A Push To Freedom. Speaks Of Ibsen's "A Doll House"

1291 words - 5 pages

Sometime after the publication of 'A Doll's House', Henrik Ibsenspoke at a meeting of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights. Heexplained to the group, 'I must decline the honor of being said to haveworked for the Women's Rights movement. I am not even very sure whatWomen's Rights are. To me it has been a question of human rights' ( ).'A Doll's House' is often interpreted by readers, teachers, and critics alikeas an attack on chauvinistic behavior and a cry for the recognition ofwomen's rights ( ). Instead its theme is identical to several of his playswritten around the same time period: the characters willingly exist in asituation of untruth or inadequate truth which conceals conflict andcontradiction ( ). In 'A Doll's House', Nora's independent nature is incontradiction the tyrannical authority of Torvald. This conflict is concealedby the way they both hide their true selves from society, each other, andultimately themselves. Just like Nora and Torvald, every character in thisplay is trapped in a situation of unturth. In 'Ghosts', the play Ibsen wrotedirectly after 'A Doll's House', the same conflict is the basis of the play.Because Mrs. Alving concedes to her minister's ethical bombardment abouther responsibilities in marriage, she is forced to conceal the truth about herlate husband's behavior ( ). Like 'A Doll's House', 'Ghosts' can bemisinterpreted as simply an attack on the religious values of Ibsen'ssociety. While this is certainly an important aspect of the play, it is not,however, Ibsen's main point. 'A Doll's House' set a precedent for'Ghosts' and the plays Ibsen would write in following years. It establisheda method he would use to convey his views about individuality and thepursuit of social freedom. The characters of 'A Doll's House' displayHenrik Ibsen's belief that although people have a natural longing forfreedom, they often do not act upon this desire until a person or eventforces them to do so.Readers can be quick to point out that Nora's change was gradualand marked by several incidents. A more critical look reveals thesegradual changes are actually not changes at all, but small revelations for thereader to see Nora's true independent nature. These incidents also allowthe reader to see this nature has been tucked far under a facade of a happyand simple wife. In the first act, she admits to Christine that she will'dance and dress up and play the fool' to keep Torvald happy ( ). Thiswas Ibsen's way of telling the reader Nora had a hidden personality thatwas more serious and controlling. He wants the reader to realize that Norawas not the fool she allows herself to be seen as. Later in the same act,she exclaims to Dr. Rank and Christine she has had 'the mostextraordinary longing to say: 'Bloody Hell!'' ( ). This longing isundoubtedly symbolic of her longing to be out of the control of Torvaldand society. Despite her desire for freedom, Nora has, until the close ofthe story, accepted the comfort and ease, as well as the...

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