A Doll's House Marriage Analysis

1041 Words5 Pages
Ibsen and the Institution of Marriage Henrik Ibsen once said, “Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.” In his play A Doll’s House, Nora is seen by surrounding friends and family as a housewife and idea mother, but she is fighting for independence and recognition. Ibsen’s A Doll’s House presents an image of an ideal marriage to demonstrate that the 19th century social expectations on husband and wife were unrealistic. Ibsen’s play is set up in the first act to present to the readers a happy marriage. The house is well furnished with a piano, Christmas is around the corner, and Nora has just arrived home after an afternoon of shopping. Nora and her husband exchange flirty and friendly introductions,…show more content…
Torvald expects Nora to agree with what he says and thinks, and commit her life to keeping the family happy by being a housewife. But Nora defies the roles that she is expected to have as being a wife, a woman, and a friend. As a wife, Nora spends Torvald’s money on macarons which are forbidden and attempts to earn her own money while going against what her husband tells her, because she wants to be an independent person with her own opinions. The trip to the south and borrowing money was all done by her, and in the end of the play Nora ultimately goes against the expectations set upon her by leaving the house to live on her own to gain knowledge and experience, but leaves behind her husband and children who she is responsible for taking care of. As a woman, she does not have the authority to disagree with her husband or try to influence his actions. Torvald says, “If it ever got around that the new manager had been talked over by his wife…” (Ibsen 42) showing that it would be a laughing matter if a woman had an idea, but Nora still makes many attempts to persuade her husband. As a friend, Nora is expected to know her role which is a listener and supporter for Mrs. Linde and just an acquaintance to Dr. Rank, but the relationship with Dr. Rank goes beyond what is acceptable. When Dr. Rank confesses his feelings for Nora she is very upset because they can no longer flirt with each other now that the feelings are real. Her role is to be a loyal wife to her husband, which she is, but Ibsen uses the flirtatious dialect between the two to show that there are mutual feelings and that confessing them brings the relationship beyond what is allowed. As Nora challenges all of these roles, she is gradually becoming more stressed and eventually breaks down and leaves her husband, which demonstrates the effect of the unrealistic expectations to uphold the roles of
Get Access