Essay, Research Paper: Doll`s House

World Literature

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Ibsen is a writer that uses literature to channel entertainment and express
himself throughout the play, “A Doll’s House”. He wrote the play during
the transition from mythical and historical dramas to plays dealing with social
problems. At the time that Ibsen wrote “A Doll’s House”, the later
1800’s, society has created a niche for the woman as a housewife and social
partner, lacking emphasis on love. This controversial play features a female
protagonist seeking her individuality through realizations and challenging her
comfort zone. Isben, through Nora and her personality, depicts the role of women
not as the usual comforter, helper, and supporter of man, but introduced woman
as having her own purposes and goals. The heroine, Nora, progresses during the
course of the play eventually to realize that she must discontinue the role of a
doll and seek out her individuality. Definite characteristics of woman’s
subordinate role in a relationship are emphasized through Nora's contradicting
actions. As a person, she enjoys making Torvald happy, but will not follow his
guidelines. Her infatuation with luxuries like expensive Christmas gifts
contradicts her resourcefulness in scrounging and buying cheap clothing. Also,
her defiance of Torvald by eating forbidden Macaroons contradicts the submission
of her opinions, including the decision of which dance outfit to wear, to her
husband; and Nora's flirtatious nature contradicts her devotion to her husband.
This sheds light to the characteristics of a dependent woman. It seems at this
time women marry for tradition, money, safety, and love. Ibsen attracts the
reader’s attention to these examples to show the general subordinate role that
a woman plays compared to that of her husband. . It can be suggested that women
have the power to choose which rules to follow at home, but not in the business
world, thus again indicating her willingness to be subservient. Nora does not at
first realize that the rules outside the household apply to her. This is evident
in Nora's meeting with Krogstad regarding her borrowed money. In her opinion it
was no crime for a woman to do everything possible to save her husband's life.
She also believes that her act will be overlooked because she is used to dealing
with a flexible and predictable Torvald, rather than the law. She doesn’t see
that the law does not take into account the motivation behind her forgery. Ibsen
uses Nora’s traits to bluntly portray the women in society as in a position of
needed change. Her first encounter with rules outside of her "doll's
house" results in the realization of her inexperience with the real world
due to her subordinate role in society and Ibsen sparks the thought of change.
"A Doll's House" is also a prediction of change from this subordinate
roll. Ibsen foreshadows as well as promotes the change women will eventually
make to progress and understand their position. She needs to be more of a
rolemodel for her children. It was seen that Nora didn’t think she was fit to
mother them. From this point, when Torvald is making a speech about the effects
of a deceitful mother, until the final scene, Nora progressively confronts the
realities of the real world and realizes her subordinate position. From this
point, progressively understanding this position, she still clings to the hope
that her husband will come to her protection and defend her from the outside
world once her crime is out in the open. After she reveals the "dastardly
deed" to her husband, he becomes understandably agitated; in his
frustration he shares the outside world with her, the ignorance of the serious
business world, and destroys her innocence and self-esteem. This disillusion
marks the final destructive blow to her doll's house. Their ideal home including
their marriage and parenting has been a product of society. Nora's decision to
leave this false life behind and discover for herself what is real is directly
symbolic of woman's ultimate realization. Although she becomes aware of her
supposed way of being subservient is not because of this that she has the desire
to take action. Nora is utterly confused and anxious as seen in, “She is
groping sadly in a maze of confused feeling toward a way of life and a destiny
of which she is most uncertain (256)." The one thing she is aware of is her
ignorance, and her desire to go out into the world is not to "prove
herself" but to discover and educate herself. Isben wants her to strive to
find her individuality. This gives her more struggles to face and over come to
gain wisdom. Ibsen, through this controversial play, has an impact upon
society's view of the subordinate position of women. By describing this role of
woman, discussing its effects, and predicting a change in contemporary views, he
stressed the importance of woman's realization of this believed inferiority.
Woman should no longer be seen as the shadow of man, but a person in herself,
with her own triumphs and tragedies. The exploration of Nora reveals that she is
dependant upon her husband and displays no independent standing. Her progression
of understanding suggests woman's future ability to comprehend their plight. Her
state of shocked awareness at the end of the play is like the awakening of
society to the changing view of the role of woman. Through, "A Doll's
House" Isben magnificently illustrates the need for and a prediction of
this change.

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