Essay, Research Paper: Doll's House

World Literature

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One of "A Doll's House's" central theme is secession from society. It
is demonstrated by several of its characters breaking away from the social
standards of their time and acting on their own terms. No one character
demonstrates this better than Nora. During the time in which the play took place
society frowned upon women asserting themselves. Women were supposed to play a
role in which they supported their husbands, took care of their children, and
made sure everything was perfect around the house. Work, politics, and decisions
were left to the males. Nora's first secession from society was when she broke
the law and decided to borrow money to pay for her husbands treatment. By doing
this, she not only broke the law but she stepped away from the role society had
placed on her of being totally dependent on her husband. She proved herself not
to be helpless like Torvald implied: "you poor helpless little
creature!" Nora's second secession from society was shown by her decision
to leave Torvald and her children. Society demanded that she take a place under
her husband. This is shown in the way Torvald spoke down to her saying things
like: "worries that you couldn't possibly help me with," and
"Nora, Nora, just like a woman." She is almost considered to be
property of his: "Mayn't I look at my dearest treasure? At all the beauty
that belongs to no one but me -that's all my very own?" By walking out she
takes a position equal to her husband and brakes society's expectations. Nora
also brakes society's expectations of staying in a marriage since divorce was
frowned upon during that era. Her decision was a secession from all expectations
put on a woman and a wife by society. Nora secessions are very deliberate and
thought out. She knows what society expects of her and continues to do what she
feels is right despite them. Her secessions are used by Ibsen to show faults of
society. In the first secession Ibsen illustrates that despite Nora doing the
right thing it is deemed wrong and not allowed by society because she is a
woman. While the forgery can be considered wrong, Ibsen is critical of the fact
that Nora is forced to forge. Ibsen is also critical of society's expectations
of a marriage. He illustrates this by showing how Nora is forced to play a role
than be herself and the eventual deterioration of the marriage. Throughout the
play Nora is looked down upon and treated as a possession by her husband. She is
something to please him and used for show. He is looked upon as the provider and
the decision maker. Society would have seemed it a perfect marriage. Ibsen is
critical of the fact that a marriage lacked love and understanding, as shown by
Torvald becoming angry with Nora for taking the loan and saving him, would be
consider as perfect. This central theme of secession from society was made to be
critical of society's view on women and marriage. Ibsen used Nora's secessions
as an example to illustrate that society's expectations of a woman's role in
society and marriage were incorrect. Her decision to leave was the exclamation
point on his critical view of society.

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