Gender Roles in Literature

Throughout the history of literature, gender has played a significant role in how the characters were portrayed. The female gender is commonly depicted as being the weaker character while the male gender stronger. The male gender is often considered to be more rational thinking and women being more irrational. Ibsen uses these stereotypical gender traits throughout his play “”A Doll’s House,”” but then he later reverses the stereotypes towards the end of the play to display that inner strength and weaknesses are characteristics of being human and are not based on being male or female.

Ibsen’s play “”A Doll’s House,”” is written to focus on the gender roles most commonly displayed during the Victorian society. During the Victorian period males were always the ones that went to work, handle all the business matters and where considered to be the head of the household leaving their wives to care of the household chores and tend the children. During this time only unmarried women were allowed to hold jobs. Ibsen’s characters Helmer and Nora were a perfect example of how a married couple lived during the Victorian era. Torvald was a bank manager and managed all the money and he often commanded Nora on what to do and when to do it. Nora, being the traditional wife during this time was only allowed to stay at home and tend to the household duties and raise their children.

Torvald asserted his dominance over Nora early in the play in several different ways. He often refers to Nora as a pet by calling her animals such as “”lark”” and squirrel.”” Torvald says, “”Come, come; my little skylark must not droop her wings. What is this! Is my little squirrel out of temper? (Taking out his purse.) Nora, what do you think I have got here?”” (Gardner 2017). Torvald show his control over Nora when he “”takes her by the ear,”” this act represents his physical, emotional and financial control over her, in return Nora quietly accepts the nicknames he’s given her and that displayed her feminine weakness.

Nora’s character encountered several problems throughout Ibsen’s play, just because she was a female during the Victorian period. When Torvald became ill, the doctor informed them that for him to get better, it would be best for them to move south, however, for them to make the move they would have to scrounge up the funds of two-hundred and fifty pounds. Because they did not have the money to make the trip, they would either have to take out a loan from the bank or hope that Torvald overcame his sickness. During the Victorian period then men were in charge of the household finances and because of this Torvald felt that if they were to take out a loan from the bank that his reputation would be defaced. Nora knew that they were in desperate need of the money and chose to take matters into her own hands and take out a loan without Torvald’s knowledge and forged her father’s signature on the paperwork. Because Nora is unable to apply for the loan herself this causes her to be the weaker person in her marriage to Torvald. By not being able to sign for a loan during this time often lead women to believe that they inadequate because they were female. During this time frame society deemed that women were mentally and emotionally unstable and it often resulted in impulsive behavior.

Victorian society values strong male traits such as those of strength, stability, and logic. Torvald’s character in A Doll’s House is an example of a secure, stable and rational male. He is in charge of his home, family and over all of the family finances. His masculinity is displayed in his marriage when he constantly refers to his wife, Nora by using pet names, which in returns weakens her character image. This type of behavior from Torvald makes it’s clear that he will never incorporate Nora’s or her opinion with any situation that is of great importance, such as the finances and he doesn’t allow her to hold any responsibility other than being a housewife and his pet. This behavior between a husband and a wife was typical during this period. Torvald is the money maker, he is employed at a rather large bank and makes a decent salary. He tells his wife “”It’s so gratifying to know that one’s gotten a safe, secure job, and with a comfortable salary.”” He’s apparently satisfied with his self-image and his reputation, how he appears to everyone else is important to him that’s why he didn’t want to take out the loan. He’s also so caught up in his reputation that he disapproved of Krogstad working at the bank because his character is a widower with small children and Torvald thinks he is incapable of raising children to own his own.

Once the Ibsen established Torvald and Nora’s stereotypical gender personality traits in the play, he decides to reverse them. He displays that strength, weakness, stability, impulsivity, and logic are all human traits not necessarily traits associated with gender roles. Ibsen shows that these traits are held and displayed equally by both genders and that neither gender has more of one quality than the other. Nora finally realizes that her gender is her downfall and is the reason she is unable to have the fulfilling life she desires. “”Nora’s claim that she is ‘first and foremost a human being’ (Moi, T. 2006, p.274) She attempts to discuss her feelings about their marriage with Torvald You don’t understand me. And I’ve never understood you either-until tonight.We’ve been married now eight years. Doesn’t it occur to you that this is the first time, we two, you and I, man and wife, have ever talked seriously together?’ (Isben) Nora, unlike her stereotypical emotionally unstable female character remains calm when she tells him I’m a human being, no less than you-or anyway, I ought to try to come one (Isben) Her comments to her husband demonstrations that she considers her duties as his wife and mother to their children to be her human responsibilities, not responsibilities that should be defined to her just because she is a woman.

In “”A Doll’s House,”” Ibsen keeps the setting close to the real-life situations that married couples encountered during the Victorian period. The play depicts the struggle of women encountered to obtain their independence aside from their husbands. Ibsen’s teaches the audiences that individuals must be able to view themselves as human beings and be capable of taking care of themselves despite what society deems proper for them at the time. “”A Doll’s House”” is Ibsen’s effort for a social revolution not only for women but also for every human. He displays that masculinity is lost as the female gender desires to become more independent. However, the power struggle between the two genders will continue he notes in the play that it is perfectly acceptable for men to share their power with women.

