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A Doll House
Social Issues in A Doll House In the play A Doll House written by Henrick Isben several social issues were revealed. Considering the time period, women had little to no rights at all. They were basically expected to have no voice, and to just keep a happy home. The main social issues that are portrayed in the play mostly stem from a high level of disrespect for women that are presented in several different ways. When Nora opens up about her secret to Mrs. Linde, she expresses to her, “I’ve got something to be proud of and happy for. I’m the one who saved Torvald’s life” (Isben 1716). Who wouldn’t want to have the opportunity to save their significant others life? Nora honestly felt like she had done the right thing for the man that she loved, even if it did mean having to go behind his back. When Nora is asked if Torvald knows she replies, “For heaven’s sake, no! Are you serious? He’s so strict on that subject” (Isben 1717). Nora explains that it would break up her happy beautiful home. This is a great example of the disrespect that Torvald shows Nora. She never felt comfortable telling him something so big, because she knew he would react horribly. Nora continues on and tells Mrs. Linde that she maybe could tell Torvald, “years from now, when I’m no longer attractive” (Isben 1717). This statement from Nora confirms that she really has no place in her marriage to say anything. The fact that she honestly believes that she should wait until Torvald isn’t as in love with her as he is now is ridiculous. No women should have to be so belittled to the fact that they are afraid to be honest. A woman being treated differently was not at all uncommon during this time. Men were superior to women, and everyone was aware of that. A woman needed to know her place, and having a voice was not in that description. This was something that Krogstad used against Nora. He reminds her that he is in complete control of her fate as far as her secret goes, no matter what she wanted him to do they were going to do things his way. Nora declares “But for heaven’s sake, Mr. Krogstad, it’s simply not in my power to help you” (Isben 1724). Krogstad takes advantage of the fact that Nora will simply have to go along with whatever plan he comes up with, or he will blow her cover. Krogstad goes on to admit, “That’s because you haven’t the will- but I have the means to make you” (Isben 1724). Krogstad knew that Nora would never be able to go against his word, because he could ruin her reputation. Krogstad goes on to continue blackmailing her by insisting that, “If I get shoved down a second time, you’re going to keep me company” (Isben 1726). Krogstad using this level of disrespect to get what he wants from Nora is wrong in some many ways. Nora was treated with disrespect, and not being able to stand up for herself made things worse for her. The disrespect continues, and not only from Krogstad but her own husband. When Torvald finds out the secret Nora has been hiding he lashes out at her. Torvald declares, “In all of the eight years she who was my pride and joy-a hypocrite, a liar-worse and worse a criminal. How infinitely disgusting it all is. The shame!” (Isben 1751). While I understand Torvalds frustrations, a man should never speak to his wife, the mother of his children that way. According to Torvald, “Now you’ve wrecked all my happiness-ruined my whole future” (Isben 1751). These are extremely bold statements to make, and very disrespectful. Nora got it right when she admitted to Torvald, “I went from Papas hands into yours” (Isben 1754). Nora knew that she had been treated with disrespect her whole life. Being expected to do exactly what any man, specifically her father, and her husband told her to do. She knew no differently. It was in that moment that she realized she had has as much right as any man, and she was going to try to become her own person. Disrespect, blackmail, and threatening these were all things that Nora experienced in A Doll House. These behaviors were very commonly used towards women especially during this particular time period. Women had no place, society made them believe that they belonged at home with the children. Sadly all of these behaviors are still present today. Obviously they are not as prevalent as they used to be, because women’s rights have come a very long way. Women have always deserved to be equal to men, and now that is much more acceptable. If Nora was living in the present day her situation would have been very different.