The play “A Doll’s House” is a clear example of a feminist piece of writing. Henrik Ibsen utilized a variety of techniques in his play in order to modify the feminist attitudes present in society during that time period. His main goal seemed to be, to make his audience question the morality in the unequal treatment of women in that Victorian era, where this seemed to be the norm. In order to accomplish this Gibson’s techniques included the use of diction, realism, and choice of setting.
Diction is an important technique used throughout the play. This use of simple diction becomes very evident to the reader as conversations between specific characters occur. At the very beginning the use of non-human names to refer to Nora becomes a common occurrence. This occurs in the scene where Helmer hears Nora “bustling about,” and says “When did my squirrel come home?”(Act 1). Ibsen’s choice of words to refer to Nora emphasized how unimportant women were in that era and even degraded her to the level of a pet, having no authority and dependent on the command of the owner. The owner here is her husband Helmer. Not only did his use of diction imply the explicit inferiority of Nora, the “doll” in the “dollhouse,” but he also displays her husband’s image of her as intellectually incapable. This is seen when Nora and Helmer are discussing holiday shopping and Helmer calls her “The same little featherhead,” for her thoughts on the subject (Act 1). Diction as a tool to influence society’s point of view proved to be a powerful technique in “A Doll’s House.”
In addition to the careful use of diction, Ibsen also wrote the play implementing realism. Using realism he appealed to the common person and grabbed the audience’s interest and attention. Gibson used everyday language during the character’s conversations, yet emphasized and at times dramatized specific parts that degraded women and showed their inferior role in society. For example, when Helmer tells Nora “My little...
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