Struggle For Identity Womans Rights English Literature Essay

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In the play A Doll's House the author, Henrik Ibsen, relates his topic to the fit time frame. Ibsen, while writing this play, approaches women's rights as an important key. Throughout this time period woman were much neglected and looked down upon as anything less than just a housewife. The play was written during a crucial time of Naturalism, which highly affected the everyday household. Ibsen recognized in his writings that in the 19th century woman played a role to be a stay at home mother, raised the children, and adverts to her husband at all times. The character Nora Helmer plays the role as a 19th century housewife in A Doll's House and is interpreted as a victim to woman's rights.

Nora is a distressed housewife that tries to always satisfy her husband, Torvald. In the play she acts as if she has a superior role, which is very important to her character. Nora often feels oppressed from her disappointment from her husband and also the manipulation she gets from Torvald. Torvald is a middle-class man and has a normal relationship with society. "Torvald Helmer upholds these values because it is in his interest to do so. He knows that his dominant quality, self-interest, will be protected by his adherence to conventional morality. He imposes it on his wife, Nora, because it satisfies his vanity and makes her subservient to him. To him the man is the superior being, holding the economic reins and thereby concentrating in his hands all power and responsibility in the household, making the woman his slave" (Goonetilleke). Torvald is an egotistical bank manager with quite a few different job duties that he has to maintain. He cannot seem to figure out the difference between his wife and his job because he treats Nora as if she is another responsibility he has to take care of. Torvald is more fascinated in his appearances and he is with his wife and he should be putting her before anyone else if he supposedly loves her. Torvald is an extremely selfish man that is more worried about his reputation than his wife's feelings. "Helmer: Before all else you are a wife and a mother.

Nora: That I no longer believe. I think that before all else I am a human being, just as much as you are--or, at least, I will try to become one. I know that most people agree with you, Torvald, and that they say so in books. But henceforth I can't be satisfied with what most people say, and what is in books. I must think things out for myself and try to get clear about them. I had been living here these eight years with a strange man, and had borne him three children--Oh! I can't bear to think of it--I could tear myself to pieces! I can't spend the night in a strange man's house" (Ibsen, 1608). The concepts of the quote can relate to the play A Doll House, in Nora Helmer's character, which throughout most of the play is distressed, presents an unrealistic identity to herself and throughout the play she seems to discovery her true identity.

Although Nora and Torvald seem to have a happy marriage it comes to an end where all of their true feelings come out. Nora starts to realize that Torvald treats her like a child in their relationship and she also begins to come to a conclusion on how phony her marriage really is. Torvald looks at Nora as if she has only one role in his life and that is to be a non-backboned loving wife. He refers to Nora as "my little squirrel" (Ibsen, 1559), "my little lark" (Ibsen, 1560), or "spendthrift"(Ibsen, 1562). Nora seems only as an item to him or a toy that he can play around with. Torvald speaks down to Nora and calls her by minimizing pet-names because he feels that she in not intelligent and does not deserve his time of day. Whenever Nora begins to speak what is on her mind or put in her own opinion, Torvald suddenly calls her a pet-name and insults her as a women through comments like; "worries that you couldn't possibly help me with"(Ibsen, 1562), and "Nora, Nora, just like a woman"(1565). In that society Torvald has just a typical husband always degrading his wife. He would not allow Nora the right to act the way she wished nor would he accept the fact that she had a mind of her own too. Torvald required Nora to agree upon everything he had to say whether she wanted to or not.

Nora is an ever-changing character in the play A Doll's House. "The demands she embodies - to be regarded as an autonomous adult, to determine her own system of beliefs, to enjoy a marriage that is a partnership, and to be able to leave the domestic sphere, including her husband and children, in pursuit of self-development" (Stetz) is clearly an example of one of these characters. She goes through many life changing situations and develops her true self more than anyone else in the play. Nora was inauthentic person throughout most of the play. An inauthentic is when a person believes their personality is identical to their behavior. However subconsciously they know that it is not true. Nora became an inauthentic person because she is a grown woman that was pampered all her life by men. Nora was spoon-fed all of her life by her father and husband. She believes in Torvald unquestionably, and has always believed that he was her god or idol. She is the perfect image of a doll wife who revels in the thought of luxuries that she can afford because she is married. She is very flirtatious, and constantly engages in childlike acts of disobedience such as little lies about things such as whether or not she bought macaroons. Nora goes through life with the illusion that everything is perfect.