Essay about Henrik Ibsen’s Play, A Doll’s House

Women of the nineteenth century had no choice but to become dependent upon men. Husbands held all the authority over their wives and their property. Considering this dependency, women had to fight in order to obtain their own identity and to make their voices heard. This struggle for the individual rights of women can be found in one of Henrik Ibsen’s play. Nora, a dynamic character in the play A Doll’s House, undergoes three significant stages of character development. Nora transforms from a child-like character to recognizing herself as an individual and finally transforming into an emotionally strong woman who is able to live by her own discretion.

Firstly, the play presents Nora as a child-like character. In the beginning, Nora is treated like a child by her husband. When Torvald hears Nora enter the house, he asks, “Is that my little skylark twittering out there?” (Ibsen, 148) and “Scampering about like a little squirrel?” (Ibsen, 148). Nora seems to enjoy the attention from her husband and plays along with it by also calling herself “little Nora” (Ibsen, 150). The names signify how she has no power in their relationship. Nora exhibits childish qualities when she secretly eats from her “bag of macaroons” (Ibsen, 148) and wipes her mouth to ensure Torvald does not find out. When her condescending husband asks if she “nibbl[ed] a macaroon or two…” (Ibsen, 151), she denies it and like an innocent child replies, “I wouldn’t do anything that you don’t like.” (Ibsen, 151).This reveals her need to please him and receive his approval, just as a small child looks for parental praise. Additionally, the way Torvald instructs Nora in her dance practice reminds one of how a parent would guide a child through an important event. Standi…

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…on of herself is shown when she decides, “I must stand on my own feet if I’m to get to know myself and the world outside.” (Ibsen, 227). In the end, Nora becomes an individual who is able to free herself from her husband’s domination.

In conclusion, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House displays Nora going through a transformation from a childish and dependent character to a woman who recognizes her capability and becomes a strong-willed individual who makes her own decisions. Nora is a symbol of many women in the nineteenth century who wanted to escape from the authority of men. Many women in the world today face similar issues as they are forced to be rely upon men, whether it is their father, brother, husband or son. This is a problem because these women are treated unjustly by the men who run their lives when in fact they are capable of taking control for themselves.

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