Analysis of a Doll House

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Barbie steps out of Stepford No matter the era, in literature, audiences commonly see an essence of societal problems during the time the piece was written. “A Doll House” gives an insight into the struggles of women in 19th century society focusing on sacrifices they may make to obtain respect and happiness. The general idea portrayed by Ibsen is that the woman has “duties to [her] husband and children” (Ibsen 591). This establishes the era-controversial theme that a woman is an individual in her family and in society. Certain elements of this play – the title, conflicts, and character change- suggest that Ibsen is focusing on the conflict between women’s roles in the family, including sacrificial risks, and her role, or lack there of, as an integral part of larger 19th century society. A title may be short and considered insignificant, but it generally foreshadows or supports a theme in a literary work. “A Doll House” obviously seems as just that, a house in which a doll, an object manipulated by its owner, resides and makes a home. This statement is truthful and descriptive to this play and can be explained further through textual evidence. In the 19th century, women were to be dutiful to their family and, once married, owned by their husbands. The protagonist, Nora, is a young wife to a 19th century family who sees her life as a “playpen” and her children as her “dolls” (Ibsen 591). She describes herself as a “doll-child” under her father, and a “doll-wife” under her husband (Ibsen 591), who establishes ownership of Nora. Although short, these quotes support the overall idea that the protagonist does not own her own freedom but, instead, is controlled by those, who happen to be men, around her. The significance of these concise statements indicate Nora is, herself, a doll that is controlled by the man occupying her life, as are her children by her; thus, she
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