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Ibsen's A Doll's House being Dated Essay

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Ibsen's A Doll's House being Dated


To answer the above, one needs to be aware of when the drama was first
written (1879) and how audiences were shocked at Ibsen's radical
perception of the social roles of husband and wife in middle class
society at that time.

The role of middle class women at that time was simple, they bore
children and kept house in a very clear manner, albeit with the aid of
a housekeeper or maid. They were subservient to men and were
considered accoutrements and playthings. This comes across very
strongly in the manner that Torvald Helmer addresses Nora.

The main thrust of the play has a lot to do with gender relations in
modern society. It offers us, in the actions of Nora, a strengthening
of the view of women struggling to overcome a society governed wholly
by men resistant to change. Although this has changed dramatically
since, there are still many corners of society nowadays that still
cling to this belief and ethic. What was radical the case of this play
was that Ibsen chose to bring this into the open.

My first impression of Nora was that she was a shallow figure, that
she was a selfish, self indulgent manipulative person with not a care
in the world. We see as the play progresses that this is not the case
and her personality changes to reveal someone very different. The will
to 'do right' by her husband becomes evident as the play unfolds.

We learn that life then was very much the same as today, in that
middle class life was, in the main, affluent and agreeable, but only
for those that could operate within it successfully. For those who
couldn't life was brutal and unforgiving. We see that the Helmers are
looking forward to life being even more comfortable once Torv...


... middle of paper ...


...n truly happy, she had only
experienced fun. That she had finally lost her love for him because of
his reaction to Krogstadt's letter outlining the dishonesty in
obtaining the loan. 'No man can be expected to sacrifice his honour,
even for the person he loves' he exclaims. 'Millions of women have'
she retorts. She leaves, the play closes.

What I gather from the play, the only clue to the age is that of some
of the dialogue. I don't think the theme is dated at all. Consider,
the need for social standing, still as potent today as then. Consider
the political manoeuvrings, surrounding position in the workplace,
very much still in place today. Consider the power of seduction and
finally, the strength of character a woman needs to stand up for what
she feels is right even to her own detriment. Very powerful, very
thought provoking and very, very enjoyable.


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