Inferior Role of a Married Woman Nora in a Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

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Inferior Role of a Married Woman Nora in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

Mengdan Shen

Theatre and Drama 120 Section 319
Ashley Bellet

December 9, 2015
Before the twentieth century’s feminism movement, European females suffered from their unfair and discriminated positions in marriage and in society. In his masterpiece A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen creates Nora, a housewife who is dependent financially and socially on her husband, Helmer. Ibsen uses Nora’s marriage to depict and embody the unequal treatment to females in nineteenth century Europe. As another playwright Ella Hickson reviewed this play and commented on the character of Nora:

As we meet her (Nora) in the first two acts she is very much Helmer’s possession. She
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While Helmer feels jealous when hearing the stories, Doctor Rank is more willing to hear about them, which indicates that Helmer shows less respect even than Nora’s friend does to her. Besides Helmer’s disallowance of talking about other friends, the absolute ownership of Nora displayed by Helmer can also be found in other scenes. For example, when Nora says it is nice of her to do as Helmer wishes, her husband responds “Nice? -- Because you do as your husband wishes? Well, well, you little rogue, I am sure you did not mean it in that way” (Ibsen 33). It sounds as if Helmer considers the fact that wives should obey every word of husbands as a matter of course, and husbands never make any compromises. To Helmer, it is absurd that Nora considers it as a favor instead of a duty to obey his wishes.
In addition, Helmer loves Nora only because it is pleasant for him to love Nora. It is obvious to infer from the last act of the play. Shortly before Helmer discovers the truth about the loan, he fantasizes that he would like to protect Nora, saying that “I have often wished that you might be threatened by some great danger, so that I might risk my life’s blood, and everything, for your sake” (Ibsen 58). However, within minutes of discovering her wrongdoing he thinks only of himself and abuses Nora. “Nora had assumed her husband, in love, would try to defend her, but she was wrong” (Hickson 5). Helmer is willing to do anything as long
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