The Importance of Overcoming Society’s Inequalities
Gender-specific stereotypes have a long-standing history in the tradition of literature. Few people have the courage and perseverance to confront these stereotypes in the quest for gender equality. These gender roles and stereotypes were extremely prevalent in the 19th century Victorian society. In this time period, the woman’s role was to tend to the domestic matters of the home and to ensure that the children were well taken care of, while the men controlled the finances. The strict division of gender throughout the play, Doll’s House, is immediately illustrated through the set. Certain areas of the home are restricted for men only, such as Torvald’s office, and Nora’s space - the kitchen. In Ibsen’s Doll House, the main character, Nora, subverts conventional female roles and challenges the essentialist viewpoint of the 19th century Victorian society as shown through a close analysis of her character development.
Nora subverts traditional gender roles and defies female stereotypes by performing male roles throughout the text. When Torvald becomes very ill, the pair travels to Italy to ensure his recovery. Despite what her husband and society thinks, it is Nora who provides the financial means for the trip, through working and obtaining a loan behind her husband’s back. The audience becomes aware of this while Nora is secretly talking to her old friend Mrs. Linde. Mrs. Linde mentions to Nora, “No, a wife cannot borrow without her husband’s consent” (Ibsen 12). Nora replies, “Oh it is if a wife who has any head for business- a wife who has the wit to be a little bit clever” (Ibsen 12). This quotation is a clear representation of the male authority over women in this patriarchal society. Nora’s defiance of society’s law opposes the female stereotype of “the mindless beauty.” Nora is using logic and intelligence, traits that the men in this essentialist society do not associate with women....
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