Essay on Gender In A Doll’s House And The Importance Of Being Earnest

Essay on Gender In A Doll’s House And The Importance Of Being Earnest

Length: 2000 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Gender In ‘A Doll’s House’ And ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’

A Doll’s House and The Importance of Being Earnest were both written in the late nineteenth century at a period in time when gender roles in society were not only significant to the structure of society but were restrictive and oppressive to individuals. This was particularly true in the case of women who were seen as the upholders of morals in polite society and were expected to behave accordingly. A Doll’s House and The Importance of Being Earnest challenge society and its inclination to categorise and expect certain behaviour of individuals based on their gender.

In its historical context A Doll’s House was a radical play which forced its audience to question the gender roles which are constructed by society and make them think about how their own lives are a performance for Victorian society.

A Doll’s House illustrates two types of women. Christine is without a husband and independent at the start of the play whereas Nora is married to Torvald and dependent on him and his position at the bank. Both begin at different ends of the spectrum. In the course of the play their paths cross and by the end of the play each woman is where the other started. It appears that a woman has two choices in society; to be married and dependent on a man or unmarried and struggle in the world because she does not have a man.

Women are expected to fulfil the role of ‘angel of the house’ which expects a woman to perform a submissive role by standing by her husband and staying faithful whatever he does, Nora survives in her relationship with Torvald by deliberately taking a submissive role. Yet there is a double standard regarding the expectations of men. Men are the dominant figures in any male-female relationship particularly marriage expecting their wife to obey their decisions and their will. By conforming to these roles both man and woman can be sure of securing a respected position in society.

Nora engages in a mutually dependent game with Torvald in that she gains power in the relationship by being perceived as weak, yet paradoxically she has no real power or independence because she is a slave to the social construction of her gender. Her epiphany at the end at the play realises her and her marriage as a product of society, Nora comes to understand that she has been living with a constr...

... middle of paper ...

...her defiance to no longer comply with the gender constructions of society. Ibsen, therefore, criticises society’s compliance with the constructions of the culture and urges us to be more like Nora is at her epiphany. Lady Bracknell is memorable for her comically masculine traits and character. Not only does Wilde shatter our gender expectations, but ridicules the compliance of individuals in the performances that they make for society. Both plays raise questions regarding the submission of men and women to society’s presumptions and pressure regarding gender, and criticise individuals for conforming without asking questions. Each play makes us question our own performances for society and the performances of others in our lives. Nora’s realisation that she has married a construction is as unnerving now as it was to its contemporary audience because it forces us to look at our own behaviour and that of others around us, presenting us with a frightening and menacing awareness that we also may be existing in false and constructed lives.

Works Cited

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. 1879. New York: Dover, 1992.

Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest. London: Penguin, 1994.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Henrik Ibsen 's A Doll House Essay examples

- Henrik Johan Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of realism" and is one of the founders of Modernism in theatre. Ibsen mainly wrote about Norway claiming, “that he would never return to the petty, small-mindedness that pervaded the country” (Bloom 11). When Ibsen married Susannah Thoreson, he believed that they should live as equals and grow to become their own human beings. In Ibsen’s A Doll House, a drama written in the center of an 1879, middle-class, residential Europe, he portrays a female protagonist....   [tags: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Victorian era]

Term Papers
1290 words (3.7 pages)

Henrik Isben's A Doll's House Essay

- After she reveals the "dastardly deed" to her husband, he becomes understandably agitated; in his frustration he shares the outside world with her, the ignorance of the serious business world, and destroys her innocence and self-esteem. This disillusion marks the final destructive blow to her doll's house. Their ideal home including their marriage and parenting has been a fabrication for the sake of society. Nora's decision to leave this false life behind and discover for herself what is real is directly symbolic of woman's ultimate realization....   [tags: A Doll's House Essays]

Term Papers
1182 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Gender Roles And Gender Stereotypes

- Previous literature has suggested that make-believe play can enhance social skills, emotional regulation, care and affection, attention span, creativity, etc. Weisgrama (2014) suggested that gendered toys along with gendered jobs were already noticed by young children, for example, if a toy is a more masculine color, girls already shied away from it and when certain jobs are shown to young children, they have already created schemas dealing with which gender can perform that specific job (Weisgrama et....   [tags: Gender role, Gender, Gender studies, Transgender]

