The Reverberation of Nora’s Door Slam
A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, is perhaps one of the most hotly debated plays to come out of the 19th century. The 19th century continued the process of cultural demystification that began with the Enlightenment. The 19th century theater, in particular Ibsen’s theater, ruthlessly challenged the social and cultural mores of Victorian Europe. It may be suggested that this confrontation with the century’s social problems was in large part due to the move toward realism in the theater. The movement toward realism, which, like the 19th century in general, was an attempt to become more scientific. Indeed, Ibsen’s realist theater tackled social problems with a seriousness that was shocking to the Victorian establishment. Ibsen, like his character Nora, knew that it was time for serious talk in a space where serious talk had never previously taken place. We hear this in Nora’s closing confrontation with Torvald:
Nora: It doesn’t occur to you, does it, that though we’ve been married for eight years, this is the first time that we two--man and wife--have sat down for a serious talk?
Helmer: What do you mean by serious?
Nora: During eight whole years, no--more than that--ever since the first day we met--we have never exchanged so much as one serious word about series things.
Ibsen is considered by many as the father of realism and one of the plays that belongs to Ibsen’s realism period is A Doll’s House. However, the play would come to be noted for more reasons than its style. The play would be remembered for its social impact as well as its artistic achievement: “Even Strindberg ...admitted...that, thanks to A Doll’s House, ‘marriage was revealed as being a far from a divine institution, people stopped regarding it as an automatic provider of absolute bliss, and divorce between incompatible parties came at last to be accepted as conceivably justifiabl...