Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

1527 words - 6 pages

Societal appearance and acceptance is an utmost characteristic an average individual tends to underestimate. It may seem as if individual morals go against the social appearance, but in value, individuals perceive a need for an appearance to convey a sense of belonging. Within two diverse yet similarly realist drama's, A Doll’s House and Death of a Salesman societal appearance’s stands above all else. Henrick Ibsen's A Doll's House embarks on the gender fitting and domesticity of the Victorian Era at its worse as Nora Helmer's unrealistic marriage falls within her grasps, leading to rebellion. Arthur Miller, on the other hand, sets forth the "tragedy of the common man" through the tragic hero of Willy Loman and the “American Dream” in Death of a Salesman (Shmoop Editorial Team 4). In comparison, Nora and Willy follow the ethics society put forth, but in contrast, Nora’s will leads to rebellion, whereas Willy’s dramatizing deprivation leads to conformity.
Through Nora, Ibsen makes it obvious that the atmosphere springs out of influence from the Victorian Era. Domesticity stood as a central theme, gender division stood as common field. Gender fitted, women were placed with the responsibility of the children and the household. In addition to the domestic role, women were expected to be completely submissive to their husbands (Shmoop Editorial Team 1). Nora perfectly fit the societal aspects of what was expected during the time. Her complete devotion to Helmer makes it clear that she is recognizing him as the dominating figure and degrading her own position as his wife. Within the start of the play, Ibsen describes Nora as she secretively eats cookies from her husband. Helmer states: “Hasn’t Miss Sweet-Tooth been breaking rule in town to-day? (Ibsen 443)” Helmer’s attitude toward Nora is not that of husband and wife, but more so of an adult to a child.
Nora continues to live the life under the societal ethics that govern her burdened surroundings and beliefs. The Victorian Era prohibited any mentioning’s of sexual intercourse or anything along that aspect and labeled it as “distasteful”(Shmoop Editorial 3). During Nora’s conversation with Dr. Rank about his illness, instead of stating that Dr. Rank has STD’s through his father because of it being a sexually transmitted disease, she states: “I suppose you mean that he was too partial to asparagus and pate de foie gras, don’t you” (Ibsen 469). Nora does all that she can possibly do to fit the societal appearance and happiness that has been set for her from outside perspectives. In her sense, Helmer confides to the perfect and loving world he has created for her and expects great appreciation from her, which she abides to. The inferiority he expresses through his actions toward Nora fits the societal surroundings that she has willingly accepted. Nora’s response towards Helmers’ way of speaking is only obedient and encouraging. His usage of pet names such as,...

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