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Sacrificial Inequality Essay

1521 words - 6 pages

“Had Adam tenderly reproved his wife, and endeavored to lead her to repentance instead of sharing in her guilt, I should be much more ready to accord to man that superiority which he claims; but as the facts stand disclosed by the sacred historian, it appears to me that to say the least, there was as much weakness exhibited by Adam as by Eve. They both fell from innocence, and consequently from happiness, but not from equality,” (Grimke, 1838).

For as long as mankind has been able to function in society, there has always been a line dividing the roles of man and woman. Women have always been the lesser, especially in Western Civilization, and the expectations to be the “perfect housewife” have continued on into the 21st century. In “A Doll’s House,” a play set in 19th century Sweden by Henrik Ibsen, a woman named Nora had taken out a loan behind her husband’s back in order to take him to Italy to save his life. She not only had done this in secrecy, but also forged her father’s signature to receive the loan. If Torvald, her husband, were to find out, Nora would be in big trouble, especially since he thought she was like a little child. When Nora’s friend, Mrs. Linde, comes to visit, Torvald finds Nora’s big secret through a series of events and nearly disowns her to save his image. Mrs. Linde, a widow, had left her man, Krogstad—also the man who gave Nora the loan—for a richer man to provide for her family. Although these women had made reasonable sacrifices for their loved ones, their men didn’t understand and allowed society to decide how to react to their women. In “A Doll’s House,” Ibsen uses Nora and Mrs. Linde to illustrate that women are expected to make sacrifices to their happiness for their family that men wouldn’t make for theirs.
Nora sacrificed her real identity to be Torvald’s wife. To begin with, Nora wasn’t even a human being in Torvald’s eyes. He always referred to her as his little squirrel or skylark. He even once asked, referring to Nora, “What are little people called that are always wasting money,” (5). He always belittled and demeaned her, taking away from who she truly was. Nora sacrificed her true desire of being her own person to stay with Torvald and her beloved children, even though all along she had wanted the opposite, “I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are—or, at all events, that I must try and become one,” (65). Also, Nora wanted to be more than just the housewife that Torvald had made her into. In a conversation with Mrs. Linde about how she got the money to pay back her loan, Nora mentioned, “Many a time I was desperately tired; but all the same it was a tremendous pleasure to sit there working and earning money. It was like being a man,” (14). Nora wanted work and do such things, but she could never actually do it because Torvald never allowed her to do things for herself or without his supervision. Nora was also aware of her husband’s simply physical attraction to...

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