A Doll’s House, a play by Henrik Ibsen, tells the story of Nora, the wife of Torvald Helmer, who is an adult living as a child, kept as a doll by her husband. She is expected to be content and happy living in the world Torvald has created for her. By studying the play and comparing and contrasting the versions presented in the video and the live performance, one can analyze the different aspects of it.
Most of us live a life where we do what we want and when we want without anyone telling us how to live our lives. This wasn’t the case in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, where he illustrates to us how one woman lives a life through her father and husband. Throughout the play we see how a once childish like woman gains her independence and a life of her own. Ibsen shows us a very realistic play that demonstrates how on the outside Nora and Torvald seem to have it all. While in reality their life together is simply empty until Nora stands up for herself and starts to build her own life.
In A Doll’s House, Ibsen portrays his lead character, Nora, who is a housewife in the Helmer’s family. She has undergone a transformation throughout the play that she reacts differently to her husband. Her husband, Torvald, is an example of men who are only interested in their appearance and the amount of control they have over a person. In particular, he has a very clear and narrow definition of a woman's role. At the beginning of the story, as from the title of the play, Nora symbolizes the “doll” in the house, which means that she has been treated as treats Nora like a child or doll. For example, husband called Nora ‘bird’ and it implies that husband treats her like his pet and she is his doll as the title is a doll house. In other words, her husband wanted her to be a ‘lark' or ‘songbird' so he can enjoy h...
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is a realistic drama that explores how the imbalanced treatment of women can dictate who they become. Nora Helmer embodies the need for evolution in regards to women and their roles within the family. The importance of this play, which was written in 1879, is still relevant in the modern world. This play helps to bring attention to the characters people play as a result of their circumstances.
Society’s expectation of how a person should act, specifically, is commonly present in A Doll’s House. Unbalanced relationships in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House are shown through the symbolism of a doll. A doll is a representation of an ideal human being, often used as a toy for children. A doll represents what a human being should want to be and what little girls should grow up to be, this human is considered as the “ideal person.” For example the saying “I got all dolled up for a party,” it is an informal interpretation of one dressing smartly or attractively. Characters in A Doll’s House live according to the assurance and pressure of society in the Victorian era. These characters are all very different and divided as a result of their background, beliefs, and intelligence. These unbalanced relationships shown through the symbolism of a doll are commonly displayed among the main characters, and minor characters, and can also be shown through social class. When first opening this play we meet the main characters, Nora Helmer and Torvald Helmer, these two are husband and wife and are very important in developing theme and character development.
Societal expectations during this time period generally restricted women from the liberties in which their male counterparts partook in. The ideal woman was one who was good natured, cultured, practiced philanthropy, a loving wife, and a devout mother. She managed her household while maintaining her poise and retaining her femininity as a woman. Ibsen creates his main character, for which his play “A Doll’s house” is named, to be the antithesis of the ideal woman. Nora herself may seem like the ideal woman from her facade. She is beautiful, and poses as a distinguished and childish woman. Only after reading the play for one’s self may the reader discover Ibsen’s criticism that he has so cleverly intertwined within his work. By creating his female lead to be a complete contradiction of the feminine ideal, we can see Ibsen’s feminist criticism of gender expectations. Nora is controlled by her husband Helmer on each and every aspect of her life. The men in that century were regarded as they control the women’s life. While on the other hand Glaspell in her play showed how all the women stood together and supported a murderer just so she could be free from prison showing us the feministic view of the society in those days. These two plays are an ideal pair as they show the power of women to construct an identity in the society, women’s interdependence on each other as well as a feministic approach to the society.
The nineteenth century was truly a different time for women and what their assumed roles in life would be. Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House” is an examination into those assumed roles and a challenge to them. It was a time of obedience and inequality and in the first act each character is shown to portray these qualities. However, the characters in this play have multiple layers that get peeled back as the story progresses. As each new layer is revealed the audience is shown that even with the nineteenth century ideals, the true nature of each character is not quite what they appeared to be initially.
