A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

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“Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” (TED) This is the definition that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an African author and feminist, discovered when she looked up the term “feminist” in the dictionary at age fourteen. This is also the definition that she based her speech, “We Should All Be Feminists”, off of. Nora Helmer, the creation of Henrik Ibsen for his play A Doll’s House, is a feminist by this definition. One can be a feminist without knowing it, such as Adichie was at a young age. Nora is one of these people. Nora transitioned from being an obedient, subordinate housewife to a role model for women everywhere. Despite rapid criticisms and controversy about her behavior as a woman of the 1860’s, the character of Nora Helmer grows to be a powerful, independent, clear-headed woman who serves as a feminine archetype for future generations to follow.
While Nora can be received well in modern times, in the 1860’s Nora was highly criticized. “In fact, Nora’s declaration of independence in the play prompted such heated discussions among the public that the topic had to be declared off-limits at social gatherings.” (Moss, 116) Nora’s actions were so controversial that it prompted people to talk about her as if she were a real person, rather than a character in a play. Others criticized Nora for her naiveté. “Nora has always been a child; her father, a man devoted of easy conscience, has brought her up entirely unsophisticated. She knows nothing of the serious side of life—of its privileges, its real opportunities—nothing of the duties of the individual in a world of action.” (W.E. Simmons 119) This was a common criticism of Nora, that she had no right to leave her husband and c...

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...a is a winner of this race. She proves not only to be the epitome of a powerful, independent, clear-headed woman, but also that society’s mores need not dictate the way a girl live. Nora grows to be the true archetype of feminism. “Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” (TED)

Works Cited

Galens, David, and Lynn Spampinato. “A Doll’s House.” Drama for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Dramas. Vol. 1. Detroid: Gale Research, 1998. 106-122. Print.
Ibsen, Henrik. "A Doll House." Four Major Plays: Volume 1. New York: New American Library, 1992. N. pag. Print.
Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson. Literature and Its Times. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Print.
"TED | We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston (transcript)." Vialogue. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.
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