Doll House: Insight Into Plight Of Women

Henrik Isben has become an essential individual within the social dimensions and understanding the plight of women. Accordingly, the significant achievement in portraying women within the social aspect has been both unique and unusual through developing a different perspective about women. As such, the undeniable impact of the individual has been through the emphasis on creating drama on the evaluation of the rights of women.

In a male-centric society, the play “A Doll House” presents a distinctive oversight about the womenr’s position. Accordingly, the theme circumventing the rights of a woman is extensively prevalent. Women have to undertake a passive role in accepting their situation and focusing on individuality in accomplishing individual rights within society. Indeed, within the patriarchal society, the evident control that men asset on women is outright both in the 19th and 21st century. Accordingly, the evaluation of womenr’s right as a prevalent theme is evident is divisionary and produces diverse perspectives.

The underlying social problem within Ibsenr’s drama is the investigation into the rights of women across the patriarchal society. Accordingly, the focus on the tragedy in which the main character leaves her house with the ambition to make it in the world of possibilities is evident (Hill, 2010, 4). Nora takes off to undertake the personal responsibilities. The form of personal responsibility to empower oneself is prevalent throughout the story. As such, Nora vehemently states that which duties do you mean? Nora: my duties towards myself (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 424). Majority of the pundits such as Ghafourinia & Amili, (2014, 425), emphasize that the rights of a woman within the society are at the center of the character development process. As opposed to living in an illusion with the man of her dreams, the main character focuses on making the necessary changes to create a transformative outcome.

As well, the men in Nora’s life assert their control based on the belief that it is the man’s role to declare both power and order in the daily interactive process. As a clear example, Helmer emphasizes the need to enhance reputation through making the necessary sacrifices for his life (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 425). The patriarchal society revolves the notion that the man should assert control over the woman. Nonetheless, Norar’s form of win is through the idea of self-development that entails becoming a woman in her own right. A society that treats her as a nullity is of concern and change should prevail. Accordingly, in a life of nullity whereby women are not appreciated for their role, Nora is willing to leave her family, marriage life and discard her full life to enjoy individuality.

The dramatic play shows that the audiences come to terms with the rigidity in morality of Helmer, Norar’s husband in accepting the rights of women that is evident. The societal perception of men surrounds the concept that a woman cannot make significant progress without the involvement of men. As such, the man has to assert control in the operations of a woman and sacrifice is at the core of personal maturity at the social setting. Nonetheless, Nora exudes significant internal conflicts (Hill, 2010, 4). Accordingly, making the necessary sacrifices for her is evident to ensure a fulfilling life proceeds. The assertion that we have never sat down together to get anything done” portrays a clear picture on the non-existent conversation between men and women (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 425). The assertion that is outright in the monologue portrays that the treatment of women is negative. As such, women are described as second-hand creatures and the undisputed evident rights are considerably ignored. Accordingly, the serious discussion about the role of men and women coupled with the rights of women circumvents elements of modern drama in such a divisive patriarchal society.

Due to numerous reasons, Nora opts not to stay in the Doll House any longer. The need to continue with her emotional heartache and sacrifices are too much for the main character. Accordingly, the unwillingness to submit to her husband and face the consequences is an ongoing element in the quest for self-empowerment (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 425). Consequently, the change in personal behavior through deciding to stop her submissive role in the society comprises of an unthinkable action for the middle-class woman during her time. As well, the notion that few women had taken such a drastic action during her time is an element of social drama that is relevant and influential to date.

Across the present environment, the social drama by Henrik reflects the ongoing quest of appreciation of the role women play within the social dimension. Appreciating their rights is at the core of the drama (Isben, 2009, 1). Of significance is the ongoing feminist movement that has been fueled by such works of art that present the need for continued appreciation of women within the social dimension. Accordingly, the evaluation of the gender politics, sexuality and power relations are some of the issues that the drama exudes relevance to the present environment. Consequently, the increasing problems of equal pay, discrimination and reproductive rights as issues within the 21st century can be related to the period of the drama.

The ongoing theme of the rights of women portrayed in the play is of significance to the empowerment trend that is critical towards the appreciation of women. Throughout the drama, the ongoing need to appreciate the positive impact of women should be integral for men and the development process (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 425). The drama should be the starting point to generate insight into the feminist movement. Inclusive of the fight for the rights of women is the grassroots that shape the quest for womenr’s role within the society. In a culturally specific society, addressing the underlying gender issues should be at the core of personal movement process. The detailed projection of the ongoing female oppression couple with the additional increase in drama is self-moving for women in their cry for a change in the society. As such the experience of the women across society is an illustration of the conventional society that is prevalent in the contemporary setting. The need to seek freedom and continued self-empowerment is an issue of concern that is highlighted by the play that resonates to date.


