Essay about Portrayal of Gender Roles in the 19th Century in Ibsen's A Doll's House

Essay about Portrayal of Gender Roles in the 19th Century in Ibsen's A Doll's House

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“A Doll’s House” gives the reader a firsthand view at how gender roles affected the characters actions and interactions throughout the play. The play helps to portray the different struggles women faced during the 19th century with gender roles, and how the roles affected their relationships with men as well as society. It also helps to show the luxury of being a male during this time and how their higher status socially over women affected their relationships with woman and others during this time period.
Torvald Helmer starts off the story with a new job as a bank manager. He has a wife Nora who does not have a job in the workforce since that was the man's role. Torvald even calls Nora pet names like "my sweet little lark" and "my squirrel”. These nicknames may seem to be harmless and cute, but in reality the names actually show how little he thinks of her and how he’s the one harnessing the power in the relationship. When Torvald says "my little squirrel" he is suggesting that he in fact owns Nora and that she is second-rate to him, since she is seen as little and as a squirrel which are usually frightened, non-threatening creatures. Torvald sees women as both child-like, helpless creatures detached from reality and who are responsible for taking care of the chores and children while staying inside the house.
Gender roles are also seen in the rules Torvald for Nora to follow. Torvald is the only one in the family who works and provide for his family who needs to survive in their lifestyle. Because of this, Nora must always go and ask for money from Torvald hoping for his acceptance of her using his income. Nora also had no possessions to her name because when a woman got married, all her possessions were considered ...


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...nancial needs or just in the home men held the advantage. "A Doll's House," by Henrik Ibsen portrays the genders role of nineteenth century women and men in society. Torvald's perception of his wife of how she is a helpless creature shows the overall role which women filled. Women were responsible for the purity of the world through their influence in the home and through the upbringing of her children. They had to beg and ask for permission to do certain activities and essential things. Men were the ones in the family who worked and provided for his family's wellbeing. Because of the family's economic dependence on the husband, he had control over all of all his family members. This showed the amount of progress needing to come in the future to allow woman to start receiving some of the many rights they deserved which men had and so frequently took for granted.

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