A dolls House

A dolls House - It was in 1890 when Henrik Ibsens play, A...

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It was in 1890 when Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House made its first emergence to the world. It explores the roles of women in the late eighteen hundreds. The play reveals the compromises that women of this period, the Victorian era, made to “fit” into society. Ibsen analyzes the different outlooks, privileges, and opportunities for women as well as the sacrifices in a world dominated by men. “The barrier of the Victorian class system rigidly defined the role of a woman. Divided into four distinct classes, Nobility and Gentry, Middle Class, "Upper" Working Class, and "Lower" Working class, these women each had their own specific standards and roles. They were expected to adhere to these standards alone, and it was considered a high offense to adopt to the standards of another.” Nevertheless, whether being from the highest class of nobility and gentry or the lowest class of the “lower” working classes, women from any class were taught that “a woman’s place was in the home” (Wojtczak). And “though the life of an upper class woman might seem easier and more secure than that of a lower class woman, it was not always so.” Whether married or single, all Victorian women could not inherit land, titles and money; inheritance went to the closest male relative-usually the eldest son. “Only the small amount of money set aside as a woman’s marriage dowry went to an unmarried woman after the death of her father. As a result, many mothers and daughters were left extremely poor after the death of their husband and father” (“Women of Victorian England”). It was not until 1887 under the Married Woman’s Property Act that women had the right to own her own property (Wojtczak). Thus, the role of a woman in any social class was inferior to that of a man, especially in marriages. All decision making, work and politics were the left to the male authority figures. It was throughout Ibsen’s
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Sauersinger 2 play that he “was prying open a Pandora’s box of ills and conflicts behind the private and secret doors that still have resonance today, in this case, a woman’s place in a male-dominated society”(Rajan). Ibsen used three types of women to force his audience to question the gender roles constructed by society: Nora Helmer who is married and dependent on her spouse, Torvald; Mrs. Kristine Linde who is a widow, independent and has to find employment; and Anne-Marie, who was Nora’s nurse when she was young and is now the nurse to Nora’s own three small children. “Nora is a content housewife, who fills the social rules accepted of a Victorian woman” (“A Doll House; A Woman's Self-Discovery in a Patriarchal Society”). She is portrayed as a daughter, a mother and a wife. Her roles are to meet the desires of her husband and children. According to her husband Torvald, “Almost everyone who goes bad early in life has a mother who is a chronic liar;” in other words, full responsibility of a child’s outcome is by the actions of the mother (1732). The wife is also considered the
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This note was uploaded on 09/15/2011 for the course ENGL 102 taught by Professor Mock during the Spring '08 term at GA Military.

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A dolls House - It was in 1890 when Henrik Ibsens play, A...

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