Ibsen, Henrik. "A Doll's House." Four Great Plays. Trans. R. Farquharson Sharp. New York: Bantam, 1959. 3-68. Print.
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, written in 1879, makes many bold statements about nineteenth century society. Ibsen uses his play to write about traditional marital roles, women’s independence, and crime. Each individual characters started out as one person and evolved into someone different by the end of the play, be it either good or bad.
The theme throughout the play highlight’s the idea of Nora being the doll toy owned by Torvald. This theme is repeated in words and actions that boldly is manipulation and domination as opposed to obedience, adjustment, and respect. Nora believes in self-fulfillment, and always desires what is there to be taken, but never has the interest to give anything unless it happens to be mandatory. Nora is the lady that sits and waits to be spoon fed by another. No matter what the circumstances are she inevitably digests all the poison and bitterness Torvald and the other characters push down her throat. Her love for money is far from normal; she demands as much money as Torvald earns. He always gives her everything she desires which explains why she never feels the need to change. All that Nora is, is not for her to be blamed, but for Torvald to be blamed. He made her who she is, being supportive and in agreement with her self-status. In contrast to further on in the play, Nora t...
A Doll’s House, a screenplay written by Henrik Ibsen during the 19th century showcases Nora a wife who is living, as any other woman, in an oppressed era for woman. A time when men ruled and women were docile obeying their husbands and fathers implicitly. Nora’s life is staged into itself. According to Ibsen’s play, there are little secrets that are told not only to ourselves but to those around us. Therefore, the ability to understand the changes as secrets unfold and the manipulation of lies told, take on new meaning.
In the late eighteen hundreds the roles of genders were specific. Men were to work and provide for his family. While woman were to stay home and care for their household, children, and ultimately to satisfy their husbands desires. In the play A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen we see the character of Nora Helmer escape from this age’s common gender role by leaving her husband and children behind in search for her own happiness. While many could criticize Nora’s abandonment of her children and husband a cowardly and wrong thing to do. Nora could also be seen as heroic for challenging the power of a man during this time and escaping her unhappy life. We see Nora transform from her husband Torvald’s puppet to what seems like a happy, strong, and independent woman by the end of the play. Ultimately becoming a hero for woman at the time of this play, and to woman who feel trapped by men still in the present day. Joan Templeton, author of the book Ibsen’s Women, states “Nora’s doll house and exit from it have long been principal international symbols for women’s issues” (p111). This further shows the positive impact that Nora Helmer’s character has had on readers throughout history. It also shows the significance of the title A Doll House and how the title helps to glorify Nora’s heroic traits.
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, which was written during the Victorian era, introduced a woman as having her own purposes and goals, making the play unique and contemporary. Nora, the main character, is first depicted as a doll or a puppet because she relies on her husband, Torvald Helmer, for everything, from movements to thoughts, much like a puppet who is dependent on its puppet master for all of its actions. Nora’s duties, in general, are restricted to playing with the children, doing housework, and working on her needlepoint. A problem with her responsibilities is that her most important obligation is to please Helmer. Helmer thinks of Nora as being as small, fragile, helpless animal and as childlike, unable to make rational decisions by herself. This is a problem because she has to hide the fact that she has made a decision by herself, and it was an illegal one.
Throughout A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen illustrates through an intriguing story how a once infantile-like woman gains independence and a life of her own. Ibsen creates a naturalistic drama that demonstrates how on the outside Nora and Torvald seam to have it all, but in reality their life together is empty. Instead of meaningful discussions, Torvald uses degrading pet names and meaningless talk to relate to Nora. Continuing to treat Nora like a pampered yet unimportant pet, Torvald thoroughly demonstrates how men of his era treat women as insignificant items to be possessed and shown off. While the Helmer household may have the appearance of being sociably acceptable, the marriage of Torvald and Nora was falling apart because of the lack of identity, love, and communication.