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Heroics of Women in Ibsens A Dolls House

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Heroics of Women in Ibsens A Dolls House

The Heroics of Women

Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” is a play about a young wife and her husband. Nora and Helmer seem to be madly in love with one another and very happy with their lives together. Yet the conflict comes into this show when Nora brags to her friend Ms. Linde about how she had forged her father’s name to borrow money to save her husband’s life and how she had been secretly paying off this debt. Helmer finds out about this crime and is furious, until he finds that no one will ever know about it. This entire conflict is written to bring to light the ridiculous social expectations demanded of both women and men. Ibsen expertly leads the audience into accepting that these social expectations are foolish and wrong. The audience buys into this so much that in the end when Nora stands firm and refuses to bow down to what society demands of her, we see her as the hero.

The social expectations of men in the late nineteenth century was of a more patriarchal thought-line then it is today. The man of the house was expected to be the sole provider. This works best for the families of that time, because they believed that by natural design men alone were capable of managing money wisely and carefully. The first scene of the show we see Helmer and Nora acting out this belief. Helmer comes in and he and Nora argue over how much can be spent for Christmas. “Has the little spendthrift been out throwing money around again? (Ibsen 1569)” He naturally assumes that Nora, being a woman, is out frivolously wasting money. This belief comes very naturally to Helmer. He is the model man of his time, as well as this one. He has a bright future ahead, cares for his family, is kind to his w...

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...e door of the apartment she begins her journey to find the truth and to leave the lies and illusions behind (Hemmer 82). She sets out to cure her childishness by going out to learn of life without someone coloring it to their pleasing for her. Nora’s faults that are present throughout the play are evidence of her childlike nature. Nora constantly is munching on and subsequently hiding candy, she off-handedly lies, and also can’t resist bragging to Ms. Linde about what she has done (Boyesen 214). Nora walks out the door to find herself and to learn of life. She leaves the audience much as Ms. Linde met them. She has no hope or future and is alone. She is paralleled to Rank by his exiting his life into the unknown of death completely alone, and she exits her life to enter the unknown of the real world, the world that had been hidden and kept from her (Northam 108)
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