Feminism in a Doll House

Topics: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Marriage Pages: 4 (1507 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Samantha Nickell
Professor Roberts
English 102
27 May 2013

Feminism in A Doll House In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House Nora Helmer is a prime example of a woman’s role in the 19th century, that being that she was more for show than anything else. Nora’s husband, Torvald, treats his wife like a living doll and uses pet names for her rather than her actual name further establishing her position as nothing more than a toy. For Torvald. Nora’s purpose in her own home is to be subservient in a mental capacity as her husband often regards her more as a child than an adult by punishing her for simple, silly matters such as eating sweets. This treatment, however, is not new for Nora as it is revealed that her father treated her quite similarly. When the play opens Nora has just returned from Christmas shopping and we are given a description of her home, “A comfortable room, tastefully but not expensive furnished.” (Doll act I). Further explanation reveals details which tell the audience that the financial situation for Nora and Torvald is good. As with most things the Helmer home is nothing more than a façade for Nora. One author says, “ [T]he house is a mere container, or doll’s house, for Nora, who spends her time entertaining or nervously accommodating (as her nickname “the squirrel” implies) her demanding husband — rather than decorating, designing, or even “taking charge of” her own life” (Connie Pedoto). It’s from this that the reader first gets the idea that appearance means a lot to the Helmer family. Early on it is made very evident through the conversation with husband that she is meant to be the face of their marriage. Ibsen introduces the fact that Nora is not allowed sweets; something that seems strange in this day and age, but in the 19th century was not uncommon. It shows the power a husband had over his wife in that time as well as the submissive behavior women adopted in order to have a proper marriage....

Cited: Ibsen, Henrik. “A Doll House” The Bedford Introduction to Literature 9th edition. Boston: Bedford. 2011. Print.
Templeton, Joan. Ibsen’s Women. Cambridge: Cambridge University. 1997. P.111. Print.
Pedoto, Connie. “A Doll’s House.” Cyclopedia Of Literary Places. 2003. Literary Reference Center. Web. 27 May 2013.
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