“A Doll’s House”: Nora and Torvald as Husband and Wife Essay

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In “A Doll’s House,” Ibsen presents us with the drama of Torvald and Nora Helmer, a husband and wife who have been married for eight years and whose lives are controlled by the society in which they live. Their relationship, although seemingly happy, is marred by the constraints of social attitudes around them and their perceived gender roles. Creating even more conflict is the thin veil of deceit between them, which inevitably breaks them apart. In the Victorian era, the status of women in society was extremely oppressive and, by modern standards, atrocious. Women had few rights, in or outside of the home. Married women in this period relied on men almost completely as they had few rights or independence. With this mindset in focus,…show more content…
His image is so significant to him that when he finds out about Nora’s debt and her other misdeeds, his reaction is caustic. “From this moment happiness is not the question; all that concerns us is to save the remains, the fragments, the appearance (Isben 101)." He is ashamed of his wife’s actions but is more afraid of the damage that would be done to his reputation if they were to divorce, something that is greatly looked down upon, or if her actions are made public. Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” shows through multiple instances the very sharp gender roles that were drawn during the Victorian era. “And besides, how painful and humiliating it would be for Trovald, with his manly independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now (Isben 23).” The woman’s place was in the home, caring for the child and meeting the whims of her husband. “The cornerstone of Victorian Society was the family; the perfect lady’s sole function was marriage and procreation (the two, needless to say, were considered as one). All her education was to bring out her “natural” submission to authority and innate maternal instincts (Vicinus x).” This contrast is evident within nearly all of Nora and Torvald’s interactions, such as his referring to her as ‘girl’ and his almost constant condescending tone
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