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Response to a ”Doll House” by Henrick Ibsen

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This story written by Henrick Ibsen has made it clear that in the late nineteenth century women were not treated equally to men. Men were stereotyped to be very overpowering, and they had most of the control where the women would tend to the husband’s needs and take care of the family. That was my impression based off of Nora and Torvald’s relationship. I would say though that these two did not have much of a relationship at all, they both lacked a depth of understanding when it came to one another. Author Henrick8u Ibsen argued was, “a woman could not be herself in modern society,” because it is “an exclusively male society, with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint” (A Doll’s House). Ibsen caused a huge controversy because others, like the Europeans, thought that feminism was scandalous and disrespectful. Nora, based on her past, was use to relying on men to take care of her. That explains why it was so easy for her life to be controlled like a puppet in the hands of others. Torvald was manipulative and had complete control over everything Nora did.

Torvald would say things to Nora for example, “My little song-bird must never do that again. A song-bird must have a clean beak to chirp with – no false notes!” (183). Nora was being portrayed more like an object rather than a human being, showing that she was not of great importance to Torvald. Throughout the story Torvald’s appearance began to unfold. He didn’t have a clue to what extent his wife Nora would go for the sake of his well-being; destroying his dignity was not worth risking. Torvald said to Nora, “I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora – bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves” (214). Nora unknowingly committed a crime in order to keep Torvald’s sanity, and has carried the burden of having financial issues. She feared of him finding out because she knew he would never forgive her. When Torvald finally found out the truth, it was hard for him to believe it since he thought Nora was so trustworthy. He had reason to be mad since Nora kept this secret from him, marriages should be based off of trust and honesty. But Nora had reasoning behind it; she was taking care of her husband.

Torvald’s reaction made him into a coward by calling Nora disrespectful names and saying that she had no morals or sense of direction. In all honesty Torvald was scared that if this information got released to the public, it would ruin his reputation and could lose everything. His wife Nora was not worth risking his importance to the community. Torvald finally showed his weaker, childish side and doesn’t deserve sympathy for his inadequate approach to the situation. So that is when Nora realized that this man that she called her husband could not live up to her expectations. In the end, Nora came to the conclusion that she has never been her own person or discovered who she really was. Torvald’s behavior turned a light on for Nora, waking her up from this dream that wasn’t all that real. Thinking about her actual relationship with her husband all of a sudden seemed like it was imaginary and their love was nothing close to real. Living by what society has to say was not in the books for Nora anymore, she wanted to find herself because she found that she has never made her own happiness, or furthermore her own decisions in life. Nora has broken some difficult barriers for women during this time, not so many can accomplish leaving their husbands dignity and reputation behind to diminish for their own happiness.

Works Cited

Ibsen, Henrick. The Works of Ibsen. Roslyn: Black’s Readers Service “A Doll’s House.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 12 February 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.

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