Essay on A Woman of No Importance and a Dolls House

994 Words Feb 24th, 2013 4 Pages
Explore the presentation of Nora Helmer as a deceitful female character in “A doll’s house.” Compare and contrast your findings with the way Wilde presents his female protagonist Mrs. Arbuthnot in “A woman of no importance.”
By Gheirey Mulliken
Both “A doll’s house” by Henrik Ibsen and “A woman of no importance” by Oscar Wilde were about Nora Helmer and Rachel Arbuthnot (protagonists) and their role as; mothers, wives, and new women. They were written and performed in Victorian times, for a Victorian audience and they believed in keeping up with your appearances and maintaining a high social status. In order to do so they had to abide by the Victorian code of conduct to remain ‘good’ in the eyes of other people.
Nora and Rachel are
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They would have looked down on her because she was a fallen woman, which was frowned upon. However if this play was performed in front of a modern audience they would have had a different reaction. They would have understood Rachel’s decision to hide her past, and conceal the truth from her son. They would have offered her sympathy because she has been a martyr all her life.
In Henrik Ibsen’s play “A doll’s house” a modern audience would have formulated a different reaction from a Victorian audience. The latter might have said that they would have done the same thing as Nora, because a modern audience would entertain the idea of independent women and believed that she was better off without her husband. A modern audience would also see that her marriage was one that was not worth saving, because he was not a man of his word. He abandoned her when she needed him the most. However some would argue that she should have not left her children behind or that Helmer should have been the one to leave the house, because he was the man. A Victorian audience would question Nora’s decision when she was leaving her husband, because he was going to be earning more money. She had stayed with him when he was nothing and now when he is finally going to move up the social ladder, she leaves him. They wouldn’t understand the circumstances of the situation, because it was not acceptable to separate from your husband.
In Helmer’s very first line

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