Trapped in A Doll’s House: Discovering the Freedom of Independence
During the nineteenth century, women were suppressed by many expectations set by society. They were expected to take care of domestic work such as cooking, cleaning, raising children, and above all, pleasing their husbands. In her household, Nora, the main character in Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, adheres to these expectations. She takes care of her children and dances the tarantella for her husband. She believes that she is happy and that her marriage is successful and fair; however this is not true. There are many characters who would like for her to remain in this oppressive role, including Mr. Krogstad, Mrs. Lindie, and even her own husband, Torvald. These characters care…show more content… Ultimately, she decides to break away from her husband and children to leave behind the society that has oppressed her. She feels compelled to learn more about herself and what she wants in life. In the play, A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen highlights the negative treatment that women received during the late 1800s and uses Nora to rebel against society’s expectations for the role of women.
In the Helmer household, Torvald as the male, is superior, and is in charge of making money and running the household. While his role is considered “important” to the family, Torvald expects Norato take the submissive role and raise their three children, dance the tarantella, and do as he asks. Torvald says, “Before all else you are a wife and mother” (Ibsen 68). Torvald says that Nora is to do what is asked of her and to take care of others’ needs before worrying about her own. Women were seen as “dolls”, objectified by their male counterparts. As a female in society, she is treated as an object by her husband;…show more content… Through characters such as Nils Krogstad and Torvald Helmer, one sees how those living in this society worried primarily over their social standing and reputation, while through the character of Mrs. Lindie the reader sees how even women fell into the trap of behaving as “dolls”: doing everything that is expected of them while remaining obedient. Though some of these characters may seem cruel, they have a huge impact on Nora’s character and help push her towards the realization that she is not living as she wants to live. Brunnemer says, “There is an evolutionary process whereby the mini-Nora of the opening scenes becomes the super-Nora of the close” (1). In the beginning of the play, Nora is portrayed as an obedient wife who would never stray from her husband’s wishes, and subsequently society’s expectations. By the end of the play, we see her blossom into an individual who wishes to make her own decisions and follow her own path. Brunnemer also says that, “Nora in having her worst fears materialize, is freed from them” (1). This statement summarizes the ultimate push for Nora’s transformation, by mentioning that she does not fully realize her lack of freedom until her husband discovers the forgery. After the situation passes, and her worst fears are brought to light, she realizes that she does not enjoy the life that she