Doll\'s House And Women Rights
"A Doll House" is no more about womenís rights than Shakespeareís

Richard II is about the divine right of kings, or Ghosts about syphilis. . ..

Its theme is the need of every individual to find out the kind of person he or
she is and to strive to become that person." (Bloom 28) Ibsen portays this
behavior in A Doll House through one of the main characters, Nora Helmer, by
setting the scene in Norway in 1872. In the late 1800s, women did not play an
important role in society at all. Their job was mainly to cook, clean, sew, take
care of the children, and keep the house in order. They were treated as a
material possession rather than a human being that could think and act for
themselves and looked upon as a decorative member of the household. Women were
robbed of their true identity and at the end of the play, Nora leaves everything
behind to go out into the world to seek her identity. This behavior can be
traced back to the beginning of time when women were to stay home and gather
nuts and berries, while the men would go out and do the hunting and fishing. The
male always dominated over the women and it was not viewed as "unfair." Male
children would go to school to get an education in history, mathematics,
science, english/writing, while the female would go to school to learn how to
cook, sew, clean, and do household chores. The male could then further advance
his education by attending a college or university, whereas no college would
accept a women student. "The history of mankind is a history of repeated
injuries and usurpations on the part of men toward woman, having in direct
object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her." (Declaration of

Sentiments) It was believed that women were the inferior gender and had to have
special attention given to them. This idea dates back to the Medieval Period in
history and is where the whole idea of chivalry came about and men having to
provide special care. One can see that the idea of male superiority can be
referenced back to very early on in civilization to the day A Doll House was
written. "Torvald: You stay right here and five me a reckoning. You understand
what youíve done? Answer! You understand?" (Ibsen 187) Torvald says this to

Nora when he finds out that she took out a loan without his consent and forging
a signature. It is prevalent that Torvald is in a state of anger and he is
dominating the situation, letting Nora know who is in charge and not even
wanting an explanation to "why?" she took out a loan. Women were very
limited in their rights in 1872. Such rights included: women had to submit to
laws when they had no voice in their formation, married women had no property
rights, husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the
extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity, divorce and child
custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women and when women did work they
were paid only a fraction of what men earned, women were not allowed to enter
professions such as medicine or law, and women were robbed of their
self-confidence and self-respect, and were made totally dependent on men.
(Declaration of Sentiments) Ibsen makes references to this using Christine Linde,
widow and a friend to Nora. Christineís husband died and left her penniless
and being that her father passed away, she is able to apply for a position at he
the bank. This is the only exception society made in women holding a job outside
the household. It is apparent that women have come a long way since 1872,
gaining the right to vote in 1920 under the 19th amendment in the constitution,
gaining a right to an equal education, owning property, and having a job. These
were all results of the womenís rights movement amongst others. Throughout the
play, Nora plays the role of a typical women in the 1800s, staying by her
husbandís side, taking care of the children, and doing all the household
chores. She does, however, go behind Torvaldís back when she takes out the
loan. When she realizes that she is unfit to do anything in life and announces
her remedy-"I have to try to educate myself" (Ibsen 192) she walks out the
door and expresses a deal of feminism universally agreed-upon base for womenís
emancipation, telling