A Doll's House Critical Essay

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In the play “A Doll's House” by Henrik Ibsen, a women named Nora struggles with lies, marriage, and the forever long journey of finding herself. It was a great step for feminism in the time period and caused quite the commotion. Critics at the time, mostly men, tore it to shreds because of the independent main character who broke the gender mold. Nora, said main protagonist, realizes that, after trampling her way through a tangled net of lies, deception, and love, she has no real sense of self and only bent to the will of others. This was a common problem for women in the 19th century, going straight from their father's house to their husbands. “Every woman was raised believing that they had neither self-control nor self-government but that they must yield to the control of stronger gender” said Andrew Ravenscroft. This may have been common and expected, but does it give Nora the excuse of walking out on her family and eight years of marriage? Is she in the wrong, with Torvald having every right to be angry and upset? Or, are they both completely selfish and hypocritical, neither of them deserving anybody?

Nora made a mistake, that much is clear. She shouldn't have forged the signature or borrowed money without Torvald's permission. Not because he is the “stronger gender” or in charge of her, but because they were married and tied together legally. But, is she really all that wrong? Her reasoning for doing said actions were to save Torvald, not to hurt him or (God forbid) ruin his good name. Unfortunately, she “naively assumes that her lawbreaking was justified because it saved a life” (Ravenscroft). It did, morally, but it came back to haunt her legally. Krogstad was going to blackmail her. However, instead of informing Torvald as soon as she caught wind of any oncoming trouble, she hid it and sought other means of reconciliation. But Nora must have had some common sense. Fraud is a big deal, but she lumped it in the category of little...
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