It is apparently noticeable that women in Henrik’s play a ‘Doll’s House’ lack the authority to pursue their personal liberty without leaning on the shoulders of the male characters on the play. is centered on a woman who realizes her personal rights and gets out of her way to pursue autonomy. Isben centers his story on a woman who thinks she understands herself very well and therefore, goes ahead to seek for personal autonomy and power until one event occurred that totally changed her perception. From the onset of the play, Isben attempts to paint a picture of strong willed women. It is therefore very essential to apply feminist perspective in analyzing the play so as to gain more insights on characterization and the overall plot of the story. With a feminist perspective, we can explore the aspects of sex-role stereotyping, power and voice as they are demonstrated in relationship that exists between men and women in the play. For instance, Nora Helmer, one of the main characters in the play, is depicted as a woman of strong character though she lacks the power to determine her destiny without relying on her husband, Torvald Helmer. Nora is depicted as typical housewife who demonstrates submissiveness. However, she still desires to attain her personal autonomy.
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One of the evident messages relayed by the play about women is their sacrificial nature. Women in all economic classes are depicted as being willing to sacrifice their comfort for the benefit of their loved ones. A good example that illustrates this is drawn from the actions of Nora. The play reveals that when Torvald was sick, and only way he could be saved was for him to sent Italy. Nora went to the bank and loaned a huge amount of money without his knowledge. However, the fact that she was a woman at that time restricted her from signing any banking details. Her father, the only male character who could assist her, was also on his deathbed. She therefore decides to forge a signature.
Two things are apparently obvious from Nora’s action. First, Nora is passionately driven by her love for Torvald that she is willing to get out of her way in helping him. She therefore decides to do the forbidden action of forging a signature to obtain a loan. Nora doesn’t see the loan as a big deal but rather she has a strong will to work hard so as to repay it. Secondly, one can also deduce a desire to be independent and equal with men. The fact that she decided to sign a loan of which only men are allowed to sign, Isben depicts Nora as a woman who desired to break the norm that placed women under men. This clearly brings brings out a feminist perspective as a notion that women are human as well and should be accorded similar rights with men. Nora struggles to attain identity as a woman. In a nutshell, Isben secretly advocates for equality between the sexual stereotypes. Putting Nora’s actions in the context of feminist movement, one clearly sees all that contemporary feminists condemned in regard to women state. Moreover, Isben is quoted elsewhere as asserting that today’s society does not allow a woman to be herself. At the end of the play, Nora insists that they have to part ways with Torvald to make things better for both of them. Nora affirms that “I have to go back to school and you have not ability to help me do so”.
Women are depicted as living a life of struggles in the male dominated social hierarchy. Krogstad’s wife abandoned him in search for greener pastures. Nora’s nanny considers herself to have secured a job as a caretaker since she was a poor girl being misled. On the other hand, Nora seems well off economically. However, we cannot dispute the fact that she faces a lot of struggles which are related to her sexual orientation. Through Nora, Isben points a finger at the many ills that the society hauls at women. The societal definition of marriage dictates that Nora should depend on Torvald as the principal partner. Trovald on his part issues decrees and commands to Nora (Templeton 30). Therefore, Nora decides to hide her loan from Torvald because she was fully aware that her husband could not take in the fact that she can save his life. In addition, Nora has to task herself in paying off since women are legally forbidden from taking a loan without their husband’s consent. The play depicts women as assertive and loving. Despite their economic class, each of the female character in the play displays an act of self sacrifice for the good of their loved ones and their family in particular.
The culmination of the play shows that women, though despised by the society, have similar abilities as men. At the beginning of the play, Nora is depicted as a childish and silly girl who has to rely on a man to see any good. Her interaction with Torvald shows her childish qualities. She acts playfully but obedient towards him. Instead of communicating with Torvald as an equal partner, she only resorts to coax him to gain his favor. Throughout the play, Torvald frequently expresses disapproval to Nora who responds with a lot of loyalty. This is the norm in every male dominated society. As the play progress, Nora realizes that she is not childish as she has been made to believe. She recognizes that as a woman she also has human rights. She displays her intelligence by taking a loan to save the life of her husband. Her hard working nature is also evident when works tirelessly to pay off the loan. The fact that she kept her debt a secret away from her husband reveals that she is independent in her thinking as well as actions.
In addition, she is also out to prove that women can as well excel with assistance from men. The audience is exposed to another side of Nora; a woman who understands the actual meaning of taking risks. Nora takes pride in the fact that she can take a loan and paying off without her husband consent. This is evident when she meets her old time friend, Mrs. Linde. She sings her own praises to her friend (Templeton 33).
Feminist perspective is also evident in the actions of Torvald upon realizing that Nora took a loan without his consent. Initially, Nora sacrificed a lot save the life of Torvald because she believed he would do the same. However, the truth dawns when Torvald releases his antipathy to Nora. At this point, Nora realizes the other side of Torvald. Contrary to Nora who took a risk to save his life, Torvald is not willing to take the blame over Nora’s forgery crime. Nora thought that Torvald would give everything to help her. When this does not happen, she learns that she had been duped into marrying Torvald. It is also evident that the societal orientation makes women vulnerable to abuse by their male counterparts. If indeed Torvald loved his wife, he should risk to protect her from all harm including those that emanates from her own conduct. However, the opposite happens which clearly shows that women as not highly regarded as men.
Although women may sacrifice more for the good of their male counterparts, the latter often perceives as their right and are never willing to do the same. Nora mature and shows that she has the powers to lead her life and never to remain Torvald’s doll. Isben points out that unless men treat women as their equal partners, they risk facing competition as well as breakages in their relationships.
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