Ibsen's A Doll's House: Background information when reading The Woman Upstairs

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The Woman Upstairs

by Claire Messud

The Woman Upstairs
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 272 pages
    Feb 2014, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Ibsen's A Doll's House

Henrik Ibsen It was the door slam that reverberated around the world. In 1879, Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, published the famous play A Doll's House. The play, in three acts, revolves around Nora Elman, who balances a delicate secret while trying to save her marriage. Eventually the secret is revealed as is the nastiness of her husband. Sick of the constraints set forth in a traditional marriage – a doll's house construct – Nora decides she must leave to find, and eventually become, the person she truly is. This door slam that marks her departure might have been literal, but it has been held as metaphor for a woman breaking free from the structure of traditional marriage. Since the play criticizes the social construct of marriage, it was considered quite scandalous when it first premiered. Because it was Nora, a married woman, who shut the door on a stifling life and decided to find herself, the play was interpreted as a win for women's rights in the late nineteenth century.


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