Ibsen’s purpose in writing A Doll’s House was not to encourage the feminist movement, but rather to raise the question of men’s and women’s roles in society to help both understand the necessity of personal development.
The novel takes place during the victorian era, a period in history where women lacked suffrage aswell as many virtues of men. Nora is presented as a naive and immature wife, which in turn makes her a perfect protaganist as she is constantly chastised because of her nature. Through a road of self-doubt and confusion, Nora’s realization and ultimate growth occurs shortly after her confession of forgery. Upon witnessing Torvald’s reaction, Nora quickly realizes that Torvald is simply in love with the idea of being in love, thus rejecting the moral system of the time to amount on a journey of self-discovery.
A Doll House evidently “paved the way for the New Woman fiction”, which described marriage as “legalized” prostitution” that very often used ...view middle of the document...
It is this idealogy that Nora turns her back on in the finale of the play rather than her husband and motherly duty.
Paul Rosefeldt wrote a critical essay about the abscense and corruption of fatherhood throughout the play. Ibsen himself emphasized that his society was exclusively a male society created by men who judge women from a male standpoint (Rosefeldt). Rosefeldt took note that fatherhood is not only associated with authority and stability of patriarchy but also with abandonment, illness, absence, and corruption. The absence of a father permeates all classes while a father figure is morally polluted. Krogstad for example is a bankrupt father who is desperately trying to raise his children after he has been labeled as a pollutant for forgery and defames the patriarchal figure (Rosefeldt). Helmer himself in A Doll’s House states that “every breath in the children take in [his home] is filled with the germs of something degenerate,” manifesting the opinion of society (Ibsen). Yet Helmer is a failed father too, he “becomes a father of lies and disguise” shortly after Nora’s confession. Her confession triggers a state of panic for Helmer, causing him to submit into Krogstad’s demands, exposing hypocrisy beyond Krogstad’s (Rosefeldt). Final evidence that fatherhood is itself connected to universal pollution is Dr. Rank. Rank was unfortunately birthed with syphilis and thus suffers from his father’s sins, who had several mistresses and contracted syphilis in his youth (Rosefeldt). Rank extends his condition to humanity, finding the “inevitable retribution of nature” in every family (Rosefeldt).
Ibsen’s introspection at the time was phenomenal, which is why he was both denounced and hailed as a moralist (Forward). Ibsen’s work is often confused as a feminist tool used to focus attention towards women rights. In 1898, Ibsen presented a speech at the Festival of the Norwegian Women’s Rights League declaring that he had no conscious aim of creating propaganda upon writing a A Doll’s House (Forward). Ibsen’s intention was to fabricate a median for individuals to recognize and act upon an issue of humanity in general, he was even unsure of the goals of many feminist quoting, “I am not even quite so cleas as to just what this women’s right moevement is” (Forwad).