Inferior Role of a Married Woman Nora in a Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

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Inferior Role of a Married Woman Nora in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Mengdan Shen

Theatre and Drama 120 Section 319
Ashley Bellet

December 9, 2015
Before the twentieth century’s feminism movement, European females suffered from their unfair and discriminated positions in marriage and in society. In his masterpiece A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen creates Nora, a housewife who is dependent financially and socially on her husband, Helmer. Ibsen uses Nora’s marriage to depict and embody the unequal treatment to females in nineteenth century Europe. As another playwright Ella Hickson reviewed this play and commented on the character of Nora:

As we meet her (Nora) in the first two acts she is very much Helmer’s possession. She lives in a house to which she doesn’t have a key for the letter box, she must ask Helmer for any money she needs, she is forced to lie about eating sweets, she must practice dancing when Helmer tells her and she must dress up in the clothes that Helmer likes. These demands, while shrouded in the soft, cooing language of affection, place Nora somewhere between a slave and a child.
Hickson 2
Nora is treated as doll and a plaything owned by Helmer, and she is not expected and allowed to make serious decisions for their household. Also, she does not have much independent financial ability in the society as a housewife due to the social codes. Therefore, as an inferior role in the marriage, she is not treated with enough respect and appreciation by her husband.
Although Helmer seems to be truly enamored of Nora, there is some evidence showing that he only treats Nora as a possession he likes, not a person who deserves respect and appreciation from her husband. One of the most tangible hints is that at the very beginning of Act One, when Helmer first enters, he tries to find Nora by warmly calling her “my little lark” and “my little…...

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