Feminism In A Doll's House

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Ibsen's A Doll's House
In A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen criticizes the patriarchal society he lives in by using a fictional woman, Nora, to show women oppression. She begins to feel constrained by her husband, so much so that she feels the need to mask her true identity and deceive him. She feels that deceit is her only way out from the social constraints.
Ibsen moved around a lot in his life and observed many societies. Much of his writing satirizes the shortcomings of society and the people within it. Ibsen went through many trials and tribulations in his life. He was not supported in his studying of the arts resulting in him leaving home at the age of sixteen to make his own way. He moved from country to country, writing plays with minimal success. He experienced many instances of being poor and was even bankrupt at one point. However, after writing "Peer Gynt" Ibsen began gaining public attention even though it was criticized by his friend, who had advice that would influence Ibsen greatly: "His friend Bjornson had criticized Peer Gynt and urged Ibsen to try 'photography by comedy.' This apparently was the answer" ("Ibsen, Henrik Johan"). This bit of insight from Bjornson helped Ibsen shape the style of his popular works, such as, when he went to Rome and wrote A Doll's House. The play A Doll's House was inspired when Ibsen heard the story of a Woman about which he had heard: "A report he had heard out a courageous young married woman in a small town in Zealand had seized hold of him" ("Ibsen, Henrik Johan"). Many times Ibsen wrote about issues going on in society. In particular, this play was a "family drama, dealing with modern conditions and in particular with the problems which complicate marriage" ("Ibsen, Henrik Johan...

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...tion, but never women. She wants things to change and for it to happen she must go out on her own.
Ibsen points out flaws within society by writing this satirical and feminist play. A Doll House is largely about gender inequality, and written in order to open the eyes of the public to stop the imbalance in society. He uses Torvald, and, at one instance, Nora's father to represent the constraints, stresses, and belittlement men put on women. He parallels the trapped feeling most women had in society to Nora, who felt like a cornered dog and felt deceit was her only way out. Women should not have to "wear a mask," they should be free to express their true feelings and hopes without a man's undervaluing opinion. Ibsen felt this needed to be fixed in society; he felt there was no room for lies or deceit but rather that man and woman should live harmoniously together.

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