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A Doll's House

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Juan Adrian Ccopa Macavilca

Katie Macnamara

English 603-102-MQ s.00020

Family Ties: An Introduction to Modern Drama

10 October, 2015

Ambassador of Feminism

Directly during the climax, Henrik Ibsen includes an important thing in his play “A doll’s house”, which reveals a dominant behaviour between 1879’s men and women. We are struck by the seemingly “feminism” of women from ancient times, given that it’s lived in a machist culture replete with concern of fulfilling, where women are considered the week sex. However, Nora, who is the main character of the play, was anything but weak minded, all the play based on her struggling escaping from that impotence of life. Nora dared to challenge that worldwide taboo that is feminism at that time, fighting for her own situation as a “house doll “.

“It is perfectly true, Torvald. When I was at home with papa, he told me his opinion about everything, and so I had the same opinions; and if I differed from him I concealed the fact, because he would not have liked it. He called me his doll-child, and he played with me just as I used to play with my dolls. And when I came to live with you--…I mean that I was simply transferred from papa's hands into yours. You arranged everything according to your own taste, and so I got the same tastes as you --or else I pretended to…I have existed merely to perform tricks for you, Torvald…You and papa have committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life”

 This specific quote of the play deserves a closer look, revealing the harsh reality of a stubborn woman in a society ruled by machos.

The woman plays an important role in the society as an autonomous being, able to protect her freedom and independence. Inside this play, Nora is represented as a character that does not have prohibitions when it comes to make decisions in her life and to know what she wants.  She was born to be revolutionary in her rights but, unfortunately, she knew an era where “a wife [could not] borrow without her husband’s consent”(“A doll’s house”,p.379). Nora never learned to be herself because she was always handled by manipulative men and she believed that the exploitation of others were a societal norm. For this reason, Nora has never had autonomy since she had always been dependent of her own father. In fact, the man used to “play” (line 3) with his daughter like he would do with a doll. Barbie dolls are known to be the most feminine toys ever. They were created with the only purpose to be spoiled and look pretty, equally to every damsel, lady, duchess, or pretty much every women of the modern era and before.

As for Helmer, husband of Nora, he presented a rigid attitude. He showed himself as a very possessive person and established rules in the life of his wife, in the same way as a father would have raised a child: choosing her way of dressing , making her live and treating her like a child by giving her  little names such as “little Alondra”. Based on this result, we can deduce that the relationship between Nora and Helmer was more alike of a father and daughter’s than of a husband and wife’s. In fact, Nora was “transferred” (line 4) to the hands of a stranger with the same characteristics of her father. After all, when she got to live with her husband, her lifestyle didn’t get improve, since [she had] “existed merely to perform tricks for […] Torvalds [and] made nothing of [her] life”(lines 6-7). Nora tried to do her best to save Helmer’s health by earning money, and not always in legal ways. Since then, Helmer’s desires were now the main attraction of her life. Nora finally seemed to understand that she had not been herself throughout her marriage with her husband. “If you were really to save out of the money I give you, and then really buy something for yourself. But if you spend it all of the housekeeping and any number of unnecessary things then I merely have to pay up again” (“A doll’s house”, p.372). Nora seemed to be independent because Helmer gave her money, but we finally realize that this money returned to him because she must have bought what he told her to. It’s also clear that she had been nothing more than entertainment to her husband as he would have her dance for him, among other things. As if it wasn’t enough, we can deduce that he loved her docile and it is for performing all those tricks that he endured her strong comportment.

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