A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen: A Literary Analysis

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A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen follows the story of Nora Helmer, a married woman who faces the consequences of her actions after partaking in a fraudulent business deal. Living in late nineteenth-century Norway, Nora accomplishes the traditional tasks that a wife and mother were expected to complete. She relies on her husband’s income, takes care of her two children, and obeys her husband. She differs from her friend, Christine Linde, who works to make a living. Christine married to support her family and not for love, a common occurrence of the time. Nora and her husband, Torvald Helmer, appear to have a happy relationship, until she reveals to him that she has committed fraud in order to save his life. Torvald’s unexpected fury causes Nora …show more content…
Similar to most marriages in the time period, Nora relies wholly on the income of her husband and spends her time taking care of her children. Torvald talks to his wife like she is a child, calling her his “squirrel”, and he puts her on display. After she dances her Tarantella, he parades her around the room for the other people to admire her. She is little more than an object to him. Although Nora begs Torvald to allow Nils Krogstad, who has threatened her, to keep his position in the bank, Torvald refuses to let himself listen to the advice of his wife. He views his opinions as more important than those of a woman. When Torvald discovers that Nora has engaged in a fraudulent business deal, he says, “You have ruined all my future” (54). Because Nora is a reflection of his values, he feels responsible for her actions and elevates himself to the position of her educator. While he blames Nora for her ignorance, he also blames her father for neglecting to educate his daughter in religion, an area that middle class women were expected to immerse themselves in. Without religion, Torvald believes Nora has gone astray. When Krogstad arrives, Torvald orders Nora to take off her shawl to make herself look more appeasing to a male’s eye. He does not hesitate to objectify his wife in order to protect his position in society. Within the family unit, …show more content…
She initially married because she needed money to aid her younger brothers and her ill mother. Because men received higher salaries than women, Christine had to rely upon a husband in order to provide for her family. When her husband died, she worked as a saleswoman and then a schoolteacher, the primary occupations available for women. Christine comes to Nora, and when Torvald hears that Christine is looking for work, he jumps to the conclusion that she is a widow. At the time, a married woman would not seek work because she could expect her husband to support her. Torvald offers her a bookkeeping position, replacing Krogstad with Christine. Christine displaces a man from his job, emphasizing the growing power of women in the workforce. Nevertheless, Christine is offered a lowly position although she has been working for several years. Later, Christine offers to marry Krogstad in order to become a mother to his children. Christine says, “I could not endure life without work...There is not the least pleasure in working for one’s self. Nils, give me someone and something to work for” (46). Although Christine wants to fulfill a traditional domestic role as a mother and a wife, she suggests that she will continue to work. The amicable union between the two demonstrates a woman’s ability to both marry and work. Ibsen uses Christine to depict the changing views of working women

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