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Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House Essay

1283 words - 5 pages

How the 1800s living dollhouse is indicative to the values of Norwegian and European society?

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House plays patronage to the oppressive standards of society in Norway during the late 1800’s. The phrase, ‘doll house’, is used throughout the novel to represent the continued struggle of living one on one in a household, where quite frankly the women has to always report and work for the man of the house. In the novel, Nora Helmer is described as the ‘doll’ of the house – the perfect wife that her husband wants, but she is just dying inside, feeling trapped and isolated from her surroundings and reality. Nora attempts to keep to herself, but continues to live in fear of social and moral oppression. As laws were still being introduced to better the expectations and roles of members of society, the ideologies behind dominance and submission were prominent. Considering the lack of women representation in judicial and legal systems, women were confined to dealing with laws and decisions made by men and conduct assed from a masculine standpoint. During this ride for liberty and repression, women were trapped in regards to the authority they had outside their domestic sphere – which reiterates the idea that women were treated as nothing more than property. The 1800s living doll house displayed a women’s state of submission in society, legal assessment by male authority and state of social oppression.

A Doll's House had a moral standing that initiated a feud between the different parties (genders) in the novel. The male characters in the book, specifically John, played a major role in influencing the behavior and actions of the female characters. Such a role placed the storyline of the novel in negative air. A Doll's House illustrates the evolving growth of the 'hierarchical chain of human standard.' The time period of the novels setting (late 1800s) presents a controversial and non-emerging period of time. Fundamental values of society remained fairly dominant towards the male population, considerably due to the consideration of men as carrying positions of higher authority within their home, community and at work.

The dominance of male authority throughout the novel presents a growing concern in the female community. Women in the late 1800s were subjected to positions of lower authority as they were yet to be considered of 'human race.' This subjectivity set the bar for the actions that women were vulnerable to. A Doll's House is essentially a perfect representation of a 'living doll's house' in the 1800s. Throughout the novel, the reader learns about the tolerance and intolerance of women and when such is appropriate. Of course, these are in the cases where the male, 'husband', is the main authority of the household. The topic of dominance and submission of humans has been a topic of controversy and social complexity. In present day, such values are different in either of the two hemispheres (Eastern and Western). Western...

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