Doll House presents a unique insight into the plight of women. Within a society that is based on patriarchal views, women such as Nora have to resort to distinctive approaches to assert their position. The right of a woman to establish her position is evident and necessary for personal development. As well, the move by the main character to disregard her family and create independence is apparent. Accordingly, through her movement within the play, the prospect of empowering women in a masculine society resonates to date. Consequently, the outcome of the play is an enabling aspect for women that can be adapted to date.

Role Of Society In Doll’s House


  • 1 Thesis statement
  • 2 Abstract

Thesis statement

Society is so stratified that it has marginalized women and confined them in roles that denies them their identity and agency and given men autonomy over women.


This paper attempts to throw light on the structure of society in the form of marriage and its expectations of it, using Henrik Ibsenr’s A Doll’s House. The role of women and their rights, the position of women in male domineering society and the struggle to be independent and to find oner’s self. Ill also talk about how the society strips women of their identity and confers to them a new one which they must leave up to. The sharply defined gender roles that entangles both men and women. Ibsenr’s emphasis and examination of stereotypical roles of men and women in the nineteenth century and how much things have changed if they have.

The play “A Doll’s House” is a three-act play written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879 in Norway, Europe. The play is important for its critical perspectives toward nineteenth century marriage norms. In “A Doll’s House”, Ibsen paints a bleak picture of the sacrificial roles held by women of all classes in his society. He is known as the father of the new genre in drama realism. Ibsen really portrayed what life is it like especially for women living in a patriarchal society.

Its standard classification of gender roles and expectations it holds for a woman as a wife and a mother and as well as that of a man as a husband. The play lights up many flaws in the society in its structure and the expectation it has for individuals in relationships. There are many central themes in the play for discussion some of which are relevant to discuss in this paper are marriage, identity, infantilism, gender, rebellion etc.

Torvald and Nora are a couple with three children and their family fits the structure of a perfect middle-class family in their time. But this family picture of theirs became shattered when Krogstad in a letter revealed Norar’s secret to her husband who reacts to it in a way that awakened the other side of Nora that has never been nurtured. She realizes the life of illusion and decides to leave her husband and children to go and construct her identity. Nora forged a signature to borrow money from Krogstad to save her husbandr’s life. When Krogstad found out he was going to lose his job to Mrs. Linde, a friend of Norar’s, he used the bond to blackmail Nora to persuade Torvald to let him keep his job in the bank. In a sweet not too sweet ending, Helmerr’s relationship was broken but Krogstad and Mrs. Linde on the other hand rekindled a romantic relationship they had had in the past.

How Corrupt A Society Can Become

While a typical society is displayed and is seen as good for almost all the characters presented, moral corruption is a common problem throughout the play. A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen, displays a middle-class family with high stature is seen being torn down by other characterr’s motives to help their own situation. Throughout the play, the theme of moral corruption is displayed through Norar’s attempt to flirt with Dr.

Rank to get a favor, Dr. Rankr’s attempts to confess his love to Nora and take his friend’s wife, Krogstadr’s use of blackmail against Nora, Torvaldr’s image of the poor and willing to fire people based off of their class, and Mrs. Linder’s way of swaying Krogstad to stop blackmailing Nora.

At the beginning of the play, an old decision of Norar’s comes back to haunt her when a coworker of Torvald presents himself as the man who lent her a loan when Torvald was ill. The loaner named Krogstad decides to blackmail to keep his job because Nora forged her fatherr’s signature to send Torvald to Italy. After failing to convince Torvald to not fire Krogstad and after Dr. Rank confesses his love for Nora when she wants to ask him a favor, Torvald finds out about the contract. Torvald is furious with Nora but, Mrs. Linde agrees to be with Krogstad as long as he forgives the blackmailing and sends the contract to Torvald. After Torvald rips up the contract and tries to act as nothing happened again, Nora decides that she can no longer be with Torvald as he had been treating her like a doll and they have never been in love. After Torvald pleads in many ways in which they can live together, she decides to leave him and the kids and go out into the world on her own. Behind every personr’s actions throughout the play is corruption to get what they want and the corruption is thoroughly displayed.

Moral corruption is a constant theme throughout the scene with Nora and Dr. Rank. One of the first ways a character displays moral corruption is through Nora flirting with Dr. Rank. Nora hopes that she can receive a favor from Dr. Rank, one of Torvaldr’s coworkers and superiors, to keep Krogstad at the bank so he wont tell Torvald about her forgery. Her talking to him leads to them flirting with one another and Nora hopes to use this to get a favor. Nora says, Just look at these! Flesh colored. Arent they lovely? It is so dark here now, but tomorrow— No, no, no! You must only look at the feet. Oh well, you may have leave to look at the legs too. (39). Nora flashes corruption by showing off her stocking, something which was very untraditional of her to do to her husbandr’s friend in the time period, so she can eventually ask him for the favor she so desperately needs. Soon after this talk, Dr. Rank shows corruption through the confession of his love for Nora, his best friends wife. Right as Nora is about to ask the request Dr. Rank states, I was determined you should know it before I went away, and there will never be a better opportunity than this. Now you know it, Nora. And now you know, too, that you could trust me as you could trust no one else. (40). Dr. rank displays his corruption through the display of his love for Nora and showing that she should trust him more than her husband. Nora soon takes away the favor she wished to ask and sends him home after both of them have displayed their motives for what they want. While not only this scene shows how Nora and Torvald are corrupt, Krogstad, Torvald, and Mrs. Linde all show examples of their true moral corruption.

