A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

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In Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, pointedly captures the reality of the Victorian Era within the play. Nora Helmer, the protagonist of the story, represents the typical women in society during that era. The audience’s first impression of Nora is a money obsessed, childish, obedient house wife to her husband, Torvald Helmer. However, as the play progresses one can see that Nora is far from being that typical ideal trophy wife, she is an impulsive liar who goes against society’s norm to be whom and what she wants. Her husband is illustrated as the stereotypical man during the 19th century, as he is the dominate breadwinner of the family, who too deserts his position as the play reaches its end. A key theme that is brought to light in A Doll’s House is gender roles, which teaches us that there is a noticeable difference in the roles that both the men and women were expected to play in the everyday societal developments in Norway during the Victorian Era. It portrays the issues that women faced during the 19th century with gender roles, and how their roles affected their relationships with men as well as society. The play paints the characters and situations as they were to be in reality. The play demonstrates, through many of its characters, that there is a hidden side to everyone’s personality, which is often shown when two characters, that are close, interact. In addition, the play acts as a warning to restrain from dishonesty, so that we may not ruin the relationships that are in our lives, which is shown by Nora. The issue of gender inequality in the society and marriage during the 19th century is brought to issue in the play. It is shown that Nora and Torvald’s marriage is a façade and that they both are doll’s, created to... ... middle of paper ... ...have the power to do so. Henrik Ibsen effectively uses Nora and Torvald's characters to mock all the silly rules, expectations and boundaries society put on gender roles. Victorian society is portrayed as a cruel influence on the role of an individual that created a sequence of conventions and codes. The masculinity that Torvald shows in A Doll’s House is typical for men of the 19th century; it is necessary for men to be emphatic and firm when it comes to setting rules for the household. However near the end of the play Torvald’s masculinity becomes his weakness. Nora uses his masculinity against him, and breaks up the gender roles that society set down. A Doll’s House is viewed as a feminist play due to Nora’s rebellion and how she steps over the limits of the female gender role. Though A Doll’s House is viewed as feminist, masculinity is deep-rooted in the text.

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