Henrick Ibsen: a Doll's House

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“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen
What is the role of women in society? This has been perhaps one of the most debated questions throughout history. Because women were traditionally seen as the weaker sex or second-class citizens with a lower social status than men, their place was often considered to be in the home caring for their children and spouse. During the Victorian era, marriage was possibly one of the most significant points in a woman’s life. Many women did not have the option not to marry because marriage was simply a necessity for survival. Society prevented women from making their own living, which cause an inescapable dependence upon men’s income. During this time it was not uncommon for women to view themselves as worthless and their situation hopeless, which left many women to accept deplorable, degrading, and disrespectful treatment in their family lives. Many characters in great literary works were created simply to give readers some insight to the struggles that many women many to endure, but yet overcome. By looking at the character Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House”, one will see how the society’s negative view of women might have influenced Ibsen to write a play about a female heroine during a time when it would not be viewed favorably and why many generations of readers of the play choose to view it as work of feminism.

In “A Doll’s House”, the obvious themes are love, family, gender roles, lies, marriage, masculinity, money, and respect. It is very evident that the character Nora Helmer is the link connecting each of these themes. Nora is not only a woman who clearly loves and respects her husband Torvald, but she also believes that he loves her despite the way she treated. At one point in the play Nora tells Christine, "you know how devotedly, how inexpressibly deeply Torvald loves me; he would never for a moment hesitate to give his life for me" (Booth, Mays 1468). Nora’s every thought seemed to be to please her Torvald,...
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