How to Teach “A Doll’s House”

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House has long been considered one among the best plays ever written. After its first performance in 1879, the play sparked controversy with its realistic depictions of marriage and therefore the role of men and ladies in middle-class society. it’s since become one among the world’s most performed plays.

One of the play’s recurring themes is that the idea of appearance vs. reality. within the beginning of A Doll’s House, Nora Helmer appears to measure a cushty life. However, she lives with a secret, one that would ruin her happy life if anyone were to seek out out. When reading the play, it’s important to notice what information is revealed during the course of the play and the way those revelations affect each character. Sex Dolls

While teaching A Doll’s House, confirm students understand that strict societal expectations were in situ at the time of the play’s creation. the connection between Nora and Torvald encapsulates Ibsen’s critique of nineteenth century moral values and gender relations. Understanding the expectations of the time will help

students grasp the play’s tension and its conclusion.


In the beginning of A Doll’s House, Nora Helmer seems to possess everything she wants and wishes , but she also hides an excellent secret from her husband, Torvald. because the play unfolds, the audience learns the results of maintaining appearances for the sake of societal image. This groundbreaking drama tackles issues that plagued the middle-class of Ibsen’s time, like the expectations of girls , the importance of cash , and therefore the need for individual freedomObjectives for Teaching A Doll’s House
Discuss how Nora and Torvald’s marriage may be a critique of nineteenth century society and gender norms.
Discuss Nora’s character development in reference to the play’s title.
Analyze the role of minor characters, like the Helmer children and Anne.


Discuss how certain objects within the play are symbols for the play’s essential themes.
Determine how each character’s sense of responsibility influences his or her decisions.
Key Elements and Techniques
Themes and Motifs
Gender — The play critiques gender expectations of the period of time , especially in terms of Nora who fights against them.
Responsibility — a topic that concerns most characters within the play, from Nora who is liable for her children’s welfare and paying her debt, to Christine who married a person she didn’t look after because he provided financial security.
Freedom — Though it upset many audiences, Nora’s eventual departure meant freedom for her because she felt suffocated in her marriage.Related Works
Theme of Gender

The Secret lifetime of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
A Streetcar Named Desire, by Williams
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

Theme of Responsibility

Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
Antigone, by Sophocles
Things disintegrate , by Chinua Achebe

Theme of Freedom

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by Shakespeare
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles DickensYour students will love:
Witnessing Nora’s journey from the suffocating nature of her home to the liberty she finds within the end
Reading a play about the realistic issues and problems concerning the center class
Students may have problems with:
Understanding Nora’s motives, especially the very fact that she leaves her children within the end
Understanding the expectations of nineteenth century society
Available from Prestwick House:
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