Play: a doll house by henrick ibsen

John Q. Doe English 344 8 May 2000 A Doll’s House Questions Because of the its composition, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House exhibits many of the characteristics of traditional melodrama. Firstly, the conflict driving the plot surrounds a crime, forgery. Many melodramas centered around a crime. Additionally, the play employs the traditional roles, or stock characters, found in a melodrama: the hero, the heroine, the villain, and the spurned lover. However, the manner in which Ibsen portrays his characters and their interactions breaks the norms of melodrama.
In melodrama, the stock characters act in prescribed ways. The hero always has the same characteristics. He is good but not so clever as to avoid being tricked by the villain. Ibsen breaks from melodrama by having his characters interact in a manner driven by an understanding of human behavior and psychology. Instead of filling simple prescribed roles, Ibsen’s characters have complex, layered personalities. The villain, Krogstad, is not a villain in the end of the play. Though he attempts to blackmail Nora early in the play, his actions are a result of his mistreatment at the hands of Torvald, and he abandons his plans of blackmailing and returns the incriminating documents. Torvald, who is to play the role of hero, begins the play as a strong man who shields his wife. By the end, however, his actions reveal that he is a selfish man who does not love his wife but only himself. Lastly, Nora, the heroine, abandons her family because she has never had the opportunity to experience freedom of choice. Men have always told her what to do. A traditional heroine would love her husband no matter the circumstances and would never abandon her children.
2. A Doll’s House is not a tragedy, which, by default, indicates that it would be a comedy. In the traditional sense, a comedy is a play that ends happily, no matter the action that occurs during the course of the story. A Doll’s House does end happily. Nora abandons her husband and children, which seems a horrible act, but in so doing, she makes the choice to become a real person. She decides to give herself the freedom to choose what happens in her life by leaving the protection, and oppression, of men. The theme of freedom and of finding oneself is uplifting and in no way tragic.
A traditional tragic form, such as the model outlined by Aristotle, cannot exist in a realistic style. In order for a tragedy to be traditional, the protagonist must be a man of noble birth with great power. He must be unassailable except for one minor flaw, so that the audience can experience the pathos of his downfall. In a realistic form, the playwright seeks to explore the protagonist’s behavior from a psychological perspective. By adopting this perspective, the writer cannot create the character type demanded in a classical tragedy. All men are flawed in many ways, and this point is at the heart of realistic drama. The traditional tragedy assumes that the protagonist has just one flaw. Additionally, the modern world no longer contains men of noble birth with great power. Most aristocracies around the world have fallen, and the existing ones are not aristocracies in the sense of conveying noble blood through established heritage or are so lacking in power as to be meaningless. Thus, our societies no longer have the type of character needed to create a traditional tragedy.