Rebellion Against Society in Ibsen's A Doll's House Essay

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Rebellion Against Society in A Doll's House

An underlying theme in A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, is the rebellion against social expectations to follow what one believes in their heart. This theme is demonstrated as several of the play's characters break away from the social norms of their time and act on their own beliefs. No one character demonstrates this better than Nora. Nora rebels against social expectations, first by breaking the law, and later by taking the drastic step of abandoning her husband and children.

During the time in which the play took place society frowned upon women asserting themselves. Women were supposed to play a role in which they supported their husbands, took care of their children,
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In the first secession Ibsen illustrates that despite Nora doing the right thing it is deemed wrong and not allowed by society because she is a woman. While the forgery can be considered wrong, Ibsen is critical of the fact that Nora is forced to forge. Ibsen is also critical of society's expectations of a marriage. He illustrates this by showing how Nora is forced to play a role rather than be herself and the eventual deterioration of the marriage.

Nora's second, and strongest, break from society's rules was shown by her decision to leave Torvald and her children. Society demanded that she take a place under her husband. This is shown in the way Torvald spoke down to her saying things like "worries that you couldn't possibly help me with" (Ibsen Page #), and "Nora, Nora, just like a woman" (Ibsen page #). She is almost considered to be property of his: "Mayn't I look at my dearest treasure? At all the beauty that belongs to no one but me - that's all my very own" (Ibsen page #)? By walking out she takes a position equal to her husband and destroys the very foundation of society's expectations of a wife and mother. Nora also breaks society's expectations of staying in a marriage since divorce was frowned upon during that era. Her decision represented a break from all expectations placed upon a woman by society. Throughout the play Nora is looked down upon and treated as a possession by her husband. She is
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