It’s been a while since I reviewed a classic, and I don’t do much of these anyway, so I had to write something about this one! It has been on my TBR for so long, I was actually planning on reading it in February, and never got around it… Until now!
Original title: Et dukkehjem
Genre: Plays, Classics, Fiction
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Originally written in 1879 by Dannish playwright Henrik Ibsen.
The story in a nutshell:
It’s Christmas time. The main character, Nora Helmer, is a naive housewife, married to a man called Torvald, who works at a bank, and they have three young kids. Quickly, the reader/spectator finds out that Nora has been hiding something from her husband, which she thought was both of little importance and for his best interest. However, there is more to it but since she apparently wasn’t exactly taught the things of life, she 1/ doesn’t know and 2/ does not understand.
As the play unfolds, Nora encounters people of both good and bad intentions, and has to take a life changing decision.
So first I wanted to say that this play really did touch the feminist part of me. Torvald really doesn’t consider his wife his equal, she’s like a child to him, something he can play with, and even make fun of. She is like a doll (hence the title of the play). That is the frustrating part, at first. But thankfully, it doesn’t last through the entire play (even though Nora remains a rather naive character).
The good thing is, as the play unfolds, Nora starts to realise it. She gets to understand her husband and the worlr better. The reader/spectator realises that there is more to her than her appearance, she also has her own secrets, and in her own way, is doing her best, and that made her a really endearing character to me. Her desire for freedom and justice also made me like her very much, and I really wanted to emphasize on the fact that there is more to her than what you may think at first, so please don’t give up on her after a few pages! Yes, Nora is very naive, and can get a bit frustrating. But there is a reason for this, it’s because of the way she has been treated for her entire life (and it’s obviously not a good way for her to get independance and opinions). And the fact that she slowly starts realising it and immediately wants to change it is what makes her such a great character in my opinion.
I think that overall, this play is very clever and well written. It is also interesting that it was something really new and unique at the time, and I think that makes the story even more precious.
I really liked this play because it was an easy and quick read, and also because of Nora’s interesting character development. I also really liked the parts with Mrs Linde, the other feminine character of the play, a woman who comes back in Nora’s life after years apart, and who has learnt to live by herself for years… She is the exact opposite of Nora, she is more rational, more experienced, etc. and they really balance each other. And unlike Torvald, she doesn’t look down on her, and understands her much better. At first, I just thought she was a very weird character, but the more I read her parts, the more I liked her, and her choices didn’t disappoint me.
Ps: I despise Torvals and really admire Ibsen for writing such a play.
Pps: If you want to read more classics and are looking for an easy read, then this is the thing for you! If you want to read more feminist books, then just go & check this one out!