Victorian Gender Roles

Good Essays
Ibsen may have meant Nora to be the heart of the play, but she is not the only character he uses to show the negative affects of Victorian gender roles. He also uses Nora’s husband to do this. Torvald, though not having a revelation that perhaps the gender roles imposed upon him are restrictive, is still negatively affected by Victorian ideals of masculinity. Even though like Torvald in the 19th century weren’t subject to the same gender roles as women, they still had their own defined gender roles in society and marriage that were just as strict that created unhealthy behaviors.
The first part of the expectations placed upon Torvald were due to his social class as well as his gender. As someone in charge of a bank, Torvald can solidly be placed in the middle class. Through being a man in the middle class in the Victorian era, Torvald already has defined expectations placed upon him. Now that men middle class families no longer worked inside the home, and now that the male and female spheres were more divided and defined, the husband of the household was viewed as the sole breadwinner (Tosh, 25). Working and providing successfully for one’s family was attached to male self-respect in the 18th century, but this had been magnified by the 19th century (Tosh, 14). The burden of providing was placed entirely on the man, thus putting pressure on him to be successful, and causing him to put a great deal of stock in his reputation as well. On a less public and more private level,
Get Access