The Opening of A Doll's House

The Opening of A Doll's House

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A critical analysis of the opening of the play A Dolls House.

In the opening of the play "A Dolls House" ,the setting of the stage
is of a house portrayed as if it were a dolls house. The items
described in the house are all small therefore representing a dolls
house where all items are miniature, the type of furniture owned ,
such as a piano, show that the family is moderately well off. There is
no narrator in the play and all information and knowledge about the
character is gained from listening to conversations. Ibsen has
incorporated relevant information into conversations, this seems like
a natural situation and makes the audience feel like they are looking
onto a real house with real people. This means that the actors will
have to act well so as to show audience with out seeming as if they
are telling them. This means Ibsen had to write the opening of the
play not only telling the audience what is going on but what has gone
on.

Nora is the first character introduced, and is shown entering the
house on her own, the first sentence spoken in the play is said by
Nora, this is to do with concealment and money. "The children mustn't
see. How much is that?" This is significant to the rest of the play
as these are two main themes used through the play. When Helmer (Nora
Helmer's husband) enters he is then shown through out of the rest of
the opening and the play, to treat Nora like a child using methods
such as control and speaking to Nora in a patronising and child like
manner. In the conversation between Nora and Helmer, Helmer refers to
his wife as if she were inferior in the relationship using terms such
as "songbird" and "squirrelkin". Nora in return replies to Helmer also
using child like talk, such as referring to money as "pennies and
pennies". Nora is also shown to be generous with money as she is tells
the porter to "keep the change" this is an immediate indication that
Nora is not worried about spending. Helmer also states that when Nora
gets money it "melts in (her) hands" suggesting that she does not save
.Nora's attitude towards money is also shown later in the opening when
she shows no concern of borrowing money and being in debt. Nora also
shows lack of feeling towards other people and there situation as long
as she is ok , this shows a selfish nature as she says "why would U
care if I still owed people money".

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Helmer thinks borrowing is "vile"
and exclaims that it is "Just like a woman" to have the lack of
knowledge to not worry about the consequences. How ever Nora does seem
selfless when Helmer asks her what she would like as a present. Until
she then decided that she wants money instead of a present. This is
unusual for a women in the 19th century who were not financially
independent, especially during marriage.

Ibsen incorporates into the speech how they have three children and
states their sexes. Another character is introduced to the audience,
Dr Rank who is a frequent visitor, this makes the audience wonder if
the Dr is a friend or if someone is ill in the house? This intrigues
the audience. Nora is also described by Helmer as a "Daddy's daughter"
indicating that she has always been looked after. Nora again is shown
to be concealing something, this time from Helmer. These are macaroons
that Helmer has previously forbidden Nora to eat. This shows how
Helmer also treats Nora like a child as he tries to control her, and
when asking her is she has been eating the sweets, he addressed Nora
as "little Miss Sweet-tooth". In reply to this Nora replies "No I
promise" the audience know that this is a lie but Helmer believes his
wife. Now the audience know that Nora lies and conceals matters from
Helmer, and that Helmer is gullible and does not doubt or suspect
Nora.

In the end of the opening, Helmer discusses with Nora how he is now
getting a more secure job, this informs the audience of how the
Helmer's will be more well off in the new year than they have been
before. The Opening of the play ends just as a visitor is entering. By
this point it is known that Helmer and Nora's have different views on
financial matters. The audience are shown into their family life and
how Nora is treated and thought of by Helmer in a child like and
inferior manner. Treating her like a doll and him being the doll
master. Its is also shown how Nora conceals and lies to Helmer about
small matters, which Helmer has previously forbidden her to do. All
this is enough to intrigue the audience and make them want to carry on
watch to find what happens between the couple who act so peculiarly
towards each other.
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