Victorian Women: A Human Sacrifice

Better Essays
"In herself the woman is nothing. The woman can only justify her presence on the earth by dedicating herself to others; through deliberate self-effacement, duty and sacrifice she will discover the identity and raison d'être of which, by herself, she is deprived" (Basch 5). Surrounded by such popular belief, the women of the Victorian age had to surrender their valuable possessions simply to avoid the wrath of the male dominated society. The female characters in A Dollhouse, by Henrik Ibsen, project that a woman was merely a self-sacrificing entity of society. Nora, the main character, obsessively tries to please her father and her husband. In an attempt to be the perfect daughter and a perfect wife, she conforms to the established by the men and in turn loses her identity. Due to her initial faith in the superficial laws created by the men, Nora even tries to embed the Victorian ideals in her daughter, Emmy. As a Christmas gift, Emmy receives a doll and a dolly's bedstead. Instead of being allowed to explore her potentials, Emmy is confined to practice to become martyr of the Victorian society. Women during this period were deliberately made powerless by the lack of prospective. Mrs. Linde, Nora's friend, is a victim of such social misfortune. In the absence of her father, Mrs. Linde acquires the responsibility of her sick mother and her two brothers. She sacrifices her love, Krogstad, and marries a wealthy man in order to take care of her family. If society had permitted, she could have attained both love and family. Nora's nursemaid, Anne Marie, is also a victim of the society. She is forced to forgo her only daughter because an illegitimate child. Apart from being used by a wicked man, she is disabled from raising her ... ... middle of paper ... set by the men of that era by ceding major cherished valuables of their lives. The concept of equality has always been unclear. Humans have revealed views about it fro many centuries. Ibsen himself had once revealed hi speculation of the concept - "there are two kinds of spiritual law [...] one in man and one in woman [...] but woman is judged in practical matters by man's law" (Rekdal). The men of the Victorian era had their own speculations and suggestions too. Fortunately for them, their views dominated the era. They themselves only understand little of this the difference mentioned by Ibsen, but actively engaged in promoting such misconception. They reason these misconceptions with fancy descriptions of a human's mind and soul, but not even once do they admit the possibility of being wrong. In reality, however, ignorance justifies all rules and actions.
Get Access