A Doll's House

Henrik Ibsen

Also known to be called A Doll House or The Doll House, depending on the translation, A Doll's House is a play, published in 1879 by Norwegian Henrik Ibsen. It takes place in a bourgeois household, with characters that typify the bourgeoisie. At the time that it was released, the ideas and themes put forth in the play were considered scandalous. This was the Victorian era, and while there is nothing particularly scandalous about it by modern standards, in Ibsen's day and age, the subject of a woman actually showing some strength was something that never came up. It just didn't happen.

Because of this, Ibsen was forced to write an alternate ending to the play, one which he positively detested. In this alternate ending (spoilers ahead), Nora decided to stay with Torvald Helmer and the kids rather than just walking out. This goes against everything that he was trying to show about society, and nearly every theme within the book. No wonder he hated it.

For those who haven't read the play, it centers around a typical middle class family, the Helmers. Torvald Helmer, the man of the house who has recently received a promotion at the bank where he works. He is manipulative and controlling of his wife, Nora Helmer, without really realizing it. She thinks that she loves him, and sacrifices nearly everything because of this. The Doll's House referred to in the title is a central metaphor, refering to the way in which Nora is used. She even realizes that she has begun to use their three children in much the same way.

Dramatis Personae

Interestingly enough, The Beatles were originally planning on titling their self-titled album (The White Album) "A Doll's House," after this play. However, the Leicester group Family issued their debut album Music in a Doll's House shortly before The Beatles was released, so it ended up being a self-titled album. This could have been a cool title.