In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Nora Helmer is a traditional “angel in the house” she is a human being, but first and foremost a wife and a mother who is devoted to the care of her children, and the happiness of her husband. The play is influenced by the Victorian time period when the division of men and women was evident, and each gender had their own role to conform to. Ibsen’s views on these entrenched values is what lead to the A Doll’s House becoming so controversial as the main overarching theme of A Doll’s House is the fight for independence in an otherwise patriarchal society. This theme draws attention to how women are capable in their own rights, yet do not govern their own lives due to the lack of legal entitlement and independence. Although Ibsen’s play can be thought to focus on the theme of materialism vs. people, many critics argue that Ibsen challenges the traditional gender roles through his portrayal of Nora and Torvald. Throughout the play Nora faces an internal struggle for self-discovery, which Ibsen creates to show that women are not merely objects, but intelligent beings who form independent thoughts.
The theme in the play is widely centered on independence, as Nora shares her experiences with it during the beginning of the play. In Act I, it is Christmas Eve and Nora is decorating the house while Dr.Rank and Mrs. Linde visit the household. Nora and Mrs. Linde began talking, and Nora starts to reminisce about the time when she and Torvald had first gotten married and she was required to work to earn extra money because they were having financial difficulties. Nora looks back on that moment and has fond memories although the working world is seen as a “man’s” world; she reveled in the independence to make...
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...at the time would have been unheard of.
A Doll’s House by Ibsen is one of the most influential plays of our time. It shows how society was constructed for women in the 19th century, and continues to educate people about women’s rights. Independent thought, decisions and actions are all a part of being human, and Nora determined this through her journey to discover herself. It was not a mistake that Torvald read the letter, it was rather a blessing in disguise for Nora. This play can be interpreted in different ways and in various perspectives, but ultimately Ibsen created this play to attempt to show the inequality within the society he lived in at the time, which he shows by his representation of Nora Helmer; the angel that broke away from the house.
Ibsen, H. (1992). A doll's house. (Dover thrift ed., pp. 1-80). New York: Dover Publications Inc.
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