A Doll House: Unveiling Societal Roles and Liberation

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Updated: Sep 01, 2023
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A Doll House written by Henrik Ibsen, is a three-act play, where Ibsen paints a realistic and a bleak picture of the sacrificial role that women hold in the economic classes in society. During that time the wife is expected to be passive and the husband a paternally protective. Yet, Ibsen raises a series of theories that covers in depth the sociological and psychological planes, both of the characters that make up the work, and the temporal and cultural context in which they are immersed.

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One out of many themes of “”A Doll House”” is the moral liberation of a woman oppressed by the rigor of a sexist society, which is incarnated through the figures of the father and husband, who exercise in her a series of manipulations that she does not notice until the moment when a limit situation arises: the blackmail of a stranger that could ruin her marriage. It is from that event, that the protagonist realizes awareness about her role and freedom, her duties and rights as a human being, finally opting to break with everything that was nullifying her. As for Torvald, his pride leads him to treat Nora like a possession instead of loving her as an equal and ends up losing her.

Ibsen presents a stereotypical and comfortable family during the nineteen century. It is Christmas Eve at the Helmer Family’s house. Nora who plays the role of protagonist and Helmer’s wife. Her role of protagonist is revealed through the conversations and interactions she has with other characters in the play. Her husband Helmer who plays the role as a guardian for his wife, the protector and provider of the family. They have been married for eight years, however, in the play exists many indicators that reveal that the family has been upholding a false image as the symbolic title indicates “”A Doll House””.

Nora is introduced by Helmer in the play as “”little Spendthrift”” (10). The small phrase represents and foreshadow the further tension that will be revealed in their relationship. Helmer believes she is spending money vainly. But she has secretly borrowed money to save Helmer’s life and every time Helmer gives her money, she uses it to pay back her debt. Furthermore, her husband does not know it neither she wants him to know it. Instead, she tells her secret to Mrs. Linda, she says, “”… He mustn’t, not for anything in the world. Nobody must know, Kristine. No one but you.””

Nora and Helmer have different opinions in regarding money. He believes that loans are never an alternative to financial problems, but he recognizes that Nora does not follow this rule. Helmer believes that she cannot avoid her tendency to spend too much, describing it as a hereditary condition: “”Well, one takes you as you are. It’s deep in your blood. Yes, these things are hereditary, Nora.”” (50).

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A Doll House: Unveiling Societal Roles and Liberation. (2019, May 26). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-doll-house-unveiling-societal-roles-and-liberation/