal financial fraud that involved Nora forging a signature, all done behind her husband's back, and then Nora's lying to her husband regarding Krogstad's blackmail, are serious crimes that should raise questions at the end of the play, when Nora is moralistically judging her husband. And Strindberg points out that Nora's complaint that she and Torvald "have never exchanged one serious word about serious things," is contradicted by the discussions that occur in act one and two. 
The reasons Nora leaves her husband are complex, and various details are hinted at throughout the play. In the last scene, she tells her husband she has been "greatly wronged" by his disparaging and condescending treatment of her, and his attitude towards her in their marriage – as though she were his "doll wife" — and the children in turn have become her "dolls," leading her to doubt her own qualifications to raise her children. She is troubled by her husband's behavior in regard to the scandal of the loaned money. She does not love her husband, she feels they are strangers, she feels completely confused, and suggests that her issues are shared by many women. George Bernard Shaw suggests that she left to begin "a journey in search of self-respect and apprenticeship to life," and that her revolt is "the end of a chapter of human history."   
Michael Meyer argued that the play's theme is not women's rights, but rather "the need of every individual to find out the kind of person he or she really is and to strive to become that person."  In a speech given to the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights in 1898, Ibsen insisted that he "must disclaim the honor of having consciously worked for the women's rights movement," since he wrote "without any conscious thought of making propaganda," his task having been "the description of humanity."  However, the play is associated with feminism, as Miriam Schneir includes it in her anthology Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings , labelling it as one of the essential feminist works. 
Because of the departure from traditional behavior and theatrical convention involved in Nora's leaving home, her act of slamming the door as she leaves has come to represent the play itself.   In Iconoclasts (1905), James Huneker noted "That slammed door reverberated across the roof of the world." 
This section needs additional citations for verification .(December 2020)
A Doll's House has been adapted for the cinema on many occasions, including:
Hedda Gabler is a play written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The world premiere was staged on 31 January 1891 at the Residenztheater in Munich. Ibsen himself was in attendance, although he remained back-stage. The play has been canonized as a masterpiece within the genres of literary realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama. Ibsen mainly wrote realistic plays until his forays into modern drama. Hedda Gabler dramatizes the experiences of the title character, Hedda, the daughter of a general, who is trapped in a marriage and a house that she does not want. Overall, the title character for Hedda Gabler is considered one of the great dramatic roles in theater. The year following its publication, the play received negative feedback and reviews. Hedda Gabler has been described as a female variation of Hamlet.
The Master Builder is a play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
Sara is a 1993 motion picture directed by Dariush Mehrjui. The film is based on Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House, with Sara in the role of Nora, Hessam in the role of Torvald, Sima in the role of Ms Linde and Goshtasb in the role of Nils Krogstad.
Madge Titheradge was an Australian-born actress who became a leading actress in the West End of London and on Broadway.
A Doll's Life was a 1982 musical with music by Larry Grossman, and a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. A sequel to the 1879 Henrik Ibsen play A Doll's House, it told the story of what happened to the lead character, Nora, after she left her husband and her old life behind to face the world on her own; in doing so, it examined several aspects of feminism and the ways in which women are treated.
A Doll's House is an American drama television film that premiered on NBC on November 15, 1959, as part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame anthology series. It is directed and produced by George Schaefer, from a teleplay by James Costigan, based on Henrik Ibsen's classic play of the same name. The film stars Julie Harris and Christopher Plummer, who previously co-starred in Little Moon of Alban.
A Doll's House is a 1973 British film, directed by Patrick Garland. It is based on Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House (1879).
A Doll's House is a 1973 drama film directed by Joseph Losey, based on the 1879 play A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen. It stars Jane Fonda in the role of Nora Helmer and David Warner as her domineering husband, Torvald.
A Doll's House is a 1992 videotaped television production of the 1879 play of the same name by Henrik Ibsen. It was directed by David Thacker and first broadcast on BBC 2 on 21 November 1992, and was later shown on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre in the United States.
The Father is a naturalistic tragedy by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, written in 1887. It is about the struggle between parents over the future of their child; resulting in the mother, using her cunning manipulative skills, subduing and finally destroying the father.
A Doll's House is a 1917 American silent drama film based on the eponymous 1879 play by Henrik Ibsen. The film was written and directed by Joe De Grasse, and stars Lon Chaney, William Stowell and Dorothy Phillips. Film historian Jon C. Mirsalis stated that director De Grasse's wife Ida May Park wrote the screenplay, but most sources attribute both the writing and directing of the film to De Grasse himself. The film is today considered lost.
Cambridge Arts Theatre is a 666-seat theatre on Peas Hill and St Edward's Passage in central Cambridge, England. The theatre presents a varied mix of drama, dance, opera and pantomime. It attracts some of the highest-quality touring productions in the country, as well as many shows direct from, or prior to, seasons in the West End. Its annual Christmas pantomime is an established tradition in the city. From 1969 to 1985, the theatre was also home to the Cambridge Theatre Company, a renowned national touring company. The Cambridge Arts Theatre was founded in 1936 by the famous Cambridge economist and statesman John Maynard Keynes.
The Hole in the Wall Theatre was a small theatre in the Perth suburb of Leederville, Western Australia, operating from 1968 to 1984. In 1984 it was relocated to a civic auditorium in Subiaco which, as of 2020, is known as the Subiaco Arts Centre, a heritage-listed building, managed by the Perth Theatre Trust.
Michael Leverson Meyer was an English translator, biographer, journalist and dramatist who specialised in Scandinavian literature.
A Doll's House is a 1918 American silent drama film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Artcraft Pictures, an affiliate of Paramount Pictures. It is the third American motion picture filming of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House. Maurice Tourneur directed and Elsie Ferguson starred. This film is lost.
Nora is a theatre show directed by Haris Pasovic and produced by the East West Theatre Company based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The show is based on Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House, which was translated into Bosnian by Munib Delalic. Nora is the story of a young successful couple who seemingly live a perfect life but suffer from marital problems under the surface.
A Doll's House is a 1922 American silent drama film produced by and starring Alla Nazimova and directed by her husband Charles Bryant. The couple released the film through United Artists. It is based on the 1879 play A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen with the scenario written by Nazimova under the pseudonym Peter M. Winters. The film was the fourth silent version filmed of the play, being preceded by a 1918 Paramount film directed by Maurice Tourneur. The film is classified as being lost.
Nora is a 1923 German silent drama film directed by Berthold Viertel and starring Olga Tschechowa, Carl Ebert and Fritz Kortner. It is an adaptation of the 1879 play A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen. It premiered in Berlin on 2 February 1923. The film's art direction was by Walter Reimann.
A Doll's House, Part 2 is a 2017 play written by Lucas Hnath. The play premiered at the South Coast Repertory, in April 2017, before transferring to Broadway at the John Golden Theatre. The play "picks up after Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House concludes".
'What Happens After Nora Leaves Home?' is a speech given by Chinese writer Lu Xun at Beijing Women's Normal College in 1923. In his speech, Lu Xun evaluated the ending of A Doll's House by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, where the heroine Nora leaves home to search for her selfhood. Concerned with the blind following of Nora's rebel, Lu Xun spoke to address its potential danger.