The Price of Freedom in A Doll’s House
Freedom is something that people in all times, places, and experiences have sought after, often against great odds and at a great personal cost. But, in the struggle for freedom, every person gains a sense of true self, if they believe that the freedom which they are fighting for is just. In almost all plays, every character has something threatened which is important to them and which they consider worth fighting for. In Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll House, every character suffers a disaster or mistake which causes them to lose some of their freedoms. However, in the quest to regain their freedoms, every character in a way gains more freedom than they thought possible. Nora suffers the most of all of the characters during the play’s duration and she has the most to gain and the most to lose. Each character suffers in some way, which allows them to grow and become a stronger character.
Nora is the most important character in the play. Attentions are focused on what she feels and how she interacts with the other players in her doll house. Nora really is nothing more than a doll for most of the play, and gradually we see her gain strength and determination, as well as a realization that in order for her to be truly free she must flee her gilded birdcage. She has been nothing more than a doll most of her life, and she realizes that when she confronts her husband. “I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa’s doll-child” (Ibsen 1136). She made herself conform to the role that society had cast her into.
“Patriarchy’s socialization of women into servicing creatures is the first
major accusation in Nora’s painful account to Torvold…
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…o lose. Torvold cost her some of her freedom and in the end he gave her back some of her freedom by refusing to accept her as she had decided to now become. Strengths are revealed through weaknesses and by accepting strengths and weaknesses, Nora is able to become what she truly needs to become. A free independent woman who is no longer a doll, but a real flesh and blood woman.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Clurman, Harold. Ibsen. New York: Macmillan. 1977
Ibsen, Henrik. Four Major Plays. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998
Northam, John. “Ibsen’s Search for the Hero.” Ibsen. A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. 1965
Shaw, Bernard. “A Doll’s House Again.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1979.
Thomas, David. Henrik Ibsen. New York: Grove, 1984