All great literary writers are very critical about their word choices. They try to select the words and the sentences to maximize the effects on developing the themes of their works. As a famous modern playwright, Henrik Ibsen also chooses his words and sentences very deliberately. In one of his best-known plays, A Dolls House, Ibsen makes many changes and additions to his earlier drafts in order to achieve the most [appropriate and sufficient] dramatic effects on the themes, and on the audience and the readers in his final version the play.

The deliberate situation, word and sentence choices are evidenced in three passages in ACT III, which is known as the discussion act and falling action of the play.

From the very end of page 57 to the middle of page 58, Torvald describes how, at parties, he pretends not to know her so that he may seduce her all over again, and he is very amorous with Nora until Dr. Rank interrupted. However, in the earlier draft, Mr. Helmer has not drunk too much champagne and is not so amorous with Nora.

Ibsen emphasized on the mental condition of Mr. Helmer and his acts as a result of his condition. As I know, peoples drunken words often reveal their real thoughts. Since Torvald is not sober, he reveals to Nora that their marriage is just a result of his seducing of her, which further demonstrates us that Torvalds affection of Nora is only for his own enjoyment.

Then, at the end of page 63, Mr. Helmer cries, I am saved, Nora, I am saved! instead of You are saved in the original draft. The deliberate word exchange from you to I is used to emphasize that Torvald is much more concerned about himselfhis own appearance other than his wifeNora.

Later, in the middle of page 70, Ibsen added two lines to his draft:

Hel.  But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.
Nora. It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.

The addition of those two lines illustrates that Torvald puts his honor above anything else, even above his wife who loves him and makes sacrifices for him. Those two lines also reveal the theme of the inequality between husband and wife in a marriage. Although all women are willing to make sacrifices for their loved ones, men are not.

The phase hundreds of thousands is a contrasts with the word no to emphasize the huge difference of the roles between a husband and a wife. The contrast also affects the mood of the audience and reader to result their sympathy towards women in that society.

Overall, Ibsen makes changes and additions of situations, words and sentences to produce completely different dramatic effects than that of the drafts. His deliberate word choices set the tone of his play and thus reveal and strengthen the themes. The passages in the final version affect the mood of the audience and readers. The changes and additions also produce the dramatic effect of symbolism. On the first level of symbolism, the three passages work together to contribute to the characterization of the antagonist Torvald, vividly reveals that he is in love with himself instead of Nora, which is also evidenced in the movie we watch when Torvald looks at himself in the mirror. On the second level of symbolism, the three passages reveal the theme of play, which is the inequality in a marriage relationship.

Dramatic Effects produced by the Addtions and Changes in the Final Version

(English presentation on A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen)

All great literary writers are very critical about their word choices. They try to select the words and the sentences to maximize the effects on developing the themes of their works. As a famous modern playwright, Henrik Ibsen also chooses his words and sentences very deliberately. In one of his best-known plays, A Dolls House, Ibsen makes many changes and additions to his earlier drafts in order to achieve the most [appropriate and sufficient] dramatic effects on the themes, and on the audience and the readers in his final version the play.

The deliberate situation, word and sentence choices are evidenced in three passages in ACT III, which is known as the discussion act and falling action of the play.

From the very end of page 57 to the middle of page 58, Torvald describes how, at parties, he pretends not to know her so that he may seduce her all over again, and he is very amorous with Nora until Dr. Rank interrupted. However, in the earlier draft, Mr. Helmer has not drunk too much champagne and is not so amorous with Nora.

Ibsen emphasized on the mental condition of Mr. Helmer and his acts as a result of his condition. As I know, peoples drunken words often reveal their real thoughts. Since Torvald is not sober, he reveals to Nora that their marriage is just a result of his seducing of her, which further demonstrates us that Torvalds affection of Nora is only for his own enjoyment.

Then, at the end of page 63, Mr. Helmer cries, I am saved, Nora, I am saved! instead of You are saved in the original draft. The deliberate word exchange from you to I is used to emphasize that Torvald is much more concerned about himselfhis own appearance other than his wifeNora.

Later, in the middle of page 70, Ibsen added two lines to his draft:

Hel.  But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.
Nora. It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.

The addition of those two lines illustrates that Torvald puts his honor above anything else, even above his wife who loves him and makes sacrifices for him. Those two lines also reveal the theme of the inequality between husband and wife in a marriage. Although all women are willing to make sacrifices for their loved ones, men are not.

The phase hundreds of thousands is a contrasts with the word no to emphasize the huge difference of the roles between a husband and a wife. The contrast also affects the mood of the audience and reader to result their sympathy towards women in that society.

Overall, Ibsen makes changes and additions of situations, words and sentences to produce completely different dramatic effects than that of the drafts. His deliberate word choices set the tone of his play and thus reveal and strengthen the themes. The passages in the final version affect the mood of the audience and readers. The changes and additions also produce the dramatic effect of symbolism. On the first level of symbolism, the three passages work together to contribute to the characterization of the antagonist Torvald, vividly reveals that he is in love with himself instead of Nora, which is also evidenced in the movie we watch when Torvald looks at himself in the mirror. On the second level of symbolism, the three passages reveal the theme of play, which is the inequality in a marriage relationship.

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