Restrictive Societal Roles Of Women Essay

1701 words - 7 pages

Henrik Ibsen once said, “The strongest man in the world is the one who stands above it.” Most notably it has been clear that women have been considered to be the inferior race in a male dominated society due to the male obsession to hold a powerful and respectful position in the social ladder. For many advocates of the humanism theory this common way of thought was considered to be a violation of what was believed to be an evolutionary right of individuals to grow and develop in a positive manner. Humanism is often expressed in literature to either show the flaws in the condition of the world or to draw attention to forms of internal or external oppression such as the case in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. Through Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, one can examine the harsh societal roles geared towards women and their subordinate state through the usage of symbols, themes, and metaphors.
During Victorian era, society was very repressive with tightly designed codes and rules for each individual to follow (A Doll's House Symbolism, Imagery & Allegory). As a result, a majority of the population kept up an appearance and defined life by what society found respectful and responsible so that society did not shun them. A shattered appearance would have caused the detriment to not only one's social position but also to the mind state. Therefore, to people living in Victorian society advancement was the key to gaining success and garnering respectability in other’s eyes.
Torvald: It's incredible. I can't grasp it. But we must come to an understanding. Take that shawl off. Take it off I say. I must try to pacify him one way or other-the secret must be kept, cost what it may. As for ourselves, we must live as we have always done; but of course only in the eyes of the world. Of course you will continue to live here. But the children cannot be left in your care. I dare not trust them to you-Oh, to have to say this to one I have loved so tenderly-whom I still-but that must be a thing of the past. Henceforward there can be no question of happiness, but merely of saving the ruins, the shreds, the show of it(Ibsen 261-263)!

In order to advance one had to be successful in the gender role assigned since birth. Men had to be providers for their women and children and were responsible for making intellectual decisions in place of the woman. Conversely for women, the utmost importance in life was being able to be a paragon of virtue and motherhood to both children and husband.. Often enough being a paragon meant sacrifice. Women often gave up their personal freedom and rights that most men were entitled to since birth. Women were not taught that there was a world outside of where they grew up, that politics consisted more of just someone making laws, or that there was a level of higher learning. Instead they were raised to become dutiful pleasing women with remarkable hosting capabilities and social assets to whomever they married and their...

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