19 November 2012
A Critic’s Opinion of A Doll’s House
In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House many views could be seen from both sides of the gender world. Critics will argue about the true meaning of the story and why Ibsen wrote the story. The main points of the play that critics discuss are sexuality i.e. feminism, the wrong doing of the father figure, and spiritual revolution. I believe these critics are each right in their own way from my understanding of the play and their ideas about the play.
Sexuality or, in the case of A Doll’s House, feminism plays a huge role in how Nora ends the play for the readers. As I read through several criticisms of this play the main one that stuck out to me was how Nora was expected to bear children, keep her mouth shut, and do as Torvald said; so man rules and woman does as commanded. Nora didn’t see it that way she wanted to bring feminism to life and do for her and not of what was expected of her. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs describes of what Nora longs for, but not for her family but for herself and herself alone. As Kristin Brunnemer states in her critical essay “self-actualization, as Maslow described it, involves “the need to fulfill one’s potential, to be what one can be” … Nora yearns for self-actualization, in her desire for education, for time to ‘think over things for [her]self’,”(Brunnemer). I have learned from reading of this play that she feels like she is worth nothing but his little play mate and is not truly loved by the man she has given everything up for. She acts on the third stage of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which states, “…because of Torvald’s new job she seeks something greater than security: self-worth. While revealing Nora’s ‘need to feel that other people respect and recognize [her] as worthwhile’” (Brunnemer). Brunnemer’s analysis and criticism of the sexuality in this play fits so perfect to my reading of this play. She wants to feel loved and safe, while also wanting to feel like she is worth something great by being herself and not just as Torvald’s wife. Brunnemer states that:
Nora moving through the stages of the hierarchy, from physiological elements such as
safety, love, and belonging, to the desire of esteem and self-actualization…’most
behavior occurs in response to some kind of motivation…among different needs, or
drives’ in her interactions with Kristine, Krogstad, Dr. Rank and, most especially,
Torvald, Nora consistently shows how needs…are the key to her growing personal
identity. She has learned that now she needs to worry about herself and do it all on her own because she has finally realized it’s all just been a game. I find in my reading and this makes the most sense to me because I totally thought the same thing when I read the story, “realizing that they have only been play-acting the perfect marriage, Nora changes, symbolically, and prepares to leave Torvald and also tells him, ‘I went from papa’s hands into yours…and so I got the same taste as you- or pretended to…it’s a great sin what you and papa did to me. You’re to blame that nothings become of me[…] I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was papa’s doll-child’”(Brunnemer). This shows how she has finally seen the light and is now leaving it all behind because she doesn’t want to be his doll she wants to be his equal. As a woman I see where she is coming from no woman wants to be a prized doll for their husband or father, they want to be loved and treated as his partner that’s beside him not below him. But not only is the problem of sexism a problem but the father figure himself has caused the uproar of the play A Doll’s House.
The way your father treats you in life as a child and an adult will follow with you for the rest of your life. If your father treats you wrong then you will treat others the same, if he is never around you will never be around for your own kids, if he doesn’t show you love and care then you will...
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