Henrik Ibsen was one of the major writers of drama in the 19th Century (Cummings, 2003). One of his works was ‘A Doll’s House’, in 1879 (“Key Facts”, 2009). It shows the “dirty little secrets about the middle-class values of Norwegians and other Europeans”. In this play, the reader can see how the primary conflict reflects the values of the Norwegian society in the 19th Century. The characters in this play include: 1. “Torvald Helmer”: A bank manager. 2. “Nora”: His Wife. 3. “Mrs. Linde”: Nora’s friend. 4 “Nils Krogstad”: An employee at the bank (Cummings, 2003).
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How Does the Theme Reflect the Society Values in Norway in the 19th Century?
In many parts in this play, lben shows how men were oppressing women in the Norwegian society in the 19th Century. Torvald seems to be the dominating power in the house when it comes to financial decisions. Nora cannot spend money on anything until her husband agrees. Another sign of the existence of discrimination is in the conversation between Nora and Mrs. Linde in Act 1. Mrs. Linde told Nora that she cannot borrow money from people because “a wife cannot borrow without her husband’s consent” (1.1. 186). The part of the play that shows the discrimination the most is the whole Mr. Krogstad story. He was afraid that he will lose his position at the bank after Mr. Torvald starts his new job as the bank manager. Fortunately for Krogstad, he could protect his job by blackmailing the Helmer family. Nora took a loan from the bank to go to Italy with her husband because he was sick. Krogstad was the man who approved it. He found out that “Nora forged her father’s name on the bond she used to secure the money”. Krogstad wanted to take advantage of that situation. He asked her to convince her husband to retain him. Krogstad told Nora that if she doesn’t agree on that deal, he will tell the authorities about the forgery. In that case, her marriage and her husband’s reputation will be put in danger. After that, Nora started to convince her husband to retain Krogstad. He disagreed and said that “Krogstad once forged a document; he must go”. At Christmas day, Nora tried again with Torvald and told him that she would entertain him in every possible way that day if he agrees on keeping Krogstad in his position. He gets angry because he doesn’t like talking about that subject. Torvald didn’t agree on retaining Krogstad because people would think that his wife, a woman, had an influence on him and convinced him to retain Krogstad. Nora blames her husband for his decision. Torvald gets very angry and decides to fire Krogstad immediately. Instead of showing the forgery evidence to the authorities, Krogstad decided to inform Torvald about his wife’s forgery by putting a letter in his mailbox. After Nora knew about that, she tried to distract her husband from opening the mailbox. Her excessive fear of her husband proves that this society oppresses women, because she is supposed to be afraid mainly of the authorities, not her husband. Torvald found the letter. He got very angry at Nora. He decided that Nora will not be looking after kids because “she is a bad influence”. Moments later, Nora received a letter from Krogstad. He says that he takes back everything he said about the forgery. Torvald’s rage was gone, and he decided to forget everything that happened. But it was too late. Nora decided to leave Torvald. She says that “she is tired of being treated like a toy, a plaything, a doll. Her father did it; then Torvald did it”. Torvald reminds her of her duty as a wife and a mother. But she prefers to care about herself only and cut any relationship between her and her husband (Cummings, 2003).
The main conflict in this play shows how men in this society were controlling women in everything, even in their own choices in life. That’s why this play “rocked the stages of Europe when the play premiered” (“About A Doll’s House”, 2009).
About A Doll’s House. (2009). Web.
A Doll’s House: Key Facts. (2009). Web.
Cummings, M. J. (2003). A Doll’s House By Henrik Johan Ibsen (1828-1906): A Study Guide. Web.
Henrik, J. I. (1897). A Doll’s House. Web.
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