A Doll House, a play written by Henrik Ibsen, published in the year 1879, stirred up much controversy within its time period because it questioned the views of society's social rules and norms. "Throughout most of history... Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as women's most significant professions... The resulting stereotype that 'a woman's place is in the home' has largely determined the ways in which women have expressed themselves" ("Women's History in America"). Ibsen places many hints throughout his play about the roles of women and how they were treated in his time. Nora is perceived as a typical housewife; maintaining the house and raising her children. However, Nora had actually hired a maid to do all of those typical housewife duties for her. Nora was naive, and ambitious. She hid many secrets from her husband. The way women were viewed in this time period formed a kind of barrier that Nora could not overcome. Women should not be discriminated against just because of their gender and within reason they should be able to do what their heart entails.
According to her husband Torvald, Nora is childish even though she is his wife but however she is loving but little that he is aware that she’s unpredictably a strong and an independent woman. As the plays moves forward readers will highly realize that Nora’s persona shifts from that of everyday playful trophy wife seen by Torvald and friends to someone who is highly self empowering and a willing woman.
...ment about how Torvald doesn’t like for her to eat them. Nora lies and says Kristine brought them too her. As Nora’s secret side is revealed, her life seems anything but perfect. As we look at the character change in Nora, we see two different sides to her. The beginning of the play reveals a woman totally dependent on her husband for everything,. It isn’t until the end of the play that she realizes she can be herself and she doesn’t have to depend on her husband. Nora realizes “that if she wants an identity as an adult that she must leave her husband’s home” (Drama for Students 112). By examining Nora, we see from Ibsen’s theme that if we ignore all the expectations the social world has for a person, our true selves can be revealed.
Torvald expects Nora to agree with what he says and thinks, and commit her life to keeping the family happy by being a housewife. But Nora defies the roles that she is expected to have as being a wife, a woman, and a friend. As a wife, Nora spends Torvald’s money on macarons which are forbidden and attempts to earn her own money while going against what her husband tells her, because she wants to be an independent person with her own opinions. The trip to the south and borrowing money was all done by her, and in the end of the play Nora ultimately goes against the expectations set upon her by leaving the house to live on her own to gain knowledge and experience, but leaves behind her husband and children who she is responsible for taking care of. As a woman, she does not have the authority to disagree with her husband or try to influence his actions. Torvald says, “If it ever got around that the new manager had been talked over by his wife…” (Ibsen 42) showing that it would be a laughing matter if a woman had an idea, but Nora still makes many attempts to persuade her husband. As a friend, Nora is expected to know her role which is a listener and supporter for Mrs. Linde and just an acquaintance to Dr. Rank, but the relationship with Dr. Rank goes beyond what is acceptable. When Dr. Rank confesses his feelings for Nora she is very upset because they can no longer flirt with each other now that the feelings are real. Her role is to be a loyal wife to her husband, which she is, but Ibsen uses the flirtatious dialect between the two to show that there are mutual feelings and that confessing them brings the relationship beyond what is allowed. As Nora challenges all of these roles, she is gradually becoming more stressed and eventually breaks down and leaves her husband, which demonstrates the effect of the unrealistic expectations to uphold the roles of
During this time period, there was the stereotypical opinion that women should only be homemakers because they do not have the intellectual capacity to do anything more. The struggle for dominance between Torvald and Krogstad also brings to light Nora’s venture to have purpose. Ibsen uses her to comment on society’s gender roles. For the majority of the play, Nora plays her part as the ideal wife well. However, at times she portrays herself as being more than just a trophy wife. Her conflict with Krogstad reveals how innovative and unselfish she actually is. For instance, she does not spend all the allowance money Torvald gives her. In addition to saving a little of her allowance, she also does odd jobs to earn money. She does all of this in secret to pay off the loan to Krogstad. At first, Nora gives off the impression that she is a “spendthrift” and an airhead, but she proves herself to be a woman of perseverance and determination. The men’s struggle for dominance also reveals her marriage’s flaw. Torvald treats her like a doll he needs to take care of and show off to others. He underestimates her ability, similar to how society doubts that women can do more than just sit still and look pretty. His condescending demeanor towards her ultimately allows her to realize that she needs to leave him in order to be truly independent and live up to her potential. Like all women in society eventually realize,
Torvald and Nora Helmer are the main characters in the play. Torvald is the domineering head of household while Nora is meek and submissive, or so she would have Torvald believe. Torvald refers to Nora as a “spendthrift”, a “sulky squirrel”, a “sweet little lark” and a “little prodigal”, all of which he means as sweet terms of affection but instead he comes off as condescending. Torval treats Nora like a child yet he expects his wife to cater to his every demand, and he thrives off the power he
The characterization of Nora and Torvald Helmer is a testament to possible inequalities in marriage. The relationship between the main characters Nora and Torvald is “a drama rife with emotional debts, secrets, recriminations, and sexual poverty” (Hilton). It is obvious by plays end that Ibsen’s character Nora Helmer has undergone a transformation. At opening we see an unsure, immature, childlike bride. This character seeks approval almost in a manner resembling a dog getting a pat on the head for retrieving his master’s slippers. Her entire demeanor resembles one who cannot think for themselves. She finds herself in a precarious situation that gives her more experience with life and people. These experiences enable Nora to mature and desire independence.
