Social Norms In A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen

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Henrik Ibsen’s drama A Doll’s House, was written in 1879 and directly reflects social norms of the time period. In the nineteenth century, women were viewed as subservient to men, and their social liberties were minimal. The different characters in Ibsen’s drama show both acceptance of and defiance of these norms, as displayed through many of their decisions. Torvald fits the role of breadwinner, and is very conscious of his family’s reputation. However, the main character, Nora, unprecedentedly works to deny societal standards of an obedient wife and mother, and works to expose the flaws of her husband. Through his literary talents, Ibsen displays a great understanding of the strict social standards of the world he lived in, and ultimately shows a rejection of these norms.

Most men in the nineteenth century world had their roles in the home predetermined for them. They were destined to be breadwinners, with a main
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Men especially were measured by how others perceived their family, and a mistake of any size was detrimental to their status. The way in which the drama conveys this is through Torvald 's obsessive focus on what others think of him, and how they will judge his family. An example of this comes near the end of the book when Torvald finds out of Nora’s crime, and is angry that she would bring shame to him like that. When Torvald initially reacts to the letter he says, “Now you’ve wrecked all my happiness- my whole future. Oh, it’s awful to think of… Can you see now what you’ve done to me.” (Ibsen 106) He only sees the possible harm Nora’s crime will do to his reputation, not how she could be punished for her actions. This was very common in the nineteenth century, as a person’s reputation defined their status as well as their opportunities within their society as a

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