Gender in a Doll's House

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Gender in A Doll’s House
In Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, Nora is the wife and mother. This play was considered so extreme because of the problem of women’s rights outlined in this play, something that was not openly showcased in plays during the 19th century. Women were thought by most to be mothers and housewives. Nora chose to abandon her children at the end of the play to find out who she really was and to find freedom for herself. The play would be considered so extreme in the times, because a marriage in the 19th century was considered the true form of commitment. Such a play showing that a woman could be herself, “find herself,” or leave a marriage and responsibilities of her children because she did not want to feel like a doll being played with was too extreme for the time. Women could not do anything in society without a man in the 19th century; as a woman’s purpose was only based on the duties for her husband and her children.

Some view Nora as a victim of circumstance. However, I think that Nora is an early feminist of the age. She may have been caught up in the doll-like treatment for a good portion of her life, but she then decided to take initiative to choose her own fate. Yuehua writes, “Though men manipulate their power in an open way, women demonstrate their ideological strength with their forceful challenge of masculine power in a more tactful way, and deconstruct the traditional myths of gender role” (Yuehua 1). I suppose Nora is a victim if you look at it from the perspective that she could have ended her marriage from the beginning if she wasn’t happy. She would be a victim considering the passing her off from her father to her husband with no choice of her own. She would then be a victim to the societal idea that a woman should only put her family’s happiness first above her own happiness just because she is a woman. She would be a victim because she wasn’t allowed to buy, eat, dress, act, or say things that were not acceptable...
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