Henrik Ibsen's play, 'A Doll's House.'

Essay by mariek04High School, 12th gradeA+, July 2003

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Nora, the dominant character in the literary drama "A Doll's House", is impacted by numerous societal standards of nineteenth century Norway. Author Henrik Ibsen illustrates the common disregard for women concerning respect, monetary control, employment, and public behavior that Nora faced.

Foremost, women did not receive respect from men. This is evident in "A Doll's House" when Torvald, Nora's husband, refers to her by immature titles such as little lark', 'little squirrel', 'featherhead', and 'songbird'. He also speaks to her as a much loved subordinate. Initially, these remarks appear to be appreciated by Nora, but by the play's finale, she laments to Torvald that he has managed her like a doll throughout the entire duration of their eight year marriage.

An additional struggle for women during the late 1800's in Norway was the fact that they did not have access to, or authority over, monetary funds. For women of this era, it was essential that they have their husband's authorization to borrow, earn, or spend money.

When Torvald's ailing health requires an excursion to Italy to recuperate, Nora does not let him know of their financial difficulties. Instead, she forges a document and borrows money from the less than honorable Nils Krogstad.

Furthermore during this time period, there existed a taboo pertaining to high society women working. To reimburse Krogstad, Nora decides to acquire a job secretly. Since she never did anything on her own previously, she finds ample pride and pleasure in earning her own money. Nora had to conceal the fact that she worked so she would not degrade Torvald's masculine image.

Ultimately, an unyielding standard of proper behavior was expected from women in public places. Females cursing, for instance, was considered extremely appalling. When Nora exclaims "I'm damned!" out loud, her friend, Mrs. Linde...