Book 34 – A Doll’s House

Book – A Doll’s House
Author – Henrik Ibsen
Year – 1879
Genre – Play
Pages – 72

Continuing with one of my little challenges this year – namely the one that says ‘read more plays because you really haven’t read very many’ – I thought that I would pick up one of the plays by a playwright who falls firmly in the category of ‘someone you really should have read or seen one of their plays, but probably haven’t’.  A 132 year old Scandinavian play seems a ridiculous place to start, but as a legend of the theatre, I needed to read some Ibsen, and this is arguably his most famous play.

A Doll’s House was a massively controversial play at the time of release.  If follows Nora, a wife who is treated much like a plaything by her husband, as she gets into some trouble.  She raised a loan several years back after a doctor told her that only a move to sunnier climes could save her husbands wife.  As women were unable to borrow in those days, and she wanted under no circumstances for her husband to find out, she forged her father’s signature onto the loan.  When this comes back to haunt her, she is left with difficult decisions to make.

It is unusual to think that the reasoning behind this play being so controversial was that it showed women thinking for themselves, and being strong willed and independent, when upon reading nowadays, the controversy seems to be that women were ever put into such a repressed situation.  Despite the datedness of ideas, A Doll’s House remains a truly brilliant play – particularly to read.  I found myself being swept up in the characters and the concept, and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.  I was recently fortunate enough to pick up a book of four of Ibsen’s plays (one of which is unfortunately a second copy of this one) for a mere thirty pence in a second hand bookshop, and I shall now look forward to reading some of his other work.


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