Rebellion Against Society in A Doll's House
An underlying theme in A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, is the rebellion against social expectations to follow what one believes in their heart. This theme is demonstrated as several of the play's characters break away from the social norms of their time and act on their own beliefs. No one character demonstrates this better than Nora. Nora rebels against social expectations, first by breaking the law, and later by taking the drastic step of abandoning her husband and children.
During the time in which the play took place society frowned upon women asserting themselves. Women were supposed to play a role in which they supported their husbands, took care of their children, and made sure everything was perfect around the house. Work, politics, and decisions were left to the males. Nora's first break from social norms was when she broke the law and decided to borrow money to pay for her husband's treatment. By doing this, she not only broke the law but she stepped away from the role society had placed on her of being totally dependent on her husband. She proved herself not to be helpless like Torvald implied: "You poor helpless little creature" (Ibsen Page #)! In the first secession Ibsen illustrates that despite Nora doing the right thing it is deemed wrong and not allowed by society because she is a woman. While the forgery can be considered wrong, Ibsen is critical of the fact that Nora is forced to forge. Ibsen is also critical of society's expectations of a marriage. He illustrates this by showing how Nora is forced to play a role rather than be herself and the eventual deterioration of the marriage.
Nora's second, and strongest, break from society's rules was shown by her decision to leave Torvald and her children. Society demanded that she take a place under her husband. This is shown in the way Torvald spoke down to her saying things like "worries that you couldn't possibly help me with" (Ibsen Page #), and "Nora, Nora, just...