The first conflict the play encounters is Nora versus society. During the time the play is written it is uncommon for one’s wife to receive a sum or loan of money without her husband’s consent (Henrik 1735). Nora felt like she was doing what was right to save her husband’s life, even though she knows he will frown upon such a outlandish thought. Torvald, is a very smart business man even taking care of the family’s
In the closing scenes, Nora witnesses the final indication that she is truly regarded as Torvald’s possession. Beforehand, Torvald stated that he would protect Nora at all costs. However, as soon as he discovers the possibility of his reputation being tainted, he instantly degrades her to a point of dehumanization. As a result, Nora comprehends that true love never existed in their marriage, “You don’t understand me. And I’ve never understood you either- until tonight. No, don’t interrupt. You can just listen to what I say. We’re closing out accounts” (Ibsen 1234). Through this scene, Ibsen effectively represents Nora’s final mental awakening. The author employs sharp and decisive diction to convey Nora’s transformation. She no longer amuses Torvald with her childish antics, but speaks with a matter of fact tone. Nora had become accustomed to “pretending” her whole life, and therefore had convinced herself that she was in a loving marriage. As Sabiha Huq, English professor at Khulna University, indicates, “Nora has admonished a life living through hypocrisy and falsehood” (par. 1). It becomes evident to Nora that her whole life she has been dependent on a male figure and has never accomplished anything for herself. Subsequently, Nora feels as though her life has been meaningless, “I went from Papa’s hands into yours… it seems as if I’d lived here like a beggar--just from hand to mouth. I’ve
( Isben, 22). Nora must tell her husband Torvald that she has taken money without his consent, which in those days was against the law. Nora is faced with a very serious matter which can end her marriage if Torvald finds out about the loan. At the end of the play Torvald finds out about the loan which ends the marriage and breaks up the family for good. This shows how important family customs and traditions mean to the Helmer family.
In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, a drama written in the midst of an 1879, middle-class, suburban Europe, he boldly depicts a female protagonist. In a culture with concern for fulfilling, or more so portraying a socially acceptable image, Nora faces the restraints of being a doll in her own house and a little helpless bird. She has been said to be the most complex character of drama, and rightfully so, the pressure of strict Victorian values is the spark that ignites the play's central conflicts. Controversy is soon to arise when any social-norm is challenged, which Nora will eventually do. She evolves throughout the play, from submissive housewife to liberated woman. It seems as though what took women in America almost a century to accomplish, Nora does in a three-day drama. Ibsen challenges the stereotypical roles of men and women in a societally-pleasing marriage. He leads his readers through the journey of a woman with emerging strength and self-respect. Nora plays the typical housewife, but reveals many more dimensions that a typical woman would never portray in such a setting.
In his play, A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen depicts a female protagonist, Nora Helmer, who dares to defy her husband and forsake her "duty" as a wife and mother to seek out her individuality. A Doll's House challenges the patriarchal view held by most people at the time that a woman's place was in the home. Many women could relate to Nora's situation. Like Nora, they felt trapped by their husbands and their fathers; however, they believed that the rules of society prevented them from stepping out of the shadows of men. Through this play, Ibsen stresses the importance of women's individuality. A Doll's House combines realistic characters, fascinating imagery, explicit stage directions, and an influential setting to develop a controversial theme.
Henrik Ibsen uses his play, A Doll’s House, to challenge the status of the typical marriage and question feminist equality. Ibsen makes an example of the Helmer marriage by exposing social problems within society. The play ends without any solutions, however, Ibsen does offer women possibilities. Nora is a heroine among women, then and now.
Ibsen’s play, “A Doll House” was highly influenced by the gender roles of the twentieth century, which was when he chose to write the play itself. Within his time period, woman were portrayed as inferior counterparts to men. “Women were denied participation in public life; their access to education was limited; their social lives were narrowly circumscribed; and they could not legally transact business, own property, or inherit.” (A Doll’s House) The way women were portrayed in the twentieth century reveals Ibsen’s reasoning for creating such a husband, Torvald. Nora seems to be inferior towards Torvald because of the gender roles set back in previous generations. Throughout the play, Torvald undoubtedly provides evidence that he depicts Nora more as a child than a wife to him.
In Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, Ibsen conveys the idea of women equality. Women equality, where women would have the freedom that men had and would be able to enjoy and relish in a world where their true potential was not forcibly pushed inside of them. In 1879 most women were still confined to the home solely as of mothers and wives. Ibsen, being raised mostly by his mother, saw the truth of being a women from a man’s eyes and decided to show the rest of the world that same enlightenment. In this enlightenment Henrik Ibsen's use of the "well-made play" illuminates the developing strength of the protagonist Nora Helmer to help the social status of women in a male dominated world.