Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2008


College of Arts and Sciences


Theatre: Acting; Theatre Arts--Teacher Certification

Primary Subject Area



Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, The Wild Duck, The Lady From the Sea, Hedda Gabler, Female captivity, Female protagonist, Realism, Nora Helmer, Hedvig, Ellida Wangel, Hedda, Theatre performance


Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Performance Studies | Scandinavian Studies | Women's Studies


In Henrik Ibsen’s plays, A Doll’s House, The Wild Duck, The Lady from the Sea, and Hedda Gabler, the theme of captivity is demonstrated in the female protagonists Nora, Hedvig, Ellida, and Hedda. The theme of captivity also serves as a performance guide for the portrayal of these characters. Ibsen’s female protagonists are in bondage to an object or person that manipulates the character’s mental and emotional senses. The character’s inner captivity reaches a climax where a decision must be made to abolish the chains of captivity or forever remain enslaved. Since the nineteenth century, the actor has greatly benefitted from Ibsen’s electrifying work that established the new acting style of Realism. The contemporary actor can apply the theme of captivity to performance by thoroughly reading the text, understanding Realism, creating a character separate from self, and training the voice and body.