A Doll’s House Reaction
Reaction Paper on A Doll’s House There has never been a shortage of literature with gender roles as a main topic, and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is one of the premier works on the subject. Known for being startlingly ahead of its time, this play holds a firm spot in literary history and has been adapted in live theatre countless times over the past century.
The dogma of what is proper and expected of both men and women for no other reason than their gender is questioned by Ibsen in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, and his whimsical haracters cause viewers and readers to think about how relevant the topic of gender roles are today; perhaps even more so than when this play was first written. Ibsen provokes questions as to the roles of men and women in both a social and domestic setting and leads audiences to believe there is more to this complex subject than what lies on the surface of the everyday man and woman couple.
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The title of the play is the first clue as to the content. Dolls are toys meant for little girls and are mainly meant to be spruced up and look pretty, which fits perfectly with how Torvald elieves his “little lark” or his “little squirrel” should be. Torvald hides his belittlement with these terms of endearment and this creates a false image of love, Just like one would see as a scene inside a doll house. Nora believes he loves her unquestioningly and completely, and her actions are motivated by this belief in his love.
She says to Dr. Rank at one point: miou know how devotedly, how inexpressibly deeply Torvald loves me; he would never for a moment hesitate to give his life for me. ” (House pg. 795). But in reality, Torvald cares more about his own image and the false “respect” he gets from others than he does about the overall wellbeing of his family and wife. To Torvald, the appearance of the dolls and their house is more important than anything else. The social role of women in cultures across the world has varied greatly.
Some cultures have had women leading them for many years; other more male-dominated cultures cringe at the very idea of being “subservient” to a woman. Torvald cannot stand the idea of owing anything of importance to a woman, even his wn wife, the one person he should be able to show vulnerability to rely on as a companion. His male-driven ego puts the import of his image above even his love for his wife, which should be paramount to all things. Torvald exposes himself as a weak and cowardly man, bankrupt of moral fiber and substance, which Nora proves to be so much more than how she is first viewed.
She rises above the adversities of the play and proves to be intelligent, resourceful, and able to make difficult decisions because she believes them to be right and good even though they cause her uffering. These two characters show a complete flip in role as Nora being the truly complex and human character while Torvald is shallow, conceited, and Just an abysmal excuse for a person. Ibsen shows desirable character traits are not specific to gender, and even when the most terrible conflicts arise there is no telling for certain who will snow their true and radiant colors, regardless ot gender.
Another thing to consider is Just how much Nora sacrifices by the end of the play, while Torvald Jumps ship when he is first made aware of trouble. Nora is motivated by true ove to give up fancy clothes, to risk her name and reputation, and even precious time spent with her children and husband in order to save Torvald’s life even though she never thinks the time will come when he should be made aware of her efforts and sacrifices.
She silently takes the extra work in stride and even manages to trick her husband to buy into her false image of being a spendthrift, all so she can save his life. She even gives up her children, whom she loves to no end, because she truly believes their caretaker will be able to raise them into better people. Nora is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of her family throughout the entire play, and this shows incredible strength of character that any person, man or woman, should be Jealous of and strive to achieve.
How many people would be able to deal with the kind of responsibility and burden she does without even the luxury of telling anyone about the situation for such a long time? By the end of the play, Ibsen has effectively flipped the typical role of man and woman even by todays culture’s standards, though it is much more accepted now than it was in the past. Remembering the time frame in which this play was originally written speaks for itself in showing Just how ahead of its time this literary piece was.
Nora walks out of her doll house and stakes her claim to independence as a woman and a human being, not with any malicious intent in her heart, but with the desire to pursue her own happiness. She considers these duties to herself Just as sacred as being a wife and a mother (House pg. 815). Her entire view of where her place in life is changes when she sees Torvald for how he is on the inside, and she begins to realize she is ot happy and never was.
It comes time for her to take her life into her own hands and experience things without the tether of what a woman “should” be based on the declarations of a domineering male society. Ibsen’s genius seems like the normal views of todays standards, but the fact remains that he wrote this play back in 1879 when the roles of men and women were much more set in stone and had distinguished forms and etiquette. Women were seen as shallow, emotional, and incapable of dealing with serious issues while men were the true accomplishers and uilders of society.