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freedol Nora’s Freedom in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

Nora’s Freedom in A Doll’s House

Perhaps we have all felt the urge to “escape” to some tropical paradise. However, as individuals we have responsibilities and obligations to school, friends and family. These responsibilities and obligations usually keep us from “escaping”. It is difficult to balance our personal need for freedom with our responsibility to others. In Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, the character of Nora Helmer had suffered greatly to achieve her personal freedom.

A woman of the Victorian period, Nora Helmer was both a prisoner of her time as well as a pioneer. In her society women were viewed as a inferior to men and were not provided full legal rights. Women of that era were expected to stay at home and attend to the needs of their spouse and children. Nora was a free spirit just waiting to spread her wings; her husband Torvald would constantly disallow the slightest pleasures that she aspired to have, such as macaroons. (TEACHER COMMENT: THIS STATEMENT WOULD HAVE A BETTER EFFECT IF IT WERE DIRECTLY QUOTED FROM THE PLAY.)

Nora lived a life of lies in order to hold her marriage together. She kept herself pleased with little things such as telling Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde, “I have such a huge desire to say-to hell and be damned” (Ibsen 59)! She did this just so she could release some tension that was probably building inside her due to all the restrictions that Torvald had set up, such as forbidding macaroons. The need for her to consume these macaroons behind her controlling husband’s back was a way for her to satisfy her sense of needing to be an independent woman.

Upon the arrival of her old friend Kristine Linde, Nora took it upon herself to find her friend a job…

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…ority says, or what’s written in books. I have to think over these things myself and try to understand them (Ibsen 111).

In her leaving and the abandoning of her family and the memories that coincide with them, Nora was able to gain her freedom as an individual and was now in search for new responsibilities. We all have wanted to go out on our own and fulfill our responsibility to ourselves. However our need to find our individuality can lead to our downfall, or our success. In Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, an estranged wife, Nora Helmer; suffered to become an individual in her own right and took accountability for her actions to achieve her freedom.

Work Cited:

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Introduction to Literature: Reading, Analyzing, and Writing.2nd ed. Ed. Dorothy U. Seyler and Richard A. Wilan. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1990.

The Awakening of Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

The Awakening of Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

The status of women in the 1800’s, when A Doll’s House was written, was that of a second-class citizen. Women did not have the right to vote, own property, or make legal transactions. The role of women was restricted to that of a housewife. In A Doll’s House, Ibsen does a wonderful job of presenting the character of Nora as person who goes though an awakening about her life. In the beginning, she concerns herself only with being a perfect wife and mother according to the social norms of the time. Later, she realizes that she cannot continue just being her husband’s shadow. Eventually, she decides that she has duties to herself that are above of those of being a wife. She confronts the fact that she’s not complete being the way that her husband, society and the church want for her to be.

Ibsen exposes the fact that Nora’s self image has been molded by the men of her life. First, she is a doll-child … then a doll-bride. She’s a little play toy for the men – a beautiful possession to show off to their friends. This presents the reality of women in the 1800’s. Women were often treated as objects by men.

Little girls were raised to be good mothers and wives. They were taught their role was to make their families happy even if they were not happy themselves. In the play, Nora mentions the way she was treated when she was living at home in her father’s house. She is raised no to have her own identity.

Nora: Yes, it’s true now, Torvald. When I lived at home with Papa, he told me all his opinions, so I had the same ones too; or if they were different I hid them, since he wouldn’t have care for that. He used to call…

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… is representative of the awakening of society to the changing view of the role of woman. A Doll’s House magnificently illustrates the need for and a prediction of this change.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Clurman, Harold. 1977. Ibsen. New York: Macmillan.

Heiberg, Hans. 1967. Ibsen. A Portrait of the Artist. Coral Gables, Florida: University of Miami.

Ibsen, Henrik. “A Doll’s House.” Perrine’s Literature. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1998. pp. 967-1023

Northam, John. 1965. “Ibsen’s Search for the Hero.” Ibsen. A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Shaw, Bernard. “A Doll’s House Again.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1979.

Sturman, Marianne Isben’s Plays I, A Doll’s House Cliffs Notes, 1965.

Thomas, David. Henrik Ibsen. New York: Grove, 1984

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