A Doll’s House as a Problem Play

Discuss “A Doll’s House” as a Problem Play

A Doll’s House as a Problem Play

A Doll’s House as a Problem PlayIbsen‘s play ‘A Doll’s House’ is considered to be one of the finest plays. In “A Doll’s House” marriage remains to be the focal point. Ibsen examines the loopholes of marriage in male dominated society of his times. The playwright only presents the problem, he does not provide any solution. This technique was later on adopted by John Galsworthy in his play.

A Doll’s House : The Plot

‘A Doll’s House’ is the story of Nora and her husband Helmer. They have been married for eight years and they have three children. The couple seemingly lead a very happy life. Helmer, no doubt, is fond of his wife Nora. But he treats her as his pet and possession. Eight years ago Helmer felt seriously ill. The doctor advised Nora to take her husband to warm climate to save her husband’s life. But she had no money to take him to Italy. She borrowed money from a man named Krogstad against a promissory note on which she forged the signature of her father. After treatment her husband fully recovered and this secret loan from Krogstad created complications in the life of Nora.

At the moment, Krogstad needs Nora’s help to save his job in the bank in which her husband has been appointed the manager. As Nora fails to help Krogstad, he also brings into Helmer’s notice, Nora’s criminal act of forging her father’s signature. Her husband humiliates her. Nora realizes that in the male dominated society, she was living in a world of making believe in a world of own. She feels that she is a stranger in her own house. She leaves her children, her husband, her home, her society and walks out. Marriage has failed. It lacked proper mutual understanding between husband and wife.

Nora is surrounded by Helmer. Krogstad and Dr. Rank, the three chief male characters of the play. In their own ways all the three try to blackmail, exploit her. In the male dominated society Nora is neglected from all sides. She buys cheap clothes for her children and also cheap Christmas gifts. All this goes waste. She had much faith in her husband, she gets disillusioned on that front also. Nora walks out, Helmer sinks in his chair and covers his face with his hands. The audience was shocked to witness the end of the play.


So we find that Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” presents the significant problems of man-woman relationship based on the institution of marriage. Man’s desire to dominate, woman’s desire for liberation come in conflict with each other. The result is that woman leaves everything behind. The whole structure fell off like house of cards.

 Read it also: Various Types Of Love In Twelfth Night

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