Tarantella from his unnamed illness in Italy · The

Tarantella Dance

An Italian folk dance featuring quick, succinct steps, foot
tapping and movement of garments such as skirts or petticoats

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Originated in the mid-14th century in Taranto, a town in southern
Italy, with the first met ion being St. Vitus Dance in 1374, when a priest
was disturbed by 15 boys and 4 girls dancing loudly in his courtyard and prayed
to God and St.Magnus to make them dance without stopping for a year

A mimicry of the reaction of a field worker to being bitten by a

Symptoms included muscle spasms, high fever, vomiting and death

No anti-venom at time, but sweat associated with dancing, which
was a response to being bitten, thought to remove venom from bloodstream,

Musicians would look for work in fields, playing for the victims

Due to religious superstitions, dancing was condemned, and
eventually the afflicted were thought to be faking being bitten so that they
could dance (17th century)

The name ‘Tarantula’ was attributed to the species we know today,
yet at the time of origin, tarantula referred to a different species of smaller
spider, which was far more venomous

The dance is also linked to courtship, as women would use it to
attract men

It is thought to be unlucky to dance it alone

Nora dances the Tarantella with Torvald in Doll’s House, which
they both learned when Torvald was recovering from his unnamed illness in Italy

The erratic nature of the dance reflects Nora’s inner emotions,
and as the dance was thought to be a means to rectifying poisoning, it is
symbolic that Ibsen selects this dance

Torvald sees loans and forgery as ‘moral corruption’ and he
compares it to poison, much like a spider’s venom, which explains why they are
both desperately trying to dance the Tarantella and why Nora is struggling to
dance it, because she is filled with the corruption Torvald sees as poison


·       http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~insrisg/nature/nw97/tarantella.html

Dramatic Realism

Previously in Europe, romanticism was the
popular style of plays, which centered around emotions, placing them above
reality (reason, senses, social conventions), creating an effect often like
hyperbole as all emotions were expressed to resound with the audience

Towards the middle of the 19th
century (1860, France) romanticism was challenged with realism due to revolutions
and expression of social displeasure giving way to reform (unionization,
strikes, revolutions in France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Austrian Empire),
industrialization leading to a heightened focus on science and technology’s
role in human issues, and a pragmatic view of society becoming more popular

Dramatic realism refers to a play that tries to
depict human life with accuracy, and  often tries to make social commentary by
paralleling society with that of the play to both propose an issue and a
solution/ commentary

Henrik Ibsen is considered the father of realism
due to how he reflected society in his plays, causing people to relate the
situations in his plays to their own lives

Often this led to controversy, as many issues
proposed were embedded in traditional ways of life, yet many appreciated the
challenge to everyday life as a vector for change

A sub-type of realism is naturalism

Naturalism in much like realism but it approaches
human issues from a more clinical, detached, scientific perspective

Realism was conveyed through emotions of
audience as they connected themselves to situations, while naturalism presents
issues without connection being necessary

Naturalism and realism are both rooted in
Darwinism, Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species that the species best adapted
will survive to pass on their genetic information, which began being translated
into plays as a form of studying humans

with the idea that observation and ‘natural laws’ presented by August Comte,
the father of sociology, could better explain the human condition

Social Darwinism, which tried to apply evolutionary
principles within the human species, also influenced perception of humans, and
therefore realism and naturalism

Karl Marx, who challenged societal values with
Communist ideology also opened the way for broader thought on the organization
of society, encouraging a critical perspective in the perception of society