How Does Henrik Ibsen Use Societal Expectations In A Doll's House

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Throughout history, appearance and reputation have always been essential to human culture, and they often dictates how people respond to each other. Consequently, many authors and playwrights have used this fact to develop the conflict in their works. In A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen uses the societal expectations (cultural context) to create a character’s struggle to fulfill their requirements as a member of society which reveals our desire to appear accepted at all costs. The character, Nora, who strives to be the wife and woman defined by society while masking the rules she broke, exposes her need to maintain her image. Torvald, and Krogstad, both seek to be a man that follows and upholds the standard to become a respected member of the…show more content…
After her creditor had placed a letter to expose her in her husband’s mailbox, she went to great lengths to distract him and prevent him from collecting the mail. One notable example is the conversation between Nora and Torvald: “Nora: What are you going to do? Torvald: Only to see if any letters have come Nora: No, no! Don’t do that, Torvald! Torvald: Why not? … Nora: I can’t dance tomorrow if I don’t practice with you?” (pg. 480). The dialogue illustrates the complexity of her schemes to protect her debt. Ibsen 's use of exclamation marks also gives a sense of panic in Nora’s voice which further demonstrates how desperate Nora is to protect her image. These examples show how Ibsen incorporates cultural context to create Nora’s struggle for acceptance. She purposefully acts naive and obedient to Torvald, when in truth she has deviated far from the rules prescribed by society. Since fulfilling these rules often equates to acceptance, Nora by putting in an enormous amount of energy to achieve these guidelines, proves her desire to be accepted by society. Torvald, as Nora’s husband, struggled to be a man that followed and upheld to rules of society to appear acceptable to others. Throughout the play, there were many instances where Torvald had done this. For example, when Nora introduced Mrs. Linde as a potential employee for his bank, Torvald said, “Well, it is not altogether impossible. I presume you are a widow, Mrs. Linde?” (pg.
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