A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen Essay

“If I’m ever to reach any understanding of myself and the things around me, I must learn to stand alone. That’s why I can’t stay here with you any longer.” -Nora Helmer, Act 3. A Doll’s House.

Nora Helmer is the main character in the play “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen. This play takes place around the 1870’s in Christmas time. Nora and her husband Torvald Helmer appear to be the average and ideal marriage of the 19th century, a middle class with three children; everything seems to be perfect until the character of Nora Helmer changes completely. In the play “A Doll’s House” a modern drama by Henrik Ibsen, he uses the character of Nora Helmer to demonstrate the role of women, the gender stereotypes and the dependency on their spouses in the last century.

The role of women in “A Doll’s House” plays an important part, Nora is the main character and in the beginning of this play she seems to be an average wife and mother of three children, her only responsibility is to be there and take care of her children and husband. Torvald Helmer, Nora’s husband, is always treating her like a child and innocent always calling her names and basically treating her like a doll. She is more likely to be an “obedient trophy-wife. They had an unhealthy marriage, Nora is just living along with Torvald’s rules, and mainly she is following the social norms. Torvald believes that he is superior to her. Nora acting like a child is making her look innocent and naïve, with a little personality of her own. Basically, that is how women were treated back in the last century.

“Well, we will share it, Nora, as man and wife should. That is how it shall be.” Helmer, act 2. In this quote, Torvald is being ironic; it does not make sense that he is implying how …

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…wants to be independent, and she does not want to be under the authority of her husband.

“I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are…But I can no longer content myself with what most people say…” Nora Helmer; act 3.

Men are most likely to be strong and powerful, while women are supposed to be weak and petty. But in this play, Nora who has been the weak and childlike; becomes the strong because she realizes that she is an independent woman, who has the right to stand out for herself. She wants to be free from being controlled and she does not want to live that way anymore. In a doll’s house. Henrik Ibsen through the use of the character of Nora Helmer to demonstrate the role of women, the gender stereotypes and the dependency on their spouses, also breaking the status quo by making Nora Helmer the stronger character in the play.

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