During the play, all characters show signs of willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. One prime example and the main one in the play is Krogstadr’s use of blackmail to keep his job. He goes to Nora at the beginning of the play and tries to get her to convince Torvald to keep him employed. Krogstad says, Listen to me, Mrs. Helmer. If necessary, I am prepared to fight for my small post at the bank as if I were fighting for my life. (21) Krogstad does anything no matter whether it is morally right or wrong to keep his job such as using blackmail on Nora. Torvald also displays his corruption through his reasoning for firing Krogstad. While Torvald even admits he could maybe overlook his moral failings and that he even knows he is a hard worker, he believes he cant have him at the bank due to his informal tone with Torvald at the office. (35) Torvaldr’s ridiculous reasoning for firing Torvald stems to him wanting to have a better experience work exemplifies his corruption even though he can forgive the corruption of Krogstad.

Lastly, Mrs. Linde shows her corruptness, while in good intention, to be with Krogstad to remove the burden from Nora. Mrs. Linde agrees to live with Krogstad as the two used to love together. However, once both of them agree to the terms of her staying, Mrs. Linde decides to send the letter later because she believes that Nora and Torvald need to be apart. Mrs. Linde explains, Helmer must know about it. This unhappy secret must be disclosed; they must have a complete understanding between them, which is impossible with all the concealment and falsehood going on. (54). Mrs. Linde originally goes against her original plan to get the letter stopped in time but shows her being immoral through letting the letter go because she believes that it is best they know. Her assumption that she knows best, while it does work out, shows that she went behind her friends back and shows Mrs. Linde’s own motives. Throughout the play, each character exemplifies the common theme of moral corruption through their actions.

While Henrik Ibsen draws the scene originally of this family living together in harmony, all the characters show their true colors of corruptness. Even though Krogstad’s use of blackmail is the most obvious showing of moral corruption, all of the characterr’s deep down will do whatever they view is best for themselves. Ibsen not only shows how corrupt a society can become, but he also displays an ending in which people can break away from all of that and start again.

A Dolls House Novel Summary

Married couple, Nora and Torvald Helmer seem to live a happy life. Although Torvald is demeaning in the way he talks to Nora, she seems unbothered by it and carries on her life as a house wife. The couple is overjoyed when Torvald, a banker, receives a promotion to manager.

While celebrating, Nora’s old friend Christine Linde arrives, a widow in need of a job. While discussing with Christine, Nora confesses her secret debt. Although Nora does not divulge where the money came from, she does tell Christine the reason why she needed it. Torvald’s new job provides Nora a sense of security because now money will not be a major concern for the family.

Krogstad arrives at the Helmer’s house to talk to Torvald. He works at the same bank as Torvald, but it seems as though Nora knows him as well. Christine also knew Krogstad in the past. Dr. Rank, a family friend dying of tuberculosis, expresses his own concerns about Krogstad and the peculiarity of the man. After Torvald and Krogstad have their meeting, Nora asks Torvald to consider giving Christine a job at the bank, he agrees.

Nora’s children then enter the scene. Having been with their caretaker all day, the children want to play games with Nora. After playtime, Krogstad returns to talk with Nora, fearful that he may lose his job. Here, the reader discovers that Nora’s benefactor was Krogstad as well as the fact that Nora forged her late father’s signature on the loan. Nora’s dishonesty begins to bother her and worries she will negatively affect her children. Nora’s fear leads her to consider leaving her children; she even asks a family maid to take care of her children if need be.
Nora begins to prepare for a tarantella that she and Torvald will be attending. Dr. Rank arrives and Nora flirts with him in hopes of getting money from him in order to pay back the loan.

Her plan is foiled when he confesses his love for her, because Nora cannot take money from a man knowing he loves her. Krogstad returns again, angry about being fired, and begins to blackmail Nora. Krogstad wants Torvald’s job and knows he can get it by exposing Nora, so he puts a letter explaining Nora’s debt and how she got it in Torvald’s mailbox. Nora begins to worry and turns to Christine for help. The women decide to try to distract Torvald and Christine will try to convince Krogstad to take back his letter.

While Nora and Torvald are at the tarantella Christine and Krogstad meet to talk about the letter. Here, the reader is made aware that Christine and Krogstad had a previous romantic relationship and plan to rekindle it. Krogstad plans on revoking the letter and not allowing Torvald to read it but Christine thinks it is best for Torvald to know the truth. Shortly after Torvald and Nora return from the party, Dr. Rank interrupts Torvald flirting with Nora to say goodnight. Then Torvald moves over to the mailbox and sees that Dr. Rank had left a letter with a black cross on it, stating that he will die soon. Torvald also sees a letter from Krogstad that Nora tells him to read right away.

