Who is to blame for an unhappy marriage? Some might blame one or the other of the married people. Perhaps both. Others could blame the law that bound them together. Or outdated marital traditions. Or gender inequality. All of these answers have been given in reference to the marriage in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Every interpretation is shaped by who is looking at the marriage and what preconceptions they bring to the table.
A Doll’s House is one of the most important plays in all of modern theatre. It arguably represents the beginning of modern theatre itself. First performed in 1879, it was a watershed moment in naturalist drama, especially thanks to its dramatic final scene. In what has become probably the most famous statement made about the play, James Huneker observed: ‘That slammed door reverberated across the roof of the world.’