Term Papers
779 words (2.2 pages)

Henrik Isben's A Doll's House Essay

- A Closer look at Ibsens A Dolls House "Everything is relative" or so the flippant motto of the post-modern generation would say. Interestingly enough, this aphorism is brilliantly applied by Henrik Ibsen to enhance his characters in the acclaimed drama, A Doll’s House. Often, we see things relative to their surroundings, and as the contrast between objects heighten, each becomes more visible. Within the first act of A Doll’s House, we encounter Christine Linde, a childhood friend of the main character, Nora, and Dr....   [tags: A Doll's House Essays]

Term Papers
904 words (2.6 pages)

Henrik Ibsen 's A Doll 's House Essay

- The desire to be the best, to be dominant among a group of people can reveal a character’s deepest fears or weaknesses. To be great requires a certain personality, but is it not always easy to come out on top. In the play “A Doll’s House”, by Henrik Ibsen, there are multiple endeavors for dominance. Torvald battles Krogstad over being the most successful; driven by money and a power hungry ego, this conflict reveals more about both men’s personalities. Consequently, their struggle unveils Nora’s fight to be independent and depart from society’s norms....   [tags: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Norway, Woman]

Term Papers
731 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Critical Analysis Of Henrik Ibsen 's ' A Doll 's House '

- Gaining the Right to Liberty and Freedom The right to act on one’s free will is the most basic of human necessities. To have that right disregarded is to take away a fundamental part of human individualism. “A Doll’s House”, Nora living in the constraints of a 19th century Victorian society has been refused the right to equality and free will. As expected of a woman she is not to have freedom to make her own decisions, she is expected to stay home, care for children and tend to her husbands needs, as well as to have no individual opinion (Mapaulita)....   [tags: A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen, Norway, Sociology]

Term Papers
1695 words (4.8 pages)

Essay about A Doll 's House By Henrik Ibsen

- Today women are being mistreated for just the gender roles and stereotypes that revolve in the human society. Depending on the time period and culture, women are expected to act in a certain way. Throughout history, many relationships can be found in different cultures regarding the way women were treated. In Ibsen’s A Doll’s house, Nora reflects the responsibilities and roles of Norwegian women during the late 1870s. Torvald, Nora’s husband, also shows the way men treated women and what roles they played in a marriage....   [tags: Woman, Gender role, Gender, Christmas]

Term Papers
1114 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on A Doll 's House By Henrik Ibsen

- Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 A Doll’s House is inherently a feminist play as it illuminates the struggles faced by European women – as represented by Nora – in the 19th century; and, in Act Three, explicitly rejects the patriarchy which oppressed them. If one defines patriarchy as a force which denies a woman autonomy, and feminism as a movement which liberates her, then this passage is a microcosm of the conflict between the two – Torvald tries to assert his dominance over Nora, who insistently proclaims her independence....   [tags: Gender role, Feminism, Sociology, Gender]

Term Papers
1487 words (4.2 pages)

The Doll House By Henrik Ibsen Essay

- After reading “The Doll House” and “Trifles”, the idea of females being inferior to men is portrayed. Both plays, are in a much older time period. But from a feminist view, females are still sometimes given the doubtful role in today’s society. Both plays, are very different, but much alike in the ways the females are treated, never taken seriously, nor are they appreciated. “The Doll House”, by Henrik Ibsen has a major theme of feminism issues. Nora the wife of Torvald, has done an ultimate favor for her husband but is now is having to pay back for this favor....   [tags: Woman, Gender, Play, Marriage]

Term Papers
1113 words (3.2 pages)

Analysis Of Marge Piercy 's Barbie Doll Essay

- Since the beginning of time, women have not lived up to set expectations. Society has long been obsessed with the idea of the perfect woman. This slightly varies in different cultures, but in America, they have been known to be housewives and mothers who must constantly look pretty. In Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll,” she uses bold diction and symbolism to shows society’s views on women. Anne Sexton uses metaphoric imagery, for the same reason, in her poem “Her Kind.” In Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll,” females are pressured into their pre-assigned gender roles starting at a young age with their dolls....   [tags: Woman, Gender role, Gender, Female]

Term Papers
1000 words (2.9 pages)