A Doll House: a Feminist Approach to the Play by Henrik Ibsen

1265 Words Dec 25th, 2006 6 Pages
A Doll House
A feminist approach to the play by Henrik Ibsen

The Feminist movement is an ongoing reaction against the male definition of woman. In most western civilizations men have dominated politics, society and the economy of their worlds. They have suppressed the voices of the women so that they could mold it the way they wanted it. Thus they defined what was feminine as insubstantial, subservient and devoid of will. Femininity was further emotion driven, illogical, naive and ought not be taught to be anything else. Feminism has been changing the world for more than a century and the new viewpoints it has brought give a new insight into literature. Feminist critics siphon the male perspective from a piece and look carefully at
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Torbald tries to love his wife in the best way he understands how. He has many little pet names for her, but they are really literally that. He speaks to her as though she is a naturally disobedient dog that he must train. He wants her to be a ‘lark' or ‘songbird' so he can enjoy her music, or a ‘squirrel' who will skitter about to please him. He doesn't seem to want a being that thinks and acts for herself. She must, without his guidance, become a ‘spendthrift' or a ‘Sweet tooth,' which she ought not to be because he has forbidden such behavior in his wife. When she disobeys him he calls her ‘goose' or ‘little bundle of stubbornness' to get his point across to her without offence. He wants her to be his frightened dove, easily malleable to his will and in need of his guidance and protection.
Nora's character is comparable to the evolution of feminism itself. She subjected herself to the influence of her husband for a long time before she got the idea that maybe she could do something on her own. She decides that she can try to branch out from him and become important to him. As would have been an obstacle to her in looking for a loan, feminists needed to work through systems approved by men. Both found ways around the system, and for a while were proud of their endeavors. When their beautiful fruits began to rot before them both, the feminists and Nora reached out for the safety net of the masculine and found that it would not hold them. They could not have a