A Doll\'s House

In reading Ibsen\'s A Doll\'s House today, one may find it hard to
imagine how daring it seemed at the time it was written one
hundred years ago. Its theme, the emancipation of a woman, makes it
seem almost contemporary.

In Act I, there are many clues that hint at the kind of marriage

Nora and Torvald have. It seems that Nora is a doll controlled by

Torvald. She relies on him for everything, from movements to thoughts,
much like a puppet who is dependent on its puppet master for all of
its actions. The most obvious example of Torvald\'s physical control
over Nora is his reteaching her the tarantella. Nora pretends that she
needs Torvald to teach her every move in order to relearn the dance.

The reader knows this is an act, and it shows her submissiveness to

Torvald. After he teaches her the dance, he proclaims "When I saw you
turn and sway in the tarantella-my blood was pounding till I couldn\'t
stand it"(1009), showing how he is more interested in Nora physically
than emotionally. When Nora responds by saying "Go away, Torvald!

Leave me alone. I don\'t want all this"(1009), Torvald asks "Aren\'t I
your husband?"(1009). By saying this, he is implying that one of

Nora\'s duties as his wife is to physically pleasure him at his
command. Torvald also does not trust Nora with money, which
exemplifies Torvald\'s treating Nora as a child. On the rare occasion
when Torvald gives Nora some money, he is concerned that she will
waste it on candy and pastry; in modern times, this would be
comparable to Macauly Culkin being given money, then buying things
that "would rot his mind and his body" in the movie Home Alone. Nora\'s
duties, in general, are restricted to caring for the children, doing
housework, and working on her needlepoint. A problem with her
responsibilities is that her most important obligation is to please

Torvald, making her role similar to that of a slave. Many of Ibsen\'s
works are problem plays in which he leaves the conclusion up to the
reader. The problem in A Doll\'s House lies not only with Torvald, but
with the entire Victorian society. Females were confined in every way
imaginable. When Torvald does not immediately offer to help Nora after

Krogstad threatens to expose her, Nora realizes that there is a
problem. By waiting until after he discovers that his social status
will suffer no harm, Torvald reveals his true feelings which put
appearance, both social and physical, ahead of the wife whom he says
he loves. This revelation is what prompts Nora to walk out on

Torvald. When Torvald tries to reconcile with Nora, she explains to
him how she had been treated like a child all her life; her father had
treated her much the same way Torvald does. Both male superiority
figures not only denied her the right to think and act the way she
wished, but limited her happiness. Nora describes her feelings as"always merry, never happy." When Nora finally slams the door and
leaves, she is not only slamming it on Torvald, but also on everything
else that has happened in her past which curtailed her growth into a
mature woman. In today\'s society, many women are in a situation
similar to Nora\'s. Although many people have accepted women as being
equal, there are still people in modern America who are doing their
best to suppress the feminist revolution. People ranging from
conservative radio-show hosts who complain about "flaming femi-nazis,"
to women who use their "feminine charm" to accomplish what they want
are what is holding the female gender back. Both of these mindsets are
expressed in A Doll\'s House. Torvald is an example of today\'s
stereotypical man, who is only interested in his appearance and the
amount of control he has over a person, and does not care about the
feelings of others. Nora, on the other hand, is a typical example of
the woman who plays to a man\'s desires. She makes Torvald think he is
much smarter and stronger than he actually is. However, when Nora
slams the door, and Torvald is no longer exposed to her manipulative
nature, he realizes what true love and equality are, and that they
cannot be achieved with people like Nora and himself together. If
everyone in the modern world were to view males and females as
completely equal, and if neither men nor women used the power that
society gives them based on their sex, then, and only then, could true
equality exist in our world.