A doll's house

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A doll's house

In this scene, how does the dramatist effectively expose characters, relationships and issues so as to make the audience keen to see the rest of the play?

Act one scene one from a dolls house by Henrik Ibsen is effective in many ways for enrapturing its audience. Henrik Ibsen successfully manages to introduce many themes and issues alone into the first scene. The scene focuses solely on the two characters Nora and Torvald. Our first impressions are that they are a happily married couple but there are many clues, which hint at the marriage Nora and Torvald have. It appears Torvald controls Nora. Ibsen seems to suggest Nora is a vivacious and cheerful character who is very spirited. Her humming and her smiling all add to the gaiety of her character. In contrast her characterisation to Torvald is very different. Ibsen portrays Torvald as an admirable man who is rigidly honest, a hard worker, and a man of high ethical ideals. He is serious and logical whilst Nora is not; she is made to be very feminine whilst Torvald is conveyed as the representative figure of masculine society.

Their behaviour toward each other is affectionate, there does not seem to be any tension between them, Nora appears to be a submissive and dependent character. She exemplifies the roles expected of women and mothers during the time at which the play was set. But who is in control of the relationship is not clear. On the surface it does to some extent show that Torvald is in fact the dominant one in the scene. Torvald lectures Nora on the use of money, while she is left to sulk. Torvald addresses Nora as one would address her a child.

(Quotation)

She is Torvalds skylark, his squirrel and does not object to the terms he uses over her. In fact she plays up to him, she plays the role of a child and does not act the role of a mature married mother. Her role is soon very clear; while he lectures her gently and treats her as a child she uses the child like faade in manipulating him into giving in to her. Though Torvald is in charge, taking the leading male role, adopting a conventionally controlling tone when talking about the rules of money, it is Nora through her cajoling, teasing and asking who gets Torvald without him realizing giving her more money. It is her way of controlling him slyly without causing tension. It is as if Nora is playing a game. The scene is relatively difficult because it appears in some ways both of them have the upper hand, in the end we refer to...