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A Doll's House: Tragedy Or Comedy? Essay


In Ibsens A Dolls House there are elements of both a tragedy and a comedy, however it is not completely a comedy nor is it fully a tragedy. In my opinion, A Dolls House follows the structure of a tragedy in the beginning of the play and then follows the structure of a comedy in the ending.

One of the major reasons why it is not entirely a comedy is that Nora is not a static character. Though she is a stereotypical silly young girl, Nora comes to a realization at the end of the novel, which is not one of the elements typical of a comedy. We can see that Nora will be embarking on a journey to find herself when she says, If Im ever to reach any understanding of myself and the things around me, I must learn to stand alone. Thats why I cant stay here with you any longer (Ibsen 81).

Nora does have a tragic flaw in the beginning of the play: her love of her husband and her immaturity. This love leads her to do something rash, which she did not think through because she is too childlike. We think that Nora will fall in the end of the play when Helmer finds out what she has done, and she certainly would be the cause of her own downfall. However, here is when the twist comes; Nora does not fall. She changes and is no longer childlike nor in love with her husband, both of which were causing her to make bad choices. This element does not fit in with either a tragedy or a comedy.

We never see how Nora ends up so we do not know in the end if she has caused her downfall or if she has restored order to her own personal life and her conflicting feelings inside. Nora has not figured it all out yet, but she knows what she needs to do. I must try to discover who is right, society or me (Ibsen 83). Nora sets herself up to fall, but then she saves herself from her mess of a life.

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