Henrik Ibsen wrote the play A Doll's House in a time when women were amidst a social struggle in order to stop the oppression society placed on them concerning their roles. The main character in Ibsen's play is Nora Helmer, the beautiful wife of Torvald Helmer. She struggles with her need to escape Torvald's power, and be able to learn things about the real world, which she has never experienced. Ibsen wants Nora's exit to be interpreted as an expression of her freedom, intelligence, individualism in an oppressive society and most of all escaping a life that is not her own.
The title A Doll's House is a metaphor for how Torvald and Nora are living. Their lives are a game in which Nora is a doll for Torvald to play with and do with as he pleases. Torvald calls her demeaning names like "skylark", "squirrel" and "songbird", which she does not like.
By using these names Torvald does not treat Nora as a mature woman in her twenties. Instead she plays the role of his child-wife and goes along with it. To get her way she must play the role Torvald gave her.
NORA. If little squirrel asked you really prettily to grant her a wish--
NORA. Would you grant it to her?
HELMER. First I should naturally have to know what it was.
NORA. Squirrel would do lots of pretty tricks for you if you granted her wish.
In their game though, it seems as if Nora is in control. She always gets her own way, eating macaroons, spending money as well as receiving more from Torvald.
HELMER. [follows her] Now, now! My little songbird mustn't droop her
wings. What's this? Is little squirrel sulking? [Takes out his purse] Nora; guess
what I've got here.