Doll's House Essay

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Henrik Ibsen’s late 19th century drama, A Doll’s House is a political play that fractures the barriers between the public and private spheres of the suffocating bourgeois lifestyle of the Victorian era. The play's subversive attitude is embedded in an exploration of women that challenges female archetypes whilst emphasising a fine balance between freedom and attachment. Specifically, Ibsen’s exploration of identity emphasises the process of self-authorship and the creation of autonomy as defined by a sense of sacrifice. That being, he emphasises that an autonomous identity can only be achieved through the deconstruction of social and personal facades whilst conversely portraying manipulative and deceitful actions to maintain ‘stable’ relationships. However, it is Ibsen’s skilful unification of content with dramatic form that has allowed his play to resonate with contemporary audiences 130 years after its original date of publication, as female liberation is still a plaguing issue.

Resonating with contemporary society’s constantly evolving female positions, a 21st century audience recognises that Ibsen challenges the patriarchal Victorian era’s perception of women as objectified and submissive. Specifically, Ibsen dissembles the ideological façade of the home through a dichotomous representation of Nora as both a challenge and embodiment of patriarchal power. Ibsen alludes to normative female ideals initially portraying Nora as a subservient housewife passively accepting potentially derogatory pet names such as "squirrelkin" and "hummingbird" as terms of endearment. Additionally, depersonalising neologisms, such as "what a little featherbrain it is" highlight her submission and dehumanised status as an objectified 'it'. Yet, despite her seeming powerlessness, she contrasts social perceptions of the ‘angel in the house’ and a ‘silly girl’ by involving herself in the domain of business. In her forgery to obtain money to save Torvald’s life, her jargon exhibits...
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