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Although Henrik Ibsen was already a respected playwright in Scandinavia before the premiere of A Dolls House it was that work that catapulted him to international fame The earliest of Ibsens social-problem plays this drama must be read in its historical context to understand its impact not only on twentieth century dramaturgy but also on society at large Most contemporary theater up to the time including Ibsens earlier work fell into two general categories one the historical romance the other the so-called well-made or thesis play The well-made play was a contrived comedy of manners revolving around an intricate plot and subplots but ultimately suffocated by the trivia of its theme and dialogue as well as by its shallow characterization Downs 1969 There was also the occasional poetic drama--such as Ibsens Brand 1866 and Peer Gynt 1867--but poetic form was often the only distinction between these plays and historical romances as the content tended to be similar Into this dramaturgical milieu A Dolls House injected natural dialogue and situations abstained from such artificial conventions as the soliloquy or aside and observance of the unities of time and place and insisted on the strict logical necessity of the outcome without attempting to wrench events into a happy ending These theatrical innovations constitute Ibsens fundamental contribution to the form of realistic drama This kind of drama emphasizes believability yet there is no attempt to achieve the comprehensiveness of photographic reality rather realism is selective and strives for representative examples in recognizable human experience Through selectivity realism implicitly assumes a critical stance Downs 1969 Drama changed radically after A Dolls House for which reason Ibsen is called the father of modern drama Ibsens influence on twentieth century drama was twofold for he combined both technique and content in the realism of A Dolls House Specifically Ibsen elevated playmaking to a level above mere entertainment by validating the respectability of plays about serious social issues Women were
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