A Doll's House
Aristotelian Themes in A Doll's House
Considered the precursor of Western dramatic criticism, Aristotle’s notes on The Poetics arms modern readers with the language by which tragedy is evaluated and judged. In this essay I will examine how Aristotle’s classical vision of tragedy flourishes in modern plays such as Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House. Particularly, I will argue that Ibsen’s form of realism employs Aristotle’s ideal of plot as “what is capable of happening according to the rule of probability or necessity” to achieve a social or political reaction where tension between Nora and her audience allow her to be portrayed as a tragic character (Aristotle pg. 127). The focus here is not on Nora and Torvald's life story of feminine exploitation, but rather on how the play's three-act plot structure adds to the fear and pity of dramatic tragedy.
From the outset, Ibsen faces a conflict between illustrating a “realistic” story supported by historical, internal, external, and subconscious supporting details between characters and the need to boil down to only the details necessary for the plot to convey a strong social message. Without artistic selectivity, the play would need to elaborate on every detail contributing to Nora’s subservient disposition. Nora’s...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 923 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7317 literature essays, 2077 sample college application essays, 302 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in