Learner Portfolio: A Doll’s House Research Notes

Topic 1: Henrik Ibsen

– Find an image of Ibsen.

– Find some information about his upbringing and education.

Ibsen was born in a poor family but managed to prepare for university examinations and write plays simultaneously. He started his career in the field of theater; eventually, the death of his theater was the liberation of Ibsen as a playwright.

– Describe the three phases of his dramatic works.

  1. Verse and stage: written in verse and modeled after romantic historical tragedy
  2. Social realism and prose drama: increased focus on social injustice
  3. Individual alone and disengaged: contention among craftmanship and life

– Explain why he is considered the pioneer of modern drama.

Ibsen brought a new stage of moral analysis that went along with a realistic middle-class background. He is considered the pioneer of modern drama because of the political nature of his plays. Ibsen’s controversial plots made him the father of realism.

– Explain two literary elements in which he is known to excel and the major theme of most of his plays.

His plays are known for Money and power are two of the most prevalent themes of Ibsen. Dialogue and symbolism are Ibsen’s strengths; psychological issues are also common in Ibsen’s characters.


Topic 2: Norway

– Find and include a map of Norway and its location in Europe.

– Describe Norway’s climate.

Norway has a much milder climate than other parts of the world at the same latitude.

– Briefly explain Norway’s government and economy.

Norway is a constitutional hereditary monarchy and has a stable economy.

– Include information about Norway’s traditional culture.

Norwegians usually eat a quick lunch and has a strong emphasis on modesty. The feeling of being one nation is strong, along with individualistic and egalitarian attitudes.


Topic 3: Gender Roles and Social Classes in the Victorian Era

– List the years included in the Victorian Era.


– Discuss whether society was patriarchal or matriarchal and why.

The society was patriarchal. Women were considered inferior in the society as they were dominated by men in the society.

– Describe the characteristics of the “ideal woman.”

An ideal Victorian woman was expected to take care of the family and devote the majority of her time into domestic activities. A woman was considered the family’s possession/claim.

– Explain the societal expectations of each of the following people:

– upper-middle-class woman and man

– working-class woman and man

– a suffragette

– Briefly explain how the nineteenth-century feminist movement differs from modern feminism.

The first wave of feminism (19th century) demanded women’s enfranchisement, the abolition of coverture, and access to stable education. This went against the conventional belief that women were naturally located in the private sphere of the household and not fit for public. However, the modern analog already has enfranchisement established. Moreover, it has grown globally, caring for women in other developing nations.


Topic 4: Marriage in the Victorian Era

– Explain whether or not it was a romantic bond or economic institution and why.

Marriage at that time was mostly the man’s responsibility. To be considered elegant and fitting in to the status quo, marriage was carried out by women disregarding their affection towards their partners. It was a romantic bond to some extent, as it had deeper societal and gender-related implications.

– Describe the expectations and responsibilities of women and men.

Men: works all day, earns enough money to pay the rent and provide necessities and food.

Women: Bearing and raising children, taking care of the house chores.

– Find and include any publications with instructions on how to be a good wife or husband.

“He should always be ready to sacrifice his present personal pleasure to the future well-being of those who have the first and best claim to his regard.”

“The same law which imposes upon the husband the duty of supporting his wife, gives him a general and paramount claim to her obedience.”

– Explain if the structure or responsibilities within marriage differed according to social class and how.

The structure or responsibilities within marriage was fairly rigid and conservative across all social class.


Topic 5: Realism

– Define the term and describe the characteristics of “theatrical realism.”

Attempt of playwrights to mirror reality on stage. The playwrights intended for the audience to see themselves on the stage without fanfare.

– Briefly describe some nineteenth-century social, economic, and political influences that may have led to the birth of theatrical realism/modern theater.

The disparity between the rich and the poor was significant. Social classes emerged, and gender roles became more pronounced than ever before. Hence, discontent citizens were in search of ways to relate with one another. It was marketing in a sense that the playwrights knew that the audience would sympathize with the plot and the character.

– List the theatrical elements of theatrical realism.

The plot dealt with common problems. There was a stronger emphasis on behavior and decisions of characters through more detailed and intricate dialogues.

– Include some titles and photos from plays that are considered “realist.”

“A Streetcar Named Desire” “Pygmalion”

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