Review of Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’.
For audiences today, A Doll’s House is discomforting for quite different reasons to those that proved so controversial at its first performance in 1879. A play that became instrumental in the movement for women’s rights, A Doll’s House follows the marriage of Nora and Torvald Helmer over a period of three days, during which their marriage is stretched to breaking point by personal secrets coming out into the open. Its original critics were shocked by Ibsen’s conclusion, where Nora leaves her husband and children in order to escape the strictures of a male-dominated society, abandoning her family home to embark upon a process of self-discovery. But watching the play in twenty-first century Britain, it is not Nora’s decision to leave that is unsettling. Instead, it is her treatment at the hands of her husband, in a relationship which to contemporary eyes borders upon abusive.
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