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A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen: Do Women Have Rights To Choose And The Ability To Act Accordingly?

985 words - 4 pages

Freedom: Do women have rights to choose and the ability to act accordingly?

The answer to this question may seem to be an obvious “no”, or “not really” at least, when we first read “A Doll’s House”. However, in very detailed parts Ibsen did in fact give hints to suggest otherwise.

Throughout the story, Nora interpreted “freedom” differently. At first Nora remarked that when she could pay back all the debts she would be “without a care…being able to romp with the children…and having things just as Torvald likes to have them” (p16). She considered herself to be carefree then even though she was still restricted by her roles, as she later realized. Only at the end of the play was Nora ...view middle of the document...

When the play goes on, the whole unbalanced situation changed. After Nora recognized Torvald’s selfishness and dogmaticalness, she no longer saw freedom in terms of being able to accomplish marital obligations. On the contrary, she defined freedom for herself and Torvald as complete independence from each other, as she banged the door, left the house and started a new life of herself. The very moment before she exited, she said to Torvald that “I can at any rate free you from……there must be full freedom on both sides” (p85). In their final conversation, Nora emphasized her own stance. She affirmed Torvald for several times that she had to abandon the play-room kind of life and venture off to get experience. When Torvald tried to forbid her, she was calm and assertively said “it’s no use forbidding me” (p81). Finally, she had made her own decision and acted subsequently. This was when she got the true freedom.

Some literary techniques were used as evidence, mainly proxemics and imagery. The whole play was set inside the house. Until the last act, Nora was in every scene; the action of the play all came to her. Even the maids were going in and out for work, Nora, as a wife, stayed almost all the time. She was literally trapped in domestic comfort, illustrating the idea of limitations and confinements. The setting was dramatically ironic, in a sense, there are actually doors pointing the way to freedom, but Nora was still “trapped” inside the tradition of the patriarchal society.

On the other hand imagery was used to deliver an underlying message at the same time. Ibsen used a door as a symbol for the stifling social stigma and expectation of women was probably because he was conveying the idea that women were to step out for...

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