Henrik Ibsen’s “a Doll’s House” - Feminism

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Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” is a play about a young wife and her husband. Nora and Helmer seem to be madly in love with one another and very happy with their lives together. Yet the conflict comes into this show when Nora brags to her friend Ms. Linde about how she had forged her father’s name to borrow money to save her husband’s life and how she had been secretly paying off this debt. Helmer finds out about this crime and is furious, until he finds that no one will ever know about it. This entire conflict is written to bring to light the ridiculous social expectations demanded of both women and men. Ibsen expertly leads the audience into accepting that these social expectations are foolish and wrong. The audience buys into this so much that in the end when Nora stands firm and refuses to bow down to what society demands of her, we see her as the hero. When The Doll House was written in 1879, the world was still completely in the clutches of many horrific gender stereotypes.  Women in particular were confined to very narrow roles, and were thought to be incapable of anything outside the scope of those roles. The Helmer household was founded upon these stereotypes, and as we eventually see, could not stand without them.        Women were raised to believe that their place was in the home.  Their primary functions were to cook, clean, bear children, maintain a nice home, and adorn themselves accordingly.  In Nora’s case, her main function is to keep up the front wall of a “beautiful, happy home.”      On the other hand, men were raised to finance the whole charade.  Husbands went to work every day, dealt with all of the harsh realities of the world, and brought home a paycheck.  Helmer comes home every day to the comfort and entertainment provided by Nora, and that is the only way he knows that a marriage can be. In every society, power is the bringer of fortune and influence. In this play Ibsen portrays, through the character...
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