Meanings Behind a Doll's House

Topics: Victorian era, Feminism, Dolls Pages: 5 (1725 words) Published: November 18, 2013

Drama Essay: The Meanings Behind Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” In the 21st or present century, the idea of a woman abandoning her children and husband to discover who she truly is would be viewed as a triumphant action. However, in the Victorian era, where the play “A Doll’s House” takes place, this event was unheard of and completely outrageous. Women mostly served the same purpose in every relationship and every household so the idea of being an individual and finding their interests was entirely unimportant. Many times in literature, a deeper meaning can be found within the text. The drama “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, conveys a scenario that represents Victorian views and women’s place in society at that time. With the use of symbolism throughout the play, a message is created about ideals during this era. While Ibsen claims to not share any feminist views, much of his creation speaks otherwise. As many believe Ibsen’s intent “is to expose the patriarchy and it’s exploitation of women(Baseer)”. Many aspects in the play are intriguing as well, that could lead one to believe Ibsen really is a secret feminist. With careful analysis, the reader can locate several places in “A Doll’s House” where Ibsen acknowledges the imbalance of a patriarchal society and covertly establishes himself as an advocate for Women’s Rights.

In “A Dolls House”; Nora, the wife, is unemployed and very childish. Whatever money she possesses and spends is given in the form of an allowance from her husband. She spends heftily and is very irresponsible with the funds she is allowed. This flaw in her financial handling skills is one of the many indicators of Nora’s naievety. This benightedness is even recognized in the play. A few of the people that go to visit Nora point out that she has limited knowledge of the world she lives in. For instance, Mrs. Linde, who says “You are a child, Nora(Ibsen 825)”. This idea of ignorance and emphasis on it reveals that Nora is essentially useless as an individual to society as her contributions are so small. In creating this persona of Nora, Ibsen is highlighting that error in society. Women, according to this play have limited information about their world for fear of rebellion as will be discussed later.

A feminist point of view is clearly present as well in the drama itself. A criticism of patriarchy is especially present in Torvald’s dialogue. He addresses Nora in several very demeaning ways such as “poor little girl(806)” and “my skylark(828)”. He nicknames her after very small and insignificant animals in such a way that belittles her existence. He also recognizes her as his possession which is indicated by his actions of calling her “my” this, that or the other. In doing this, he exemplifies; perhaps in an exaggerated manner, the status of Victorian women at this time. By almost overusing these derogatory terms throughout the play, Ibsen again identifies an error in the Victorian society.

Another significant indicator of the representation of women’s rights is that the action of the play mainly takes place in Torvald’s drawing room. Right away, the idea of it being his drawing room stands out. This small detail represents how he deals with Nora. She stays confined to the room in the play because she is sort of like his little craft and he makes her to be the way he desires her. This provides a new perspective of the “Doll House” by creating more imagery to emphasize the value of Nora’s existence. It also is a representation of how she is kind of trapped in her marriage as well as trapped in the society in which she lives. Nora was raised under similar circumstances. The ones she currently resides in are familiar to her but she does not recognize the corruption in them until the end of the play. The idea of her being trapped in a room that belongs to Helmer and the fact that it is her home which she is comfortable with shows her ignorance yet again, but also shows how her being brought up to be...
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