In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

A common objection against Ibsen's realism is that when watching an Ibsen play we cannot forget we are in the theater. In a play like A Doll House (Et dukkehjem), with its plot of the sympathetic heroine Nora menaced by the unscrupulous villain Krogstad, we have stock elements of conventional melodrama. Even if we concede that Krogstad is not as villainous as this suggests (nor Nora as sympathetic) and that the melodrama modulates to something more adequate, Krogstad's presence seems to belong more to theater convention than to actual life. Indeed, much of A Doll House, when compared to a later play such as Rosmersholm, resembles an older idea of theater-a theater of somewhat violent and exaggerated stage postures and gestures.