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A Doll's House (Norwegian: Et Dukkehejm) is an 1879 play in three acts by Henrik Ibsen.
The main character is a middle-class wife and mother, Nora Helmer, who spends most of her time acting like a child for the amusement of her husband, Torvald. The play revolves around her realization that she has spent her whole life being defined by her identity as a daughter, wife, and mother, and that both her father and her husband have treated her like a doll rather than a person.
The play is a scathing critique of nineteenth-century marriage, and it is very feminist in outlook for its time, although some critics have interpreted it as being not so much about women's rights as about the more general need for the individual to explore and define their own identity.
A Doll's House provides examples of the following tropes:
- Foreshadowing: Nora speaks to her trusted Nurse (who was Nora's childhood maternal figure) that "If anything were to happen, would you..."
- Good Lawyers, Good Clients: Part of the reason that the Helmers have had so many financial problems is that Torvald, according to Nora, will only take the cases he feels are morally right.
- Leaving You to Find Myself: The play's conclusion, which might be the Trope Codifier. Nora's decision was quite controversial at the time, as it entailed not only leaving Torvald but abandoning her children - the actor playing Nora in the German production of the play forced Ibsen to write a new ending (which he detested) where Nora isn't shown leaving, because 'I would never leave my children!'
- Loan Shark: Krogstad, although his methods are rather unorthodox.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Nora, who plays up her Deschanelesque whimsicalness for Torvald's amusement.
- May also be a Deconstruction. As a result of said whimsicalness, she and Torvald have never sat down and had a serious conversation about anything.
- Trophy Wife: It's possible to view Nora as this. One interpretation would be that Torvald doesn't really care about Nora at all and just wants a doll, in her words, to look good, entertain his friends, and fit the expectations of a model wife, but another would be that he genuinely loves Nora but is simply incapable of understanding her.
- Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Averted. Torvald berates Nora viciously then just as abruptly decides to forgive her because she is like a child and knows no better. She allows him to hug her and tell her how much she loves her, leaves to get changed - and walks back in with a suitcase to announce that she's leaving him.