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A Doll's House Essay

1859 words - 7 pages

A Doll's House In the play A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, Ibsen shows us what marriage was all about during the 19th century. In the play Ibsen creates a character by the name of Nora Helmer who at the beginning of the play is the prototypical 19th century wife, but in the end changes and her real character is finally shown. The 19th century was a time when in marriage it was the man's job to solely provide for the entire family regardless of all circumstances and what there wife wanted in life. If the wife wanted to work it was her problem and it wasn't going to happen because it was considered an insult to a man if they were to rely on there wives for anything, it was socially unacceptable. The men went to work while their wives stayed home and took care of the kids and made sure the little things were taken care of. It was basically a time when wives did what their husbands wanted them to do, this is what society felt was a norm. However, in this play after some rough times Nora Helmer finally sticks up to her husband Torvald Helmer after years and years of pretending to be something she wasn't; she speaks her mind to him. Nora tells Torvald that "his doll will be taken away"(Ibsen 1820) and in the end leaves him to find out what she can turn out to be in life. By doing this Nora challenges what the roles of women actually were and what marriage meant in the 19th century. Nora Helmer begins this play as a completely happy wife and a loving mother who comes across to be "silly" as her husband calls her and somewhat oblivious to the outside world. However, throughout the play we learn that Nora is actually a very intelligent woman who is just trapped in the lifestyle and marriage of the 19th century. Although Nora is unhappy with her marriage and inevitably not in love with her husband, Nora does what she can to make things seem wonderful. In reality, Nora just wants something of her own; she wants to do something for herself to show that she is more than just a wife. However, she makes it seem to everyone as though she is right where she wants to be in life, However, she doesn't know exactly what she wants. Even though Nora is loved and pampered by Torvald and has two wonderful kids; she hates the control that Torvald has over her. Nora ultimately has no freedom in this marriage, everything she does has to go through Torvald. This shows in some of the most pathetic ways; such as how Torvald gets mad and doesn't allow Nora to eat macaroons because they rot her teeth, or when Torvald makes her learn different dances and songs so that she can put on impressive shows for their guests. This is how marriages were in the 19th century; husbands controlled everything, and basically got whatever they wanted. Although everyone thinks that Nora is just a "silly girl" that is just pampered and sits home and doesn't know much about anything in the real world. We learn that this is not at all true when we find out that when Torvald was seriously ill and...

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