Essay on Henry Ibsen's "A Doll's House"

Essay by misterwhiskersCollege, UndergraduateA-, February 2003

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In 19th Century Denmark, the Danish were undergoing a struggle to define who they actually were, as conservatives opposed the reform-minded liberals. Ibsen implies the importance of social acceptability throughout this play, touching upon several different factors of Danish society, as this text will explain. "A Doll's House" grants that the status of women in 19th century Denmark; their roles weren't dominant, households were patriarchal, the wives/mothers' were present to be eye candy, doing as the husband pleased. An example from this comes from the text; "A wife cannot borrow without her husbands consent" and "This is shocking, how you would neglect your most sacred duties," referring to Nora's plan to desert her home, her husband and her children without considering what others would say. Women had little to no economic or professional status; as if they were employed, they would have the lowest ranking position, and they were not allowed to obtain money from a bank without written consent from their spouse.

On the other hand, men had the dominant roles regarding legal standing, economic standing, professional and marital standing. Men were the rulers of the household, as well as they were the families' source of income. Torvald held high possessions in his professions; he was a devout and honest bank manager and lawyer; two of the trustworthiest jobs available. Dr. Rank wasn't the same; although he held a high position as a doctor in the town, he didn't care much about his dominance or his social acceptability; he knew of his problems and that he was about to die, therefore enjoying his life to the best of his abilities.

There was an attitude developed towards dependence and independence; basically assuring that the males were independent, as they could live on their own yet still be able to supply...