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A Doll's House

Ibsen's A Doll's House is a play that seeks to define a woman's right as a matter of importance. Ibsen thoroughly acknowledges the fact that in the 19th century life the role of the woman was to stay at home, raise the children, and attend to her husband, but also creates in Nora a heroine with a strong sense of self-importance. A Doll's House portrays Nora as both heroine and victim; we see her overcome the victimization of patriarchal oppression, and work to discover her own identity. Nora is truly a Naturalist reflection of the society of Ibsen's time, and he writes her escape not only for Nora herself, but for all women.

Nora is oppressed by a variety of social tensions that surrounds her, subjugating her to an inferior status. In A Doll House, Ibsen depicts the role of a woman as being subordinate in order to emphasize their role in society. The manipulation of Torvald to Nora is a prime example of common relationships of that era. Torvald's job as a banker leaves him many responsibilities. "Though the basis for Nora and Torvald's relationship appeared to be centered around love the needed balance was not obtained"(Safford). Torvald never gave his relationship a chance by the way he treated his wife he supposedly loved. He often treats his wife as one of these responsibilities as well. Torvald's main priority is to his job and reputation, and cares less about his wife's feelings. Torvald's job priority being over his wife's feelings is apparent when he says, "If the rumor got about that the new manager had allowed his wife to persuade him to change his mind-"(Ibsen 429). Nora and Torvald's relationship appears happy, but on in reality she is treated as a child and realizes that her marriage is a phony. To Torvald, Nora is only a possession. This is apparent when he refers to her early in act 1 as, "my little squirrel", "my little lark", "my little song bird", and "little woman."


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A Doll's House. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:34, November 29, 2021, from