In have much freedom. According to society and

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In A Doll’s House the writer Henrik Ibsen portrays women’s rights and their roles in society. The author portrays these concepts throughout the play. Nora Helmer, the protagonist in the story, represents the typical women in society. The first impression that we get of Nora is that she is childish, naive, obsessed and subservient to her husband Torvald Helmer. However, as the play progresses we see Nora being nothing but the antithesis of the stereotypical trophy wife. This is especially exemplified when she goes outside of the societal norms by keeping secrets from her husband. In addition, she is also a compulsive liar. The character of Torvald, Nora’s’ husband, is illustrated as a stereotypical man during the 19th century who is the dominant breadwinner of the family. Torvald embraces the belief that a man’s role in marriage is to protect and guide his wife. He often tries to reassure his wife’s role in the household and acts as though he is her savior.  The key theme in A Doll’s House is the gender roles and the contrasting differences in the roles that both men and women had to play. It portrays the obstacles that women encountered during the 19th century and how it affected their relationships with their husbands, as well as in society. These ideas are formed in society within the play because it does allow women to have much freedom. According to society and culture, a woman’s role is determined by the men that are in her life. This would include their husbands and fathers. Furthermore, in this play, Ibsen portrays the role of women during the 19th century and how it reflects in the society. In the beginning of the play, Torvald calls Nora names such as “squirrel” or “lark” which diminishes Nora as a woman(Ibsen 137). Nora never denies him because it is all part of the prevailing societal norms.Women had to listen to their husbands even at the expense of their own dignity. In addition, Nora, as a woman,  displays a sacrificial role in her family and marriage. She has to sacrifice her dignity in order to sneak around her husband’s back in order to obtain a loan to pay for his medical needs to save his life. Nora works hard without telling her husband about the loan, so that she can be able to pay it off. Due to Torvald’s belief that the man is the provider of the family, he could not accept the idea of his wife saving his life because it is illegal for a woman to acquire a loan without her husband or father and it goes against the societal norms which Torvald believes they are governed by. This further showcases that a woman’s role in society and the marriage, is far less dominant than the man’s role. Women could not own businesses, or control their own money because many women were not educated and were not allowed to attain or pursue an education. This further proves that the role of women in society was to be subservient to their male counterparts by giving up their fundamental rights to own property and attain an education. Anna was Nora’s childhood nurse who later on becomes the Ivar, Emmy, and Bob’s nurse. The nurse takes on the role of a caretaker and does everything that Nora cannot for the children. She is the polar opposite of Nora. In order to survive in this male dominated society, she had to sacrifice her child as she says “I had to”(Ibsen 166).  Anna was the only mother figure that Nora had as a child and throughout her upbringing. The nurse accepts the role that society places upon her, which later in turn costs her her daughter’s life. One way in which we discover that Nora and Anna are similar is when Nora assumes her societal role but to a certain extent. For instance, when Torvald explains to Nora that having an untrustworthy mother is very poisonous to the children. It became easy for her to accept the truth and decide to leave her children. Much like Anna accepts her position in society, Nora allows Torvald to choose her role in her life. This shows the prevailing subservient behavior that was easily manipulated by males in society. Christina Linden is another female character introduced early on in the play. She’s  essentially an old friend of Nora who is in town looking for work. Mrs. Linden is a widow, her husband passed away leaving her jobless. Ibsen uses this character to demonstrate that women can take the role of men. After Mrs. Linden is widowed, she took care of her “bedridden and helpless” mother and her brothers(Ibsen 145). She is a very loyal friend to Nora as we see when she helps Nora hide the secret of owing Krogstad money that she loaned. One thing that surprised her about her friend was she thinks like everyone else; no one takes Nora seriously, treating her like a child and no one tends to treat her as an individual. Mrs. Linden helps Nora in numerous ways throughout the play. Mrs. Linden is the one person that Nora vouchsafe her secret loan with Krogstad and later him threatening to ruin her marriage by revealing what she has done to her husband. She tries to talk to Krogstad to help her friend by telling him to let the Helmers work things out without him interfering. By doing so, she is helping her friend and after this it helps Nora realize that she lives in a world created Torvald’s. Nora realized she has been been suppressed her entire life and has let men control. Ibsen gave women a voice through the play when Nora gets a realization that she needs to leave the situation.  The decision to leave her children and Torvald is not an acceptance of what society forces upon her. The only daughter of Nora and Torvald Emmy, is not a prominent character as the other. The children are seen as symbols of Nora’s life and what defines her. She plays with the children, buys them gifts which symbolizes that in this stage of her life, she is defined by her children. Like every other woman in the 19th century, their family and children are the main focus in their life. Their lives were defined by the homes they kept and taking care of their family. A Doll’s House illustrates Ibsen’s views on a variety of different topics and the role of inferiority. He represents his thought through his work about the different roles of women in the society of women during the 19th century and how it reflects upon society. Women are regarded as a property of their husbands and act subservient in accordance with their duties in the house. As we see with Nora and Torvald throughout the drama.The greatest defining roles for women in society are merely as helpers and caretakers to their male counterparts.

Categories: Marriage


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