MHC Seminar 1, Professor Casey Henry

Category: A Doll’s House Part 2

I found A Doll’s House Part II to be amusing, yet simultaneously illuminating. It touched on issues relating to the rise of feminism in the early twentieth century, while still displaying a sense humor. One example of this was in the beginning when Anne Marie, the Helmer family’s house servant, inquired how it was that Nora, the play’s protagonist, found success. She began listing professions that were stereotypical, like fashion designer, and was surprised to find out that Nora was in fact a writer. After Nora delivers her reasons for returning to the Helmer household, the reason being she needed a formal divorce from her soon to be ex-husband Torvald, the audience begins to sympathize with Nora. Nora prefers to fly solo, and in some instances, that is totally acceptable. However, in my opinion, in her case, it wasn’t. Throughout the play, I developed feelings of animosity towards Nora. The major reason for this was her treatment towards her daughter, Emmy. My rationale is that if you are unhappy with your marriage, and have tried multiple times to sort it out, you have the right to leave, but you do not, under any circumstances, have the right to abandon your children. You brought your children in this world to love and care for them, to put their needs above yours. Nora, selfishly, abandoned her children, and upon encountering Emmy for the first time since she was born, Nora not only did she not want to see her, she made no attempt to apologize for abandoning her. The only reason Nora had agreed to speak with Emmy in the first place was again for her own selfish needs: to get Emmy to convince Torvald into divorcing her. Although I fully despised Nora, I realized that the actress indeed did an exceptional job in portraying her, for I was fuming with rage whenever she spoke thereafter.

In addition to the remarkable acting from all the characters, I quite liked the stage direction of the play. The neon green signs highlighting each character’s name illuminated the dark stage. I thought it was an interesting prop the directors used to segue each scene into the next and to introduce each character’s role in the overall plot. The transition, paired with the lack of a musical score/sound effects, and the occasionally thrown around swear words, made the whole play feel unconventional. Yet somehow, it worked.


A Doll’s House Pt. 2 Discussion

Review: A Doll’s House Part 2 met my expectations for what I was looking forward to see from a continuation of the original three act play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. I was surprised, in a good way, to see the extensive use of comedy in this play. It was definitely a surprise to be able to connect with the cast of the play through continuous laughter but I think the whole purpose of the use of comedy in A Doll’s House Part 2 was exactly this, to help the audience of the twenty first century relates with the message being showcased. In A Doll’s House, which dates back to over one hundred years ago, Henrik Ibsen brings about an idea that for the time period was considered radical and out of the normal for a woman to do. Likewise, the playwrights of A Doll’s House Part 2 made sure to center the message of the new play on something that today’s audience would consider perhaps unusual about marriage and its meaning.

The play A Doll’s House Part 2 raises the question of whether or not marriage is the right step to take when two people fall in love. According to Nora, one of the main characters of the play, marriage is unnecessary. Over the 15 year she was away on her own, without the company of her husband and her children, she formulated the idea that marriage was another way of saying incarceration. In series of arguments with Anne Mare, Nora brings about the idea that people are better off without marriage, which not only forces people to be together despite apparent changes in the way they feel over time, but that also promotes the idea that the sole purpose of people in life is to find happiness next to another person. Nora defends her argument by proposing a new idea that she hopes will catch on with the world soon: finding happiness with yourself. What is intriguing about this play in particular is that it is carried out in a serious of back and forth arguments. Most of the play is presented with Nora arguing why she took the decision to leave and what she thinks the world should learn from now on about the idea of marriage. There is an alternative reason as to why she returns to her old home than to just explain why she left in the first place, but after the play is over, the audience is left with the task of formulating their own idea on marriage and where they stand on the spectrum based on what Nora and Torvald bring to the table.




Doll House Pt 2

The play did a really good job of making it difficult to fully agree with or be on the side of any one character. While watching the play I felt that I could see both sides to any argument. The main character at times came off as extremely strong and resourceful and at other times irrational and selfish.

While watching the play I could feel myself being easily convinced of different character’s opinions and views on marriage and at times my allegiances would change so quickly that at one point I felt confused and frustrated at the whole discourse. This I believe is a success because that allowed me to feel the same confusion and frustration that the characters in the play felt, for example when the wife was on the floor with the ripped contract and the husband was on the chair with a bashed in the head.

The play to me didn’t serve to answer any questions but really raised many and sort of went on to say is there an answer? Then they sort of made some jokes about it shrugged it off and said “well if there is one it sure is hard!” Then laughed it off and said “Life goes on”.

That kind of frustrates me but at the same time I think that works in this case because the play is almost I would say about frustration.

The part that stuck with me the most was when she said “Just being with people is so hard.” I liked how she made it so general as to refer to relationships with other conscious beings and not just marriage. It kind of highlights that the problem isn’t as much a matter of gender or society or all sorts of other potential sources of blame, but rather just a part of being human.

We enjoy company but to be in company with someone is to compromise with each other to varying degrees. Difficult even without a binding contract!

Prompt for October 2

Write a short review of the play (A Doll’s House Part 2), focusing on specific aspects you thought were successful or unsuccessful. You might focus on: actors’ performances, stage design, direction, or the general interplay between the text and the live action you witnessed.