“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen


A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen was first published on December 4th, 1879 and performed for the first time in Copenhagen on December 21st, 1879. The play had many critics and controversial issues that Ibsen was forced to write another one known as “a barbaric outrage” for it to be referred whenever it is necessary. In the play, the controversy is evident through the play’s central theme that is the role of women in society. At the beginning of the play, the controversy is based on Nora’s decision to leave her children where she is criticized. She also changes her decision after realizing that her children need her more than the freedom she has been seeking.

In this play, what Ibsen had in mind is the idea that women need to be shaped and made to be the best mothers and wives, however, he had another feeling of oppression and injustice, and this is evidenced through Helmer’s treatment of Nora in a demeaning manner. Ibsen was never an activist of the women rights but only dealt with the rights of women as a component of realism within this play. Although feminists later celebrated him, his primary idea was not to solve the concept of women perception but to give more emphasis to it by illuminating it further. One can thus argue that the central theme in the play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is the role of women in society.

The concerns by Ibsen about the position of women are brought into existence in the “A Doll’s House”. Ibsen believes that women have their rights of nurturing and creating their individuality, but in a real sense, their love was mostly sacrificial. The attention and treatment given to women are not the same as the ones men in the society receive, according to the society and their husbands. The same is evident from Torvald’s horror from his employees, where he thinks the wife has influenced his decisions on his job. Secondly, women are not able to carry out business activities or even have full control over their money. All of their finances need further and advised authorization from men, who in this case can be their husbands, brothers or even their fathers.

Moreover, these women are not well educated about their responsibilities. Concerning the play, Nora is faced with the injustices when she taught she could take a loan by herself without any acknowledgment or authority from the father or her husband (Lee, 105). Furthermore, out of her ignorance, she believes that she can even get away with it by trying the forgery of a signature. Secondly, single women as evidenced by Mrs. Linde are free with their money as compared to the married ones. These women use their finances without having to hand it over to any man out of their willingness. In another case, the employment that was present and open for women was limited and they were paid poorly.

From the play, the only available options for Mrs. Linde were the clerical work, domestic services or teaching service. The work that was available for women could not even be compared to what men were doing, and in that case, women were left feeling inferior in the eyes of men (Holledge 14). In general, the women are always perceived as weak in the societies, and any duty that requires massive human resources were reserved for men, and thus women left with other dull and less paying jobs. The next aspect of the role of women in society is the idea of marriage which was a trap in another perspective. Divorce was available in this community but is carried a different sense of stigma, which was not just for the women in the play but also for the entire family.

As a consequence, it is the reason why the Torvald would get held to a marriage of pretense to appear in shape in place of having a divorce or a parting which was amicable. In the play, the women in the text have to sacrifice themselves to appear accepted and to survive for the better part, like in the character of the Nurse, Nora and Mrs. Linde. Nora loses the children whom she loves to pursue her own identity and also sacrifices to borrow money to save Torvald. On the other hand, Mrs. Linde sacrifices the whole true love of her personal life and eventually marries another man whom she does not love because she was passionate about supporting the dependents of her relatives. Due to other financial implications and survival, the nurse had to give up her child.

The nurse also perceives herself as being lucky because she has a job even after she had sinned having a child out of wedlock. Therefore, that shows how the society would depict women and their roles. It was considered a sin for one to have a child out of wedlock, something that would not be tolerated primarily by men. During Ibsen’s time, those women who would get illegitimate babies would be stigmatized and the men who would often escape the blame. Ibsen, on the other hand, is not giving out solutions to what is commonly referred to as the the question of women.’ His primary aim was to shine a light on the problems that a small percentage of people were willing to talk about, hence leaving the task of finding answers to other people.

At the beginning of the play, Nora is trying to fulfill the roles for women that are there set aside by the society. These functions are being a dutiful wife to a specific man and becoming a mother. The roles that Nora plays are restricted to meeting the demands of her husband, being there to take good care of the children, creating and enhancing a beautiful home and singing with a soft voice and dancing seductively to the husband (Ibsen 18). Ibsen is trying to bring the suggestion that there is nothing wrong with such duties of a woman, but he highlights the risks of someone’s life to be defined by the society in a manner that will ignore their identity.ConclusionIn general, women in society have been perceived to be the subjects to their husbands.

They are supposed to be submissive and do anything that is prescribed to them by their husbands, fathers or even their brothers, as long as it is a male figure around them. Taking care of their homes, children and whatever little money they earn, their husbands or fathers will have command over it. Regarding career and jobs, women were not supposed to do any rigorous work that requires them to strain as they were considered to be for men. The women were left with less paying jobs to fend for themselves. According to the text, Ibsen presents to us the female characters of Nora, the nurse and Mrs. Linde who go through such tribulations.

Works Cited:

Holledge, Julie. “Addressing The Global Phenomenon Ofa Doll’s House: An Intercultural Intervention.”

Ibsen Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1,В 2008, Pp. 13-28. Ibsen, Henrik. Nora Or, a Doll’s House: A Play. 2017. 17-64 Lee, Elspeth. “Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House.

Adapted by Lally Katz and directed by Steven Mitchell Wright. La Boite Theatre, September 2014.” Queensland Review, vol.В 22, no.В 01,В 2015, pp.В 104-106.