A Doll House: Irreconcilable Views of Men and Women

Topics: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Woman Pages: 7 (2713 words) Published: July 4, 2006
A Doll House: Irreconcilable Views of Men and Women
Throughout history, men and women's roles in society have created them to have irreconcilable views with each other. Their opposing opinions are based on different outlooks regarding various aspects of their lives. The way a person views themselves depends on their culture and the time period and which they live in. One issue that causes clashing of ideas between men and woman is their responsibility to their family. An individual's duties to their society and family play an important part in generating conflicting thoughts among the two genders. Honor and respect are other key factors that affect a person's point of views on an assortment of topics and subject matters. Also, divergence in moral judgments is an element of transforming petty disagreements into incompatible living situations. In the play "A Doll House", written by Henrik Ibsen, the idea that men and woman have irreconcilable views of self, family, duty, honor and morality is illustrated through the characters' personalities, personal hardships, and relationships with one another.

In the past, a woman's position in society was limited compared to that of a man. Women were considered property of men and they had no say in any important matters concerning family and other issues. In her article "Woman in the Nineteenth as Seen through History and Literature", Mary Ann Mason Burki states "In the nineteenth century […] a married women had almost no legal rights to her own property or to her wages if she worked" (197). Since the world used to always be considered male dominated, women had a lot fewer freedoms and rights then men. The holy matrimony was the biggest and most significant accomplishment that a woman could dream for, because without a husband by her side she would be deemed unfit and would bring shame to her family. The husband would be in control of everything in her life, and he would own all her worldly possessions. Even the children that she conceived were considered property of her husband. In the 19th century, men still had an unfair advantage over women in many areas of life. The playwright, Henrik Ibsen, commented on the topic on hand by stating, "A woman cannot be herself in contemporary society, it is an exclusively male society with laws drafted by men, and with counsel and judges who judge feminine conduct from the male point of view" (qtd. in Ferguson 230). Ibsen's statement held true for the age in which he lived. Men ruled and governed most of the humanity throughout the world, including the civilizations in Western Europe during the Victorian epoch.

Ibsen's tragicomedy, "A Doll House", is about a middle class family in the late 1800's. The drama depicts many situations characteristic of what someone in those times may have experienced in real life. The range of circumstances discussed throughout the play portrays the dire and dismal predicaments of women during that era. The females in his theatrical production were trapped in diverse quandaries, and they were forced to make vital and strategic decisions in order to persist with their lives. The choices that they were compelled to undertake could never have been understood by their male counterparts because the men had no clue what the life of a woman was like. The men believed that women's lives were filled with trivial and frivolous events. They could not appreciate the weight and value of some of the things that their women would do for them, nor could they truly comprehend the sacrifices that had been made on their behalf.

There is no doubt that how one perceives oneself to be is unlike the slant that others have on identifying them. The specific culture that one is brought up in or resides within has an influence on the way they classify and recognize themselves and others. In the past, a woman was brought up to believe that she should do anything in her power and forgo any pleasure of her...

Cited: Ferguson, Robert. Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography. London: Cohen, 1996.
Gray, Ronald
Law, Jack Ridl, and Peter Schakel. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2004. 885-943.
Mason Burki, Mary Ann
Literature." The History Teacher 8, 2 (1975): 193-198. J-Stor. Brooklyn College
Meyer, Michael. Ibsen. Garden City: Doubleday, 1971.
Templeton, Joan
104, 1 (1989): 28-40. J-Stor. Brooklyn College Library. Brooklyn, NY. 28 Apr. 2006
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