Torvald is extremely upset after reading the letter and is disgusted with Nora. Nora is struggling and plans on killing herself because she cannot handle the pain and anger. Torvald is so upset and disgusted with Nora that, going forward, he wants nothing more than a brother and sister relationship between them and wants her kept away from their children. Then, Torvald is delivered another letter in which Nora’s bank contract is returned. Torvald is elated and tries to make Nora forget the harsh things he said to her; he wants to live together happily, as husband and wife. Nora is hurt and upset and wants to have a deep conversation with Torvald.

Nora expresses how she feels and that Torvald treats her as a doll. Torvald is not very accepting of this conversation which leads Nora to decide to leave her house and family. She gathers her things, leaves her children, and walks out of her house, slamming the door behind her.

Role Of Women In The Doll’s House

A doll’s House by Ibsen reveals the underlying role of women during the time and the problems that arise from imbalance of power among men and women. Throughout the story, the main character Nora was treated like a child by her husband Torvald who has a habit of addressing Nora by her pet names which implies his personal convictions about her petite size and helpless condition. Norar’s way of thinking and her outlook on life as a mother and wife are both entirely led by her husbandr’s power over her.

In the play, women were expected to be well-behaved and obedient to their husbands at all times, and men were expected to act manly and not to demonstrate traits that would normally be considered feminine. Nora feels the societal pressure to act a certain way and when their relationships starts to face difficulties, their roles and expectations start to become challenged. Therefore, Nora protested against social expectations as a mother, first by breaking the rule of marriage drawback, and later by forming a step to leave her husband and three children in order to educate herself and value herself independence.

In the case of Nora, due to the unfairly male dominated society, not only is she in a position to be a provider for her children, but also due to the demeaning attitudes of her father and husband she has remained in a state of arrested development her whole life. Although both characters have three children, they do not share the same attitude or feelings toward each other. The way Torvalds treats Nora shows his selfish intentions. Norar’s powerlessness was attractive to Torvald because he feel pleasure just by making her follow his commands at the expense of her dignity. He had to be in control especially when Nora is clueless about some fundamental maler’s ability to deal properly with financial matters. Nora expected Torvald to take the blame for her mistake while he also makes it clear that his reputation is more significant than his love for her or his children when he mentioned, no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves (Ibsen, 1192).

This also shows the drawbacks in their marriage and the consequences of not having open and trustful communications with each other. The play is not just a narrative but also about personal development and gendered patterns of power in patriarchal culture. According to the article Feminism, Theatre Criticism, and the Modern Drama written by DiCenzo who mentioned that, A mother in society is supposed to be serving her children and her husband to survive but in fact Nora was risking and sacrificing her life a lot more than him. In this story, Nora, Mrs. Linde, and the maid all hold sacrificial roles designated by the society they are in. Nora wears a mask, on the outside sher’s respectful to her husband but on the inside she lacks recognition and love that Torvald wasnt eager to give. Norar’s mask of the sacrificial housewife changed into one of a strong self-confident and independent women. Consequently, it presents how A Doll’s House moves away from the romantic genre to a presentation of an objective reality.

Torvald took advantage of Norar’s weakness and childish actions as he continues to demean women. In act three, he told Nora in a frustrated tone that, Youve destroyed all my happiness. Youve ruined my future, I have to sink to such depths of agony all because of a thoughtless women (Ibsen, 1183). He treated her as an irresponsible child that he has to discipline for doing something wrong instead of behaving like a husband disappointed in his wifer’s action. He continues talking to everyone during that time about the fact that women not being smart enough to do anything without a man. Nora was just sitting there and not putting any sort of fight because she believes the man has all the power in the house and Nora should just respect his choices. Moreover, he makes it clear that he does not appreciate much of womenr’s abilities. In fact, he doesnt care about how Norar’s action will impact her but only how it will impact him. According to the article The Doll House Backlash: Criticism, Feminism, and Ibsen by Templeton, Torvald lectured her on the matters of lying for less than three days. The article stated that both men and women share the same interests and that should be relevant in social determinations. It discussed the Norar’s need to find a solution and described how the confrontation between Nora and Torvald made her develop her own choices.

Norar’s decision to leave her husband represents the breaking of the foundation of social expectations for women. Nora took a position equal to that of her husband rather than staying in the marriage. Ibsen illustrated that men and women should be equal partners in marriage with equal authorities and freedom. For instance, Nora tells Torvald at the end, You arranged everything according to your own taste, and so I got the same tastes as you or pretended to (Ibsen, 1195). She was ready to leave with her suitcase, abandons her ring, which was a symbol of her role in the marriage. Nora decided, I must try to educate myself and I must do that by myself (Ibsen, 1193). She doesnt refer to herself as just a woman or a man but just as a regular human because she wanted equality, which is contrary to the gender imbalance of having different levels of power in that time period. Ibsen used Mrs. Linde character to challenge traditional differences of society, while Nora was restricted in isolated space. Nora was inspired by Mrs. Linde and Mrs. Linde was an example to show that earning her own money and being independent was no harm.

