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CAPRI

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An island located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in the Campania region of Italy. This is where Nora learned how to dance the Tarantella when she and Torvald went to Italy for his illness.

Usually pronounced /kəˈpriː/ by English speakers; Italian: [ˈkaːpri], Neapolitan: [ˈkɑːpri]

CAPRICIOUS

Given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior. Torvald calls Nora this when she wishes to stay at the party.

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[kəˈpriSHəs]

CHRISTMAS

Various

In Scandinavian countries, Jul (also called Jol or Yule), referred to what eventually became the Christmas season. It originated as a drinking holiday for vikings to celebrate the Norse God Jòlnir (or Odin). For a period of time, there were even requirements on how much beer should be brewed and drank by the farmers of the land. Even as Christianization and conversions became enforced throughout the region, many of the drinking traditions remained-- but they now claimed to be in honor of Christ. Gift-giving is also part of the Nordic tradition in the form of the ancestral spirit Julenissen (or nisse) combined with the historic Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) to eventually become the Nordic version of Santa Claus. In exchange for the mischievous spirit’s gifts, people were expected to leave porridge of butter for him. This tradition of giving food replaced the sacrifice of animals that the vikings used to practice on this day. There were once many rules surrounding Christmas trees in Norway. The trees had to be green and young. They weren’t to be decorated until 2 days before Christmas, a day known as Little Christmas Eve. The trees were supposed to be decorated with candles. Caroling is also a very popular Christmas tradition in Norway. Children look forward to caroling for treats in their neighborhoods every year, and sometimes they dress up as biblical characters.

A building, room, office or suite in which a business firm carries on operations, particularly accounting. Kristine claims to be good at Counting-House work, so she asks Torvald about a job.

COUNTING HOUSE

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DALLIANCE

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[ˈdalēəns]

A brief or casual involvement with something/someone. Rank jokes that he's being punished for his father's "dalliances" or brief affairs with temptation.

DOMINO

DOMINO

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Page 82

A robe-like costume worn at masquerade balls and sometimes as a fancy dress. They are made in satin, silk, and brocade, or of plain cotton in the Princess shape, having often a Watteau plait with capes and large hoods and wide sleeves. They should be large and long enough to slip over the dress easily, and hide it completely.  The black are usually trimmed with a colour, such as a thick ruching down the front and round the tunic-shaped sleeves, and are often piped with a colour and lined with the same.

FANCYWORK

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Decorative needlework, such as embroidery. This is the kind of work Nora said she did before she married Torvald.

GILT PAPER

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(ɡɪlt)

Gold, leaf-like paper. Torvald is wrapping a small treat in this for the Christmas tree. He brings up the small, frivolous gift to apparently distract Nora from her worries.

GOVERNMENT

LAW

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Any lawyer who is employed by a government entity. This is the job Krogstad once had in Kristine's town.

JOINT-STOCK BANK

A bank that issues stock and requires shareholders to be held liable for the company's debt (not owned by gov.). Torvald is the bank's manager and Krogstad desires his position there.

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LARK

Page 2

Old World ground-dwelling brown songbirds. Torvald uses this and "squirrel" as terms of endearment for Nora. These creatures carry with them a connotation of innocence and condescension.

MACARONS

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A macaron is a small biscuit/cookie, typically made from ground almonds, coconut, and/or other nuts or even potato, with sugar and sometimes flavorings, food coloring, glace cherries, jam, and/or a chocolate coating. The macarons reveal that Nora has the capacity to be disobedient and independent. When she goes against her husband’s wishes, she is also acting not as a wife or mother, but as a person with self-interest. Only she benefits from eating the macarons, just as only she will benefit from her departure.

NEAPOLITAN

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[ˌnēəˈpälətn]

 

of Naples. Nora wishes to dress like a Neapolitan fisher-girl to perform her Tarantella.

PATE DE

FOIT GRAS

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[ˌpätā də ˌfwä ˈɡrä]

A pâté of fat goose liver and usually truffles sometimes with added fat pork. Rank remembers that his father loved this dish.

SCURRILOUS

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[ˈskərələs]

Making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation. Nora claims Krogstad's newspapers will make these insulting claims, and she worries about what they will say if she does not pay her debt in time.
 

SPENDTHRIFT

A person who spends money in an extravagant, irresponsible way. Torvald calls Nora his "spendthrift bird" when he hears she's been buying more with his money.

Page 4

TARANTELLA

Various

[ˌterənˈtelə]

The Neapolitan Tarantella is courtship dance with fast/cheerful music that seems to mimic some sort of sword fight between the couple. The Tarantella also has a history of being performed in the summertime to cure delirium and contortions from spider bites through perspiration. The dance evolved from this to become a supposed cure for the behavior of neurotic (mentally ill) women. However, The Tarantella was not a Norwegian dance. Ibsen, and the Helmer’s as well, would have likely learned about it during their time in Italy.

SYPHILIS

It seems likely that the type of syphilis Dr. Rank has is Neurosyphilis. Neurosyphilis is a bacterial infection of the brain or spinal cord. It usually occurs in people who have had untreated syphilis for many years. Neurosyphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum. This is the bacteria that causes syphilis. Neurosyphilis usually occurs about 10 to 20 years after a person is first infected with syphilis. Not everyone who has syphilis develops this complication. There are four stages of syphilis: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. In the play, Dr Rank is in the tertiary stage. In this late stage of the disease, he likely would have experienced problems controlling muscle movements, numbness, vision problems and dementia. Another symptom is lots of pussy sores. The worst lesions appear during the final tertiary stage of syphilis and they can pop up anywhere and often cover the body.

 

The largest outbreak of syphilitic paralysis occurred in the Victorian era when hundreds of people (mostly men in their 30s and 40s) received the diagnosis of general paralysis of the insane. In the 19th century, no one wanted to admit that syphilis was the cause of the paralysis, but in 1905 doctors finally came to the conclusion that what they were seeing was untreated syphilis that had attacked the brain and rendered its victims utterly helpless.

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