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A Doll's House

A Doll's House

by Henrik Ibsen

Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Biased for a while, but ultimately objective

In the beginning, the play seems to be biased toward Nora. We're definitely asked to sympathize with her. It's pretty hard to get on Torvald's side. From the moment he gets on her case about eating macaroons, we know that he's overbearing, even for a Victorian era male. His demeaning little pet names for Nora don't help his case.

To Ibsen's credit, however, Torvald does seem to be redeemed in the end. His last line, "The most wonderful thing of all?" indicates that he's gone through the same spiritual awakening as Nora (3.381). Overall, it seems that the play shifts in tone. We go from seeing Nora as Torvald's prisoner to seeing that all the characters, Torvald included, have been prisoners in some way. In the end, the tone of the play becomes more objective. Sympathy can be found for all its characters.

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