The Dollhouse by Henrik Ibsen

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Ethical and moral issues abound with the lines of Henrik Ibsen’s play, The Dollhouse, revealing the tragedies and rebirths of two key players and the spiritual destruction of a third. Within the turn of events covering a mere two or three days observers are shown the harsh reality of society in 1879 Europe and the inequality of treatment of both women (wives, in particular) and children considered possessions and not viewed as people. Deceitful wife (a phoenix in the end), narcissistic husband (considered his wife and children as property), lustful (howbeit dying friend), gold-digger friend (who married for money), and a fearful blackmailer (having a past that haunted him) each in his or hers own way violate the 19th , 20th , and the 21st Centuries’ viewpoint regarding ethics and morality creating the atmosphere of a well thought out soap opera of the past century; providing fodder for heated discussions regarding the right and wrong perpetrated by the players both morally and ethically. Society as a whole was vastly different 125 years ago with much turmoil with social and political change.
The mid 1800s to the early portion of the 1900s was a time of much political unrest as the industrial age cranked up into full operation having a hand in the growing unrest of equal treatment for slaves, women, and children being forced to labor in unsafe environments and conditions. Hand in hand with the slavery issue rode the desire for the vote and equal treatment of women in the United States while across the Pond in Europe women took to obtaining equal rights and a verbal voice in politics. Having for centuries been considered mere chattel and subject to the whims of their husbands women had absolutely no rights for their own bodies, co...

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... so jeopardized her life to save a man that did not truly love her but rather loved that he could control her as a puppet on a string; Torvald Helmer.
Barrister Torvald Helmer possessed neither a heart or compassion for others unless it was beneficial for himself and his future. Morally bankrupt and ethically unsound in his dealings within his own home. Broken and incomplete as the curtain falls on the final act of a marriage of control and censorship as Nora becomes reborn as the Phoenix from the ashes. Henrik Ibsen exposed the faults of society in the 1800s and he himself was censored and forced to capitulate and write a false ending for his play. Which could bring up another societal fault: censorship?

Works Cited

Schilb, John and Clifford, John. Making Literature Matter, an Anthology for Readers and Writers. Fifth Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2012. Print.
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