full title A Doll’s House
author Henrik Ibsen
type of work Play
genre Realistic, modern prose drama
time and place written 1879, Rome and Amalfi, Italy
date of first publication 1879
tone Serious, intense, somber
setting (time) Presumably around the late 1870s
setting (place) Norway
protagonist Nora Helmer
major conflict Nora’s struggle with Krogstad, who threatens to tell her husband about her past crime, incites Nora’s journey of self-discovery and provides much of the play’s dramatic suspense. Nora’s primary struggle, however, is against the selfish, stifling, and oppressive attitudes of her husband, Torvald, and of the society that he represents.
rising action Nora’s first conversation with Mrs. Linde; Krogstad’s visit and blackmailing of Nora; Krogstad’s delivery of the letter that later exposes Nora.
climax Torvald reads Krogstad’s letter and erupts angrily.
falling action Nora’s realization that Torvald is devoted not to her but to the idea of her as someone who depends on him; her decision to abandon him to find independence.
themes The sacrificial role of women; parental and filial obligations; the unreliability of appearances
motifs Nora’s definition of freedom; letters
symbols The Christmas tree; New Year’s Day
foreshadowing Nora’s eating of macaroons against Torvald’s wishes foreshadows her later rebellion against Torvald.