The Theme Of Feminism In Henrik Ibsen’s "A Doll’s House"

2867 words - 11 pages

This paper will analyze the theme of the dependent women in this play. In order to do this I will discuss the following subject area. These subject areas are: female passivity; her economic and social dependence, and her dependence through her children.
In A Doll’s House, Ibsen argues that a dependent woman will be passive and unwilling to speak her mind. She will not try to understand the abstract reality of life, unless it contain to her lifestyle at home. Instead she will let the title of her marriage suppress her. She will lose sight of finding her own independence and instead become a doll living in a house. Nora, the protagonist of the play has all of these qualities
Nora’s Passivity is clearly seen in the opening of the play. The play opens up with Nora asking the maid to hide the Christmas tree. “Hide the tree well, Helene” (Act I Scene 1). Just something as simple as hiding a Christmas tree shows us that Nora is a type of wife that is willing to hide secret from the family even if it’s something as small and meaningless as a tree. Though a small incident it can cause, Nora rather hide it just to please her husband. This event shows her willingness to subject to her husband’s ruling and shows her passivity in her own household. Having to think before she acts and not having the assertion in the things she wants further shows her passivity to her husband and in her life.
Nora passivity allows Helmer to continue to control every aspect of her life “Throughout the play there are many examples of Helmer treating Nora badly and in a way insulting her because she’s a woman. He calls her little pet names, and says that she’s frail. Nora doesn’t response to these pet names because she feels that if she was to defy her husband than she would be all alone with nothing. Due to this fear Nora does things according to what Helmer wants. “Helmer can't bear…” (Act 2 Scene 1). Everything thing is done by his standards. He also doesn’t allow her to have very much freedom. He doesn’t leave decisions to Nora. We see this when they talk about what Nora is going to where and do for the ball.
Nora and Helmer’s marriage is based on deception and lies on Nora’s part. Using deception and lies also shows her passivity in her life. She rather lies about a small snack than openly confront her husband. She rather gives him a false of dominance in the relationship. We can tie Nora’s reason for lying as a response to Helmer’s effort to rule and control Nora. An example of this would be with the macaroons. “Putting the macaroon bag in her pocket and wiped her mouth” (Act 1 Scene 1). Ibsen infers that Nora is hiding the macaroons from Helmer because he scorns the fact that she is spending money on simple treats like candy. “Hasn’t nibbled some pastry?” (Act 1Sence 1). When Helmer finally confronts Nora about the macaroons, he calls her some ridiculous name like “My Sweet tooth” (Act 1 Scene 1). His patronizing her dictates her silent behavior; her submissive...

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