Intro to Literary Studies
2 April 2013
A Doll House Essay
A large deal of controversy has arisen about the play A Doll House, written by Henrik Ibsen. The controversy argues whether Ibsen’s play is feminist or not. In the play, we are introduced to a woman named Nora, who shows nothing but selfless love to her husband, Torvald Helmer, a highly respected banker. Many people argue that the play does not reflect notions of feminism, but on the contrary, many people, such as Joan Templeton, argue that this play does in fact, does contain indications of feminism. This argument can go back and forth, but with the evidence provided by Templeton and many situations in the play itself, it is easily understood that this play represents cases of feminism.
Joan Templeton composed an essay titled The Doll House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen. Easily understood by the title, the essay focuses on the biggest controversy, feminism. Nora, who is constantly performing acts of selflessness to her husband, Torvald, is mistreated throughout the play because she is not seen as equal. Nora is also mistreated by her father in the early stages of her life. She is looked upon as a pet for his own pleasure and doesn’t see her as a normal human being. “When you've sold yourself once for the sake of others, you don't do it a second time,” (Ibsen Act 3, 210) says Nora. She is looked down upon by Torvald and her father. This is where the metaphor of her being looked at as a toy or “doll,” throughout her life. The arguments trying to nullify Templeton’s argument was that the play was written to be a comedy. Apparently the “door slamming at the end is meant to bring laughs at her childish behavior,” says Templeton. An issue of this importance cannot be played off as a joke. Feminism was a controversial topic to begin with and joking around about it would not make sense at all.
The metaphor dollhouse can be pieced together by...
Cited: Charters, Ann, and Samuel Barclay. Charters. "Plays and Playwrights." Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, n.d. 1347-1406. Print.
Templeton, Joan. "The Doll House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen." Vol. 104. N.p.: Modern Language Association, n.d. 28-40. Print.
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