In conclusion, A Doll’s House challenges mistaken beliefs about womenr’s roles. Nora transformation from a doll, a possession whose goal was to make her husband feel pleasure, into a human being. Ibsen represents women as human beings with honors as well as faults. Nora is not just a doll with the duties of a wife but also has duties to herself, which caused her to leave her family. The ethical conflicts at the center of A Doll’s House are among love and law, emotion and mind, feminine and masculine. Nora abandoned eight long years of marriage due to lack of respect and power because she was considered inferior by Torvald. Ibsen focused on the fate of marriage due to the equality of both spouses, the dominance of the husband, and the self-fulfillment of women.

Depiction Of Marriage Norms In Doll’s House

The play ?A Doll’s house is a three-act play written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879 in Norway, Europe. The play is important for its critical perspectives toward nineteenth century marriage norms. In A Doll’s House, Ibsen paints a bleak picture of the sacrificial roles held by women of all classes in his society.

He is known as the father of the new genre in drama realism. Ibsen really portrayed what life is it like especially for women living in a patriarchal society. Its standard classification of gender roles and expectations it holds for a woman as a wife and a mother and as well as that of a man as a husband. The play lights up many flaws in the society in its structure and the expectation it has for individuals in relationships. There are many central themes in the play for discussion some of which are relevant to discuss in this paper are marriage, identity, infantilism, gender, rebellion etc.

Torvald and Nora are a couple with three children and their family fits the structure of a perfect middle-class family in their time. But this family picture of theirs became shattered when Krogstad in a letter revealed Norar’s secret to her husband who reacts to it in a way that awakened the other side of Nora that has never been nurtured. She realizes the life of illusion and decides to leave her husband and children to go and construct her identity. Nora forged a signature to borrow money from Krogstad to save her husbandr’s life. When Krogstad found out he was going to lose his job to Mrs. Linde, a friend of Norar’s, he used the bond to blackmail Nora to persuade Torvald to let him keep his job in the bank. In a bitter sweet ending, Helmerr’s relationship was broken but Krogstad and Mrs. Linde on the other hand rekindled a romantic relationship they had had in the past.

Marriage is one of the earliest structured institutions that spells out the various roles of the individuals involved. In a happy marriage in the nineteenth century, I would say, marriage in the Victorian era, women played roles than being themselves. They were to be obedient, subservient, the spiritual leader of the family, a guide to her children and most importantly a good support to her husband. Her goal was to maintain peace and comfort in the home and satisfy her husbandr’s ego which typically includes sacrificing her agency and keeping her dependency on her husband. In the play, Nora exemplifies the conventional feminine standards of the time. She seems to be powerless, has no agency and confines herself through patriarchal expectations, that signifies a womanr’s social role at that time, that is, just be a good wife and a mother. The man on the other hand is the breadwinner, provider and the decision maker. And here, Torvald exemplifies the conventional masculine standards of the time. The society locks women and men into two separate worlds. The former in domesticity and the latter in a domineering state.

In A Doll’s House, the Helmers each had a unique role in their marriage. Nora, like every other woman in the Victorian Era played a role in which they supported their husbands, took care of their children, and made sure everything was perfect in and around the house- though with the help of a maid. Torvald provided the security of his family. Torvald treats Nora as his little irresponsible child who needs guidance all the time while Nora treats him as the man of the house who has the authority to do anything he wants and have things done his way. The play revealed some of the restrictions on women during the 19th century and the many problems it posed on them.

The play, through Torvald makes us see through the filter of societyr’s perception of women. One of the fundamental differences between men and women is that men are rational beings and women more hysterical. Gender roles are based on norms, or standards, created by the society. In a patriarchic society, masculine roles have commonly been related with strength, aggression, and dominance, while feminine roles have traditionally been related with passivity, nurturing, and subordination. This means that society has made women to look fragile and view them as a people who need masculine help and direction.

They teach women to also accept their inferiority to men. In the play, in her husbandr’s eyes, Nora is nothing but one silly woman. She is called several diminutive, childlike names by Torvald throughout the play. He invariably from the beginning of Act One, made a habit of addressing his wife, Nora, using terms that highlight her diminutive size and helpless condition. Some of which include “my little songbird,” “squirrel,” “lark,” “my little featherhead,” “my little skylark,” “little person,” “little woman or a cute scatterbrain whose thoughts are nonsensical and typical of any other woman. Torvald constantly used the modifier “little” before the names he calls Nora. These all usually followed the possessive “my,” signaling his belief that Nora is his possession. This is typical in most marriages of the time and even now.

Throughout the play, Torvald looked down upon Nora and treats her as one of his possessions. She is something used for his satisfaction. She also accepts and plays along with him sometimes quoting and referring to herself by the pet names to make requests.

Description Of Male-Dominant Society

In A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, Norar’s relationships are strained by society’s expectations of women’s roles and how women are viewed by others. The story takes place during the Victorian Era where the quality of life heavily depended on oner’s social status. For women, this was difficult.

They dealt with harsh sexual restraints as they lacked several fundamental rights such as the right to vote, own property, and divorcing their husbands. These restraints caused women to be very reliant on their husbands which is largely apparent in Norar’s relationship with Torvald. Torvaldr’s use of childlike and condescending nicknames towards Nora reveals how men viewed women as inferior in this time period. Stuck in this unequal marriage, Nora must prevail against societyr’s prescribed roles for women and discover her personal identity and journey.

