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.
The play A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879, recounts a story of a woman who is struggling to exist within the life she has accustomed herself to. The main character Nora is depicted as a woman that has accepted the way things were being held in her household without questioning the fairness or morals of the situation. Ibsen addresses the roles of woman in society and shines a new light on the concept of feminism in the time period. Nora represents the new light on feminism that was not quite popular during the time period in which Ibsen wrote the play. Nora’s character illustrates a concept that was foreign to most women during the time, and allowed for women to realize that they should be living to their full potential. Ibsen portrays Nora as childlike, tolerant, and loyal throughout the play, defining her true essence and eventually leading her to make a decision that would change the course of her life.
Henrik Ibsen published A Doll House in 1879, which was a time period of intense debate over women’s rights. Ibsen believed in the equality of people; consequently, the play displays the unjust inequality between men and women during the 19th century. Women were expected to fulfill the roles of a daughter, wife, and mother. However, to conform to the standards of the time women would repeatedly sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of men (Shahbaz). Nora attempted to fulfill the roles society expected of her, but she could not. Henrik Ibsen demonstrated how a woman has a duty to herself first by showing the negative effects of restricting women to the subservient roles of a daughter, wife, and mother in A Doll House.
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.
Henrik Ibsen wants to make in his play. He wants to let society know that the women are living in a masculine society and that society will not always win in the battle of humans versus society. On page 1403, the book says, “A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day…” With using society’s customs, deception, and symbolism Henrik Ibsen is able to make his point. With social customs, Henrik Ibsen challenges the way the woman are suppose to act. In the beginning of the play, society would have been happy, however as the reader reads on society’s ideas are pushed aside and Nora becomes her own person. Henrik Ibsen uses deception to show society what they force the people to do. For example, the reader sees that Nora has to lie about everything because society will not take her the way she is. To her, she sees nothing wrong with borrowing a little money to save her husband, but society will not have it. For example, Helmer says, “Now you have destroyed all of my happiness. You have ruined all my future. This horrible to think of!” (1395). He also says, “… The matter must be hushed up at any to appease him some way or another.” (1395). These quotes go to show that society will not take what Nora has done save to her husband’s life very well. Finally, Henrik Ibsen uses symbolism to help get his point across. With symbolism, the reader sees a connection between the tree and Nora. When the tree begins to lose it decorates, Nora loses her cover up too. The reader begins to see the real Nora and how she does what she thinks she has to do. Henrik Ibsen is able to win his battle of society versus humans in A Doll
To show how the play is about inequality, Ibsen uses Nora Helmer as the main example of a woman who lives in a society where the male refers to the females as a mere doll or plaything. Nora is portrayed as helpless in the play, and somebody who just wastes the money that her husband works hard to earn for her and the family. Nora is the "...
Henrik Ibsen created a world where marriages and rules of society are questioned, and where deceit is at every turn. In A Doll’s House, the reader meets Nora, a housewife and mother trapped in her way of life because the unspoken rules of society. Nora and the people around her decieve each other throughout the entire play, leading up to a shocking event that will change Nora and her family lives forever. Ibsen uses the theme deceit to tell a story filled with lies and betrayal.
The inciting event follows quickly. Nora shows Torvald the presents that she bought for their children for Christmas. He calls her a spendthrift and then accuses her of eating sweets. Nora lies, denying that she has, allows the reader to understand that she lies to her husband when it suits her. This is a small lie and a small secret but the stage has been set for bigger untruths and bigger secrets.
Henrik Ibsen 's “A Doll House” played a significant role in the late nineteenth-century when it explored different aspects of gender roles in society. With his stage play, Ibsen 's observation on society shows the audience, of what happens when one lie can turn into a multitude of lies, and how secrets can destroy a family.
...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.
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.
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.
"A Doll 's House" is classified under the "second phase" of Henrik Ibsen 's career. It was during this period which he made the transition from mythical and historical dramas to plays dealing with social problems. It was the first in a series investigating the tensions of family life. Written during the Victorian era, the controversial play featuring a female protagonist seeking individuality stirred up more controversy than any of his other works. In contrast to many dramas of Scandinavia in that time which depicted the role of women as the comforter, helper, and supporter of man, "A Doll 's House" introduced woman as having her own purposes and goals. The heroine, Nora Helmer, progresses during the course of the play eventually to realize
Nora Helmer was a delicate character and she relied on Torvald for her identity. This dependence that she had kept her from having her own personality. Yet when it is discovered that Nora only plays the part of the good typical housewife who stays at home to please her husband, it is then understandable that she is living not for herself but to please others. From early childhood Nora has always held the opinions of either her father or Torvald, hoping to please them. This mentality makes her act infantile, showing that she has no ambitions of her own. Because she had been pampered all of her life, first by her father and now by Torvald, Nora would only have to make a cute animal sound to get what she wanted from Torvald, “If your little squirrel were to ask you for something very, very, prettily” (Ibsen 34) she said.