Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Feminism in “A Dolls House”, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 847

Essay

Henrik Ibsen provocatively published his controversial A Doll’s House in order to provoke the concept of the New Woman at the fin-de-sicle and the burgeoning feminist movement. Nora opts to leave her home in order to maintain her self-respect, a contention that scholars continue to debate with regards to female repudiation of male chauvinism that pervaded western society throughout the nineteenth century. While throughout the play Nora’s lack of female liberty is discernible, it is also explored whether or not Nora’s choices discursively frame her as an acceptable middle-class woman or if her bold decisions render her antithetical to the ideal woman of such a traditional and gender-proscribed era. It is thus vital that a discussion of feminism as it relates to nineteenth century conventions be explored in order to render a feminist reading of Ibsen’s portrayal of middle-class life during the nineteenth century. Henrik Isben’s play A Doll’s House creates quite a stir amongst society during the Victorian era.A highly provocative play with a defiance directed at cultural norms. Isben hints to the inequality between men and women and the differences of their roles in society. This new idea of feminism brings much controversy and tension to society.

The Cult of True Womanhood structured the lives of middle-class women such as Nora throughout the nineteenth century by demanding strict adherence to the separate spheres ideology and set of gender-specific values; the transgression of this order threatened the reputation of both middle-class women and men. The Napoleonic Code firmly established a gender order which prescribed women highly restrictive roles in the domestic sphere and rendered them submissive to their husbands. It codified a system of coverture that legally constructed a rigid gender hierarchy whereby women assumed the identity of their husbands in marriage.  Helmer Torvald from Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House constantly reminded his wife Nora of this when he called her demeaning names such as his “skylark” and “squirrel” (Ibsen 40).  Women of the French Revolutionary order were expected to “produce virtuous and patriotic citizens” and educate their progeny.  Thus, women needed to possess great piety and become moral beacons who inculcated proper values in their children. Women’s domesticity emerged as the vital characteristic of middle-class female comportment. Relegated to the private sphere, women possessed the duty to the nation as wife and mother in order to perpetuate the nation’s vitality. This depiction of the gender order lays out the separate spheres ideology that shaped the lives of middle-class women well into the twentieth century despite shifting gender relations.

Women’s transgression of these prescribed social spheres undermined the family’s honor, a core concept of the Cult of True Womanhood that undergirded Nora’s actions. Indeed, in the eyes of society, it was deplorable that Nora entered the world of criminality, which represented a transgression of middle-class social mores. Nora took out an illegal loan to save her family from financial ruin (Ibsen 64).  Entering this criminal world essentially masculinized Nora because doing so essentially was a violation of her womanhood and thus endangered her family’s reputation by bringing into doubt the honor of her husband. However, Nora acted in such a matter in order to preserve her own honor in accordance with the Cult of True Womanhood. Nora justified her entrance into the political realm by asserting that she does so to fulfill her duty to protect her family, not because of feelings of “domestic unpleasantness” (Ibsen 64).  Thus, the importance of honor remained central to both the Cult of True Womanhood and structured the lives of women throughout the nineteenth century, which is evident through the evisceration of Nora in the public domain.

Ultimately, it is clear in this play that if a female—especially one who belongs to the middle or elite classes as Nora does—acts in an untraditional and unconventional manner, then she is viewed as an outsider and wholly alien. Abandoning her matrimonial pact and household has thus emerged as a critical issue within feminist discourses since the issue elicits intimations of whether or not such acts are supported. Froma feminist perspective, such a simple act is perceived as revolutionary for a housewife like Nora to eschew her former life and embark into a new life that is uninhibited by such stringent gender notions. By leaving her children and husband, while difficult, Nora typified what women needed to do at the turn of the century in order to spearhead the feminist movement within a stringently patriarchal society. Indeed, in the final scene of the play,  Nora appears to be unfettered by any and all societal and cultural bonds, thereby liberated  because she no longer felt obligated to serve a man she did not love in marriage and because she brought progeny into this world within a constricting marriage. As such, from a feminist point of view, Nora liberated herself and became an emancipated woman who eschewed her marriage in favor of e marriage, which is what undergirded her ardor for adventure and desire for emancipation.

Works Cited

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. London: Nick Hern, 1994. Print.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Emerging Concepts in Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Essay Example

Autism spectrum disorder, abbreviated as ASD, is a neuro-developmental disorder caused by brain differences. ASD is characterized by chronic difficulties in social communication that causes [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 949

Essay

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Essay Example

As an episodic novel, Carroll’s book offers more insight into the characters and situations they encounter than it does into the story. The events of [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1412

Essay

Building Leaders Up, Essay Example

Leadership Definition Leadership refers to the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and guide other individuals or groups to achieve common goals. Leaders typically [...]

Pages: 9

Words: 2441

Essay

Relationship Conflict, Essay Example

Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of any relationship. It arises when two or more people have different goals, needs, or perceptions. The most [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1621

Essay

Aristotle’s Concepts of Catharsis and Tragic Pleasure, Essay Example

Aristotle indicates in the first passage that producing a cathartic effect is a crucial element when it comes to constructing a tragedy. In the second [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 280

Essay

African – American History: Black American Cinema, Essay Example

Black American Cinema is about criticism of films produced by black Americans. This is the first inclusive collection of African American cinema critiques. From the [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1012

Essay

Emerging Concepts in Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Essay Example

Autism spectrum disorder, abbreviated as ASD, is a neuro-developmental disorder caused by brain differences. ASD is characterized by chronic difficulties in social communication that causes [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 949

Essay

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Essay Example

As an episodic novel, Carroll’s book offers more insight into the characters and situations they encounter than it does into the story. The events of [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1412

Essay

Building Leaders Up, Essay Example

Leadership Definition Leadership refers to the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and guide other individuals or groups to achieve common goals. Leaders typically [...]

Pages: 9

Words: 2441

Essay

Relationship Conflict, Essay Example

Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of any relationship. It arises when two or more people have different goals, needs, or perceptions. The most [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1621

Essay

Aristotle’s Concepts of Catharsis and Tragic Pleasure, Essay Example

Aristotle indicates in the first passage that producing a cathartic effect is a crucial element when it comes to constructing a tragedy. In the second [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 280

Essay

African – American History: Black American Cinema, Essay Example

Black American Cinema is about criticism of films produced by black Americans. This is the first inclusive collection of African American cinema critiques. From the [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1012

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!