Documented essay on "A Doll's House"

Essay by JordanMay129College, UndergraduateA, May 2004

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Henrik Ibsen, author of "A Doll's House," portrays women holding a sacrificial role in a man's society in all economic classes. In an exceedingly patriarchal society, men thought status, reputation, and income extremely important to be uphold. They needed to be seen as leading figures in their homes and in the community. Women, constrained by society, were at a distant second, thought to be merely possessions, "marital chattel," (Archer 223), William Archer, a Scottish dramatist and drama critic of the London stage in the late nineteenth century.

Torvald said, "A secure job, and a good income - isn't it wonderful?," (Ibsen, 1512), showing he has a clear understanding that in his society, security is highly valued. "But is was equally natural that a business man would, at the fist blush of things, be very angry at the idea of forgery connected with his spotless name", (Scott 222), Clement Scott, a theater critic for the Daily Telegraph from 1871 to 1898.

These words are said in a conversation with Nora, but rather out of place, changing the subject of his loving family, to himself. Self-image and reputation are a prime

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concern of Torvald. This is exemplified when he says, " man would sacrifice

his honor for the one he loves," (1553).

As the play's title alludes to, Torvald is very possessive of Nora, treating her diminutively when he addressed her as "little songbird," "doll baby," and "lark." Other times he addressed her as "My darling. No one else's. My sweetheart, my treasure." Using the repetition of the word 'my' shows Torvald's true possessive nature. In the first and second acts, Nora responds favorably to the attention she receives from her beauty, dancing, and reciting. At that time she believed that her relationship with Torvald was truly satisfying. Nora's...