Nora must meet the needs of her husbands and children. She makes sacrifices to her husband and treats him to what society expects of a woman. She is quite the compassionate and loving wife as shown through her actions. She strives to be the perfect wife for Torvald and would do anything for his happiness. But while she clearly shows great care for him, he does not treat her the same way. We see how he treats Nora often through his name-calling which is fueled by his obligation to stick to societyr’s framework. When he greets Nora in Act I, he calls her his little squirrel and sweet little spendthrift for wasting money on Christmas packages (3-4). This reveals how Torvald sees his wife as simply a doll by calling her objectifying names and emphasizes his belief that Nora is his. Money also plays a role in the play. Torvald is responsible for the financial welfare of his family and relishes his role as a protector for his wife. Because he controls the money, he believes it is acceptable to treat his wife in a patronizing manner. He believes the duty of women is to be a good wife and mother. Thus, he is more concerned with maintaining his morality and reputation than his wifer’s wellbeing.

Norar’s detachment from reality blinds her from Torvaldr’s treatment for much of the play. But towards the end, her decision to abandon him reveals how her character has developed over the course of the story. She experiences an epiphany when she informs him of her intent to leave him. She has never felt [her] mind so clear and certain as as she saw he was not the man [she] had thought (69). When Torvald unleashes his anger towards Nora for forging the letter, she recognizes that he is a different person than she had once believed. Even when she tries to communicate calmly to him, he criticizes her, calling her a blind, foolish woman for leaving him (68). Through this revelation, she realizes her marriage has been only an illusion and should not be obligated to let a man dictate her actions. There was no true love between her and Torvald. He only cared about his reputation and when she sacrificed her integrity for him, he cared about other things that were supposedly more important than his wife. As she walks out the door, she emphatically slams the door, symbolizing the conclusion of their uneven relationship.

Ibsen writes this story during the highly controversial Victorian Era where society was male-dominant. Nora’s decision to leave Torvald was definitely reasonable. She felt trapped, having no fulfillment and individuality so she could no longer endure under his control. Ibsen’s use of realism helps bring clarity to key themes and challenges the audience to think about the societal issues that particularly affected Norar’s life.

From A Dolls House To Dolls Home

In the presence of social construct, there is an apparent debate of the role and value of women. A standard which often reflects a societyr’s cultural standards and level of education. Within the traditional eras (est.

prior to modern depiction) women were categorized as inferior to men. Unable to act independently, women were to depend on men in order to complete any task. In the midst of these ideologies Henrik Ibsen, a self-proclaimed humanist, published A Dollr’s House a play that sparked controversy due to the role women portrayed. The protagonist, Nora, finds her family in the depths of a household crisis caused by debt. In the hopes of assisting her family in their financial crisis; Nora quickly mobilizes by sacrificing her dignity and adapting as a working woman. By doing so Nora rejects the traditional expectation of women as dependent and helpless. During this time a working woman was rare and seen as a humiliation to the husband, for his inability to fend for his household. Norar’s husband soon uncovers Norar’s contribution to their instability and is angered by embarrassment. In the virtue of self-worth, Nora abandons social norms-and her family. Modernists address A Dollr’s House as a feminist literature, using the playr’s neutral perspective of women as independent, dignified, and a contributing member of society.

Henrik Ibsen challenged the social depiction of women, controversy sparked as audiences hated and praised feminine independence through the use of female characters. Critics claimed, the play deterred women through selfish acts of the abandonment for self-growth. The consideration of A Dollr’s House as a feminist play is dependent of the standards a society holds as feminist. In 1800r’s a feminist ideology was perceived as the empowerment of women as nurturing and loyal to her household in comparison to the modern definition of feminism as the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. The modern ideology of feminism reflects Henrik Ibsenr’s moral values of humanism an ideology that disregards genders and emphasizes the injustices embarked by all; despite oner’s age, race, or gender. In other words, Ibsen perceived his literary work as much more than a depiction of a woman, his workr’s intention was to portray the injustice that anyone may confront. He proclaims his work as humanist, that coincidentally is embarked by a feminist role.

Disregarding Ibsens intentions, A Dollr’s House embodies feminist ideologies. The exposure of the injustice done to a woman , and the response she has.As a woman , Nora, claims individuality through her establishment of independence as a contributing member of society. Norar’s acts of servitude to her family received a negative backlash from her husband due to pride. It is then when Nora chose to not only abandoned her family but her squeal marriage with Torvald. Nora illustrated ger relationship as being with Torvald is a little like being with papa,” (2.217) reflecting her sentiments of inferiority within her marriage. The granted feminine critical-mind, unintentionally empowers a social revolution against the depiction of women as dolls.

