A Doll's House A Doll's House question

What Happened After?
Lady Jane Lady Jane Sep 25, 2012 10:59AM
I read this book in college and it never was one of my favorites. However, recently I read an amazing book, Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut and the characters raise some very important questions about Ibsen's story. Questions that I, too, entertained as I read A Doll's House years ago. Here is the passage from Bluebeard, please discuss.


"This is how the play ends. Nora isn't going to allow herself to be patronized for being as uninformed and helpless as a child anymore.

And Marilee said to me, 'That is where the play begins as far as I'm concerned. We never find out how she survived. What kind of job could a woman get back then? Nora didn't have any skills or education. She didn't even have money for food and a place to stay.'

A few days later, she told me she had solved the problem. 'That ending is a fake!' she said, delighted with herself. 'Ibsen just tacked it on so the audience could go home happy. He didn't have the nerve to tell what really happened, what the whole rest of the play says has to happen.'

'What has to happen?' I said.

'She has to commit suicide,' said Marilee. 'And I mean right away-- in front of a streetcar or something before the curtain comes down. That's the play. Nobody's ever seen it, but that's the play.'

Marilee said this about Nora in A Doll's House: "She should have stayed home and made the best of things."

Marilee has never read Hedda Gabler.

Sheila (last edited Sep 26, 2012 05:21AM ) Sep 26, 2012 05:20AM   0 votes
It's been a long time since I read this play....

Prostitution, maybe?

I mean, it's not totally out of the question, right? If Nora was willing to break with societal norms to save her husband, maybe she could find it within herself to do what she could to save her own life...

Sheila I haven't read a lot of stories about the profession of prostitution and the women involved in it, but once in a while I've encountered characters who ...more
Nov 01, 2012 05:20AM · flag

I don't know if she would leave with the express intent of killing herself immediately, but I think she knows that death is certain for her if she leaves. This makes her decision to leave, to be free, that much more powerful: she'd rather die than continue to live in her marital and societal prison.

And, shameless plug time, if anyone is in the NYC area, the opera company I cofounded, The Secret Opera, is performing an opera called "She, After" by Daniel Felsenfeld on July 26, 2014 at 8:00 in Brooklyn, NY - it is a short chamber opera following two characters - one is Alice from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," and the other is Nora from "A Doll's House" - where their traditional stories end. For Nora's part, the opera begins right as she has walked out of her house. Will Eno, the librettist, has imagined what Nora goes through after this life-changing decision, and it's quite powerful. The performance is going to be pretty incredible. Visit our website for more information: www.thesecretopera.com. We're also on Facebook and Twitter!

Sorry for the shameless plug, but I figured some of you might be interested in seeing the opera if you enjoyed the play!

I read this a few years ago so I can't remember the exact details.

The ending was a fake, I suppose.
Originally, Ibsen ended the play as Nora being bullied back into submission and stayed with Torvald out of concern for the children. I can't remember why he changed it but the ending was changed.

I don't think Nora would ever kill herself. Perhaps she would entertain the thought of suicide but I don't think she would ever do it. It doesn't feel like Nora, if you know what I mean.
Throughout the play, Nora tried to break away from the submissive housewife role. She didn't have to break away from Torvald but she obviously had a reason to.
She stood up to Torvald and left him. She knew what it would mean but she did it anyway.
After finally gaining independence, why would she kill herself? Don't misunderstand, I found her annoying as hell and I hate her as a character but I honestly can't see her going down that road.

Nora could have accepted her mistake and live happily with her family.

Maybe Nora finds a job (like Christine) or some other guy who does treat her the way she wants to be treated. She could also maybe have a relative who helps her build herself back up again.

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