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The Subjection of Women Exposed in A Doll’s House

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A man, intoxicated and impoverished, lay on the dirty streets of patriarchal Norway, and as the jeering citizens sauntered by, they could have never guessed that this man, Henrik Ibsen, would be the Prometheus of women’s rights and the creator of the modern play. Having been born in 1828, Ibsen lived through various examples of the subjection of women within the law, such as Great Britain allowing men to lock up and beat their wives “in moderation” (Bray 33). Therefore, Ibsen was known for his realistic style of writing within both poetry and plays, which usually dealt with everyday situations and people (31). Focusing on the rights of women, Ibsen’s trademark was “...looking at these problems without the distortions of romanticism” and often receiving harsh criticism for doing so (31). In an attempt to support his family, Ibsen became a pharmaceutical apprentice, but after three years he abandoned this profession and began writing poetry. After an apprenticeship in the theater, he began writing his own plays, including a drama in verse, Peer Gynt (31). While working and writing in Norway, Ibsen and several social critics observed “...the penalty society pays when only half of its members participate fully as citizens”, deciding to flee Norway in hopes of finding a more accepting social environment (33). Ibsen wrote A Doll’s House, his most famous work about women suffering through the oppressive patriarchal society, while living primarily in Germany and Italy where he “...was exposed to these social norms and tensions to a much greater extent than he would have been had he remained solely in Norway” (32). While Sweden, Norway, and Denmark began to grant legal majority to women, Ibsen understood the legal improvements f...

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... DE: Prestwick House Inc.: Literary Touchstone Classics, 2006. Print.

Mill, John Stuart. From The Subjection of Women. England in Literature:

Medallion Edition. Ed. Helen McDonnell et al. Glenview, Il.: Scott, Foresman

and Co. 1979. 436-439.

Secondary Sources

Bray, Ashlin Ed. "Biography of Henrik Ibsen and Fact Sheet of Women's

Progress." In Multiple Critical Perspectives: A Doll's House. Clayton DE:

Prestwick House Inc. 2007. 31-34. Print.

Orjasaeter, Kristin. "Mother, Wife and Role Model: A contextual perspective

on feminism in A Doll's House." Ibsen Studies: Tahlor and Francis. Ltd.

2005. 19-47. Print.

Scott, Clement. "Review of 'A Doll's House.'" The Theatre 14.79 (July 1889):

19-22. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Criticism. Ed. Paula Kepos. Vol. 37.

Detroit: Gale Research. 1991. Literature Resource Center. Web
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