Despite the authorr’s intentions, A Dolls House left the audiences -in the 1800r’s- in dismay. Nora received criticism because of her inability to endure feminine responsibilities. Her characteristic rejected the ideal women, which wear on her persona in the eyes of traditional values. The audience believes Nora’s demand for justice disillusioned the expected role of a woman. The modern response to Ibsen humanist literature is of feminist persie. The neutrality of gender abilities diminished the social issue of inequality, Directed towards a culture of male-domination, the play endorses feminism through the neutrality of genders.

An Idea Of Strong Actions Of Nora

In Henick Ibsenr’s story, Ibsen attacks the issue of social normative during the time period of the play and an unlikely story of how Nora breaks those standards. A Dollr’s House displays a wealthy family with a typical domestic system with a working husband and a stay at home mom and how one problem changed that whole lifestyle. Throughout the story, Nora displays herself as a dynamic character through her change in the feelings of her role in her family, her change in her view of her marriage, and a change on how she should view her place in the world..

At the beginning of the play, a typical household in 1879 where the husband does most of the work while the wife stays at home and her purpose is to care for the children. Before the play begins When one of Torvaldr’s workers Krogstad believes his job is in danger, he reveals to Nora that he is in possession of a contract that Nora forged her fatherr’s signature and threatens to blackmail her. Nora tries to reason with Torvald but he dislikes Krogstad for all the things that Nora has done behind his back. Dr. Rank, Torvaldr’s best friend, reveals he will be dying soon and confesses his love for Nora which catches her by surprise. Torvald eventually fires Krogstad because he cannot stand being in his presence. Krogstad storms to the house demanding an explanation for why he was fired and leaves the letter exposing Nora. Nora is able to keep Torvald away from the letter for 31 hours and sends Mrs. Linde to go talk to Krogstad. Krogstad and Mrs. Linde rekindle their romance while letting Torvald see the letter to try to help Nora see how bad their marriage is. Once Torvald reads the letter and soon tells Nora he cant raise her kids, the maid brings the contract and Torvald rips it up and apologizes to her. Nora has a moment of self-realization and decides to leave Torvald as she believes he treats her like a doll. While Nora has this moment of realization, one of her first big changes is the way she views her role in her family.

While Nora does experience many changes throughout the play, one of her big changes is how she views her role in her family. For the time period, it is often regarded as that the man is the one who works while the woman stays at home and raises the kids. In Act One Norar’s main focus is taking care of her kids and Torvald believes that if she does immoral actions that her children will become corrupt (27). Norar’s role is clearly stated by Torvald as just raising the kids and making sure that they become productive people and not corrupted. After Norar’s secret comes out and Torvald tries to convince Nora to stay, Nora takes a completely different stance on her family. As Nora is about to leave she states, Good-by, Torvald. I don’t see the little ones. I know they are in better hands than mine. As I am now, i can be of no use to them (71). Nora goes from being the only one raising the kids to completely leaving them to Torvald. This is an example of a big change in her character as she completely goes against the social normative of the time. While not only does she have a large change in her role of the family, she takes on a large change in the view of her marriage.

Throughout the play, Nora goes from staying at home and taking care of the kids as a wife in the family to taking control of her life and walking out on Torvald. Nora is seen in Act 1 making all of her decisions dependant on Torvald and always being dominated on by him. When Nora tries to reason with Torvald about keeping Krogstad on at the bank, he completely dismisses her opinion and automatically assumes that he is right. When she tries to question why he thinks a certain way he dominates the conversation and files for Krogstadr’s dismissal (36). Her obedience to Torvald is greatly shown as she never disagrees with him or tries to have a serious conversation with him about trying to keep Krogstad. Rather he does what he feels is right and doesnt give Nora the time of day. After Torvald tries to take back his words and believe everything is alright, Nora has another change in her personality. When Torvald tries to deny Nora from leaving she says, It is no use forbidding me anything any longer. I will take with me what belongs to myself. I will take nothing from you, either now or later (68). Nora standing up to Torvald brings a big change in her character as she goes from being dependent to standing up to Torvaldr’s dominance and doing orders against his will. While not only does her view on their marriage change, her view on Torvald changes during the play.

Nora displays herself as a dynamic character mainly through her change in how she views Torvald. Nora always viewed Torvald with great respect and obedience as she respected him for getting a promotion at the bank. However, she always feared Torvald finding out about her secret and goes to any lengths to prevent it seen through her continued commitment trying to keep Krogstad employed. However, her views completely change after Torvald lashes out on her for her forgery and she begins to realize her feelings for him as he tries to make up for the mistake he just made. Nora states, When I was at home with Papa he told me his opinions about everything, and so I had the same opinions; and if I differed from him I concealed the fact because he would not have liked it. He called me his doll-child. And when I came to you I just transferred hands (66). Her comparison to her as a doll in Torvaldr’s hands is a complete change to her ways of following Torvald before and she has a complete change in her feelings towards Torvald. Nora displays herself as a dynamic character not only through her change with Torvald but also with her change in her view of her marriage and her view on her family.

A Dollr’s House, while not directly stated as a feminist story, proves to be one through the strong actions of Nora. Norar’s choice to leave everything behind is completely different for her time and she proves that feminism did exist early on. Nora proves time and time again that she is the story’s dynamic character through her many changes in the story.