Title: A Doll's House
Author: Henrik Isben
Challenge: Back-to-the-Classics 2015, a classic play
I have read a couple of plays in my lifetime, but normally skip them without understanding why. A few years ago I had read The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, and I thought it was great. This time, while reading A Doll's House, I wondered, Why do I instinctively skip plays? when I am thoroughly enjoying this one, just as I had enjoyed The Crucible. I really do like plays, after all.
I think my favorite part of plays is the continuous dialogue. It keeps the action rolling and forces the reader to think about what is going on, using his own interpretation, without the author explaining it to the reader.
In regards to this play, without exposing major details, the main character, Nora, comes to an understanding that her husband has been treating her like a doll, a caged bird, an idol, that he would dress up and expect to perform a certain way to fit his - or society's - mold of a good woman or wife. She plays the part until a major test confirms her suspicion, that her husband has been egotistically exploiting her for his own pleasure. One of his greatest offenses is that he does not treat her respectfully, as his equal.
Believe me, both characters in this play are rather odd, though could have been exaggerated for the story's sake. It is as if Nora were two different people: the woman her husband wanted her to be, and the person she truly is. Once his true essence was revealed, she threw off her false identity and took up her true nature and confronted her husband.
What I found disturbing about her final decision, however, was how she left her children; unfortunately, when I thought about the times she lived in, Nora would have never been able to raise her children after leaving her husband because no court would have granted her custody, even shared; and I suppose she couldn't stomach her husband enough to co-exist with him (as he suggested) for the sake of the children. I don't know that I could leave my kids; I would have just taken the separate room.
And that is my experience with A Doll's House, which has opened the door to other plays in my future. Thanks to Marianne and Hamlette for encouraging me to read it.