A. Some background details on the literary work
1. By Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen
2. First produced in 1879, it is one of the first feminist plays of the modern era
B. What the play is about
1. Nora Helmer and Torvald, her husband, are the main characters.
II. First body paragraph
A. The play’s title refers to the way women have ta similar social role as that of a doll.
B. Examples or quotes from the play
C. Because he thinks she is a doll, Torvald totally underestimates Nora.
III. Second body paragraph
A. Ibsen shows that Nora is stronger than her husband, thereby further subverting gender norms.
B. Examples from the play.
IV. Third body paragraph
A. From a cultural and historical perspective, Ibsen’s play is remarkable.
B. The play depicts a woman with genuine agency, who directly confronts gender bias and patriarchy.
A. Restating the thesis: Presented to the public in the late nineteenth century, Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House shows how gender norms were dramatically changing after the industrial revolution
B. It would not have been common for a woman to make the choices Nora does.
I. One of the first feminist plays in the world was actually penned by a man in Norway named Henrik Ibsen.
A. A Doll’s House was written in the late nineteenth century, and that is also the time period in which the play was set.
B. The play consists of three acts, during which the audience learns about toxic masculinity and the repression of women in society.
C. In A Doll’s House, Ibsen sharply criticizes prevailing gender norms even in a modern and progressive society, making the play a poignant example of social commentary in literature.
II. The title of Ibsen’s play is deeply symbolic, showing how women are likened to and treated like children in middle class European society.
A. To be treated like a doll is also to be treated like a child, evidenced in the simple and condescending language Torvald uses to speak with his wife Nora.
1. Example: He calls her “featherhead” and “my little skylark”
2. More sinister examples of Torvald treating Nora like a doll is later in the play, when he scolds her for helping him.
B. Being thought of as a doll gives Nora and her kind no agency in society.
1. Having no agency means Nora has to sneak around to help her husband.
2. Torvald reminds Nora that she cannot survive without him because she is financially dependent upon him.
III. Furthermore, in “A Doll’s House,” Torvald becomes a symbol of toxic masculinity.
A. When Nora finally speaks her mind, Torvald refuses to listen or have any sense of self-awareness.
B. Nora realizes that the problem is with masculine gender norms, for she refers to the way her father also treated her.
IV. Through “A Doll’s House,” the playwright makes direct social commentary that champions the rights of women and foreshadows immanent social change in Norwegian—and indeed all of European—society.
A. The tone of the play is dark, and the play emerges as a real tragedy because Torvald never changes.
B. Ibsen shows, however that women are poised to take the initiative and protest the current social contract even if men are currently unwilling to negotiate their position of power.