Hi, need to submit a 750 words essay on the topic A Dolls House as a Comedy, Tragedy, Tragicomedy.
Tragicomedy is a genre where both the elements of a tragedy and a comedy are present. The importance of this lies in the fact that tragedy as a genre has been considered to be unfit to represent modern reality in most parts. There is, as in tragedy, a movement from a certain world order to another. At the same time, there is also an attempt at a resolution of the kind that occurs in plays of the comic variety. This kind of a neat resolution is not reached at. At the same time, there is also no death that becomes a ritual sacrifice for an old order. A Doll’s House talks of the co-existence of two or more world orders within the same society and this can be seen in the divergent views that Nora and Torvald present at different points in the play. Nora herself presents different worldviews at different points. For instance, there are occasions on which she advocates a life for women which is patriarchal. This is evident from these lines,
Yes—someday, perhaps, after many years, when I am no longer as nice-looking as I am now. Don’t laugh at me! I mean, of course, when Torvald is no longer as devoted to me as he is now. when my dancing and dressing-up and reciting have palled on him. then it may be a good thing to have something in reserve (Ibsen 16).
At the same time, the ending also makes clear the fact that there is a side to the character of Nora that is feminist. This can be seen in the way in which she leaves the house and her husband. There is however, no closure to the play and there is no final conclusion that is reached in terms of the narrative. This is a characteristic of a tragicomic play.
There is no resolution, either of the tragic or comic variety. At the same time, there is an attempt at both. At the point of time that Torvald initiates reconciliation, one that would lead to a conventionally comic (tragic from a feminist perspective) ending, Nora leaves the house. Whether the marriage has broken apart is left for the audience to imagine. The ending of the play is something that has been commented upon by many critics. People have lauded the action that Nora takes- that of leaving her husband. Such a reading however, fails to admit possibilities that are less radical. There is no indication that Nora leaves her husband for good. Nora’s different takes on the relationship and her changing outlook towards her marriage does not result in a radical rejection of marriage. It does however, lead to a change in the power dynamics of the relationship between man and woman as far as the two characters- Nora and Torvald- are concerned. This leads to an important ambivalence as far as the intention of the play and the playwright are concerned. This ambivalence keeps alive the possibility of a debate. This is something that both the feminist scholarship of the play and its tragicomic leaning needs to keep in mind. At the end of the play, Nora questions the very basis of marriage and the roles of gender that are prescribed for women in the world.