Henrik Ibsen, A Doll House

  1. Consider options for the set design of A Doll House. First, read aloud Ibsen’s stage directions at the beginning of each act. Next, explore a variety of options for scenic metaphor. Consider the play’s title, the claustrophobic nature of the marriage, and the theme of individual freedom. How might these images be communicated visually through set design?
  2. Discuss Helmer, Nora, Krogstadt, and Mrs. Linde’s understanding of morality. Who believes in morality at all costs, and who weighs the circumstances? Explore aspects of heredity and environment that inform moral viewpoints for each individual.
  3. Have two volunteers read aloud the dialogue between Nora and Helmer in act I up to the entrance of the maid. Have two different volunteers read the dialogue between Nora and Helmer in act III beginning with Helmer’s line "Nora—what is this? That hard expression—" through the end of the scene. Compare and contrast the relationship as revealed in each scene. Discuss the ways in which Ibsen asks us to recall the first scene in the last.
  4. Discuss the ending of the play. Where does it leave the audience? Does it matter what happens to Nora after "the sound of a door slamming shut"?
  5. A Doll House is deeply rooted in nineteenth-century social criticism. Is the play more concerned with women’s rights or human rights? What contemporary parallels might resonate with audiences today?