Doll\'s House And Woman Liberation

In reading Ibsenís A Dollís House today, a person could find it hard to
imagine how daring it seemed when Ibsen wrote it over one hundred years ago. A
main subject of this play is the emancipation of women from the restrictions
that society and men place on them. When Ibsen wrote this play he was making a
statement about a womanís role in Victorian society. That statement is that
society should allow women to be independent, and that women should free
themselves from the restrictions that society places on them. In Act I, there
are many clues that let us know what kind of marriage Nora and Torvald have. It
seems like Nora is controlled by her husband in every way. She relies on Torvald
for every thing in her life, from the way she thinks, to the way that she gets
money from him. " Torvald, surely we can afford to be extravagant now, canít
we? Just a teeny-weeny bit. You are getting quite a good salary now, and you are
going to earn lots and lots of money...Money...Ten, twenty, thirty, forty. Oh
thank you, thank you, Torvald."( Ibsen 1416). The most obvious example of

Torvaldís control over Nora is his reteaching of the tarantella. Nora pretends
that she needs Torvald to teach her every move in the dance. While reading the
story we can see that Nora already knows the dance. This shows us the
submissiveness that Nora has, when it comes to Torvald. After he teaches her the
dance Torvald says, " as I watched you darting and swaying in the tarantella,
my blood was on fire" (Ibsen 1458). This shows how Torvald is more interested
in Nora physically than emotionally. When Nora responds to Torvald by saying

"Go away Torvald! Leave me alone. I wonít have it"(Ibsen 1458). Torvald
responds to her by saying, "Arenít I your husband? "( Ibsen1458). By
saying this, he is implying that one of Noraís duties as a wife is to
physically pleasure him at his command. Another window from which we can look
into Nora and Torvaldís marriage is the way they talk to each other. They use
pet names every time they talk to each other. "Is that my little sky-lark
chirruping out there? Yes it is. Is that my little squirrel frisking about? Yes!

When did my little squirrel get home?" ( Ibsen 1415). The only time in the
story in which they donít use these pet names is when Nora is leaving Torvald.

This represents her breaking away and leaving behind the restrictions that
society and her husband have placed on her. During the course of the play Nora
sees that some women can live independently. Mrs. Linde shows her this. Mrs.

Linde is an example of an independent woman in society, but only because she is
a widow. Widows are expected to be independent, and work to take care of
themselves and their families. According to Victorian society married women are
suppose to stay at home and take care of the children. Mrs. Linde shows Nora
that she can be an independent woman and free herself from the shackles that
society has placed on her. Throughout the course of the play we see that Torvald
treats Nora like a child. His distrust of her with money shows this. Whenever

Torvald departs with his money, and gives it to Nora he worries what she will do
with it. He thinks that she is very bad with money and that she will just spend
it on something foolish. "If only you could really hold on to the money gave
you." (Ibsen 1416). This statement not only shows how Torvald sees Nora, but
how the Victorian society sees women in general. Torvald treats his wife like a
child, and Mrs.Linde sees this. She shows Nora what Torvald is doing. This
statement by Mrs. Linde shows this "Nora! In lots of ways you are still a
child."(Ibsen 1438). In the play we see that Noraís duties are very
restricted. She is restricted to caring for the children, doing housework, and
working on her needlepoint. A problem with her responsibilities is that most
important obligation is to please Torvald. The other obligations such as caring
for the children, she can let the maid take care of. Her children are another
concern in the play. If Nora continues to let Torvald dominate her than her
children are doomed to follow in her footsteps. The children are being raised to
know their role in society. The Christmas presents that