A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, was written during a time when the role of woman was that of comforter, helper, and supporter of man. The play generated great controversy due to the fact that it featured a female protagonist seeking individuality. A Doll's House was one of the first plays to introduce woman as having her own purposes and goals. The heroine, Nora Helmer, progresses during the course of the play eventually to realize that she must discontinue the role of a doll and seek out her individuality. David Thomas describes the initial image of Nora as "that of a doll wife who revels in the thought of luxuries that can now be afforded, who is become with flirtation, and engages in childlike acts of disobedience" (Thomas 259). This inferior role from which Nora progressed is extremely important.
Ibsen's A Doll's House depicts the role of women as subordinate in order to emphasize the need to reform their role in society. Definite characteristics of the women's subordinate role in a relationship are emphasized through Nora's contradicting actions. Her infatuation with luxuries such as expensive Christmas gifts contradicts her resourcefulness in scrounging and buying cheap clothing; her defiance of Torvald by eating forbidden Macaroons contradicts the submission of her opinions, including the decision of which dance outfit to wear, to her husband; and Nora's flirtatious nature contradicts her devotion to her husband. These occurrences emphasize the facets of a relationship in which women play a dependent role: finance, power, and love.
Ibsen attracts our attention to these examples to highlight the overall subordinate role that a woman ...
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...y is representative of the awakening of society to the changing view of the role of woman. A Doll's House magnificently illustrates the need for and a prediction of this change.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Clurman, Harold. 1977. Ibsen. New York: Macmillan.
Heiberg, Hans. 1967. Ibsen. A Portrait of the Artist. Coral Gables, Florida: University of Miami.
Ibsen, Henrik. "A Doll’s House." Perrine's Literature. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1998. pp. 967-1023
Northam, John. 1965. "Ibsen's Search for the Hero." Ibsen. A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Shaw, Bernard. "A Doll's House Again." Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1979.
Sturman, Marianne Isben's Plays I, A Doll’s House Cliffs Notes, 1965.
Thomas, David. Henrik Ibsen. New York: Grove, 1984
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