Gender Dynamics and Societal Constructs in “A Doll’s House”
Introduction to “A Doll’s House”
In Henrick Ibsen’s play, “A Doll’s House,” Ibsen follows the life of Nora Helmer, a money-hungry wife. When she recently found out that her husband had been promoted to manager of the bank, she was ecstatic in her efforts to finally pay off her debt. Spending her husband’s money in a reckless matter, her husband, Torvald, reminds her that she shouldn’t spend his money so loosely. Nora then suggests that if they ever ran out of money, she would simply take out a bank loan. “If that were to happen, I don’t suppose I should care whether I owed money or not.” Mrs. Linde enters the play and turns out to be a friend of Nora’s of eight years.
Mrs. Linde is a widow; her husband had died. During this time, Nora was reminded of the time when she almost lost Torvald, and during this time, she didn’t have money to care for him. During this time, Mrs. Linde hopes to work for Torvald and will be able to get her a job at the bank. Nora then continues and says how she had to borrow money for their trip to Italy. Tovar then tells Mrs. Linde that he has a position and that she can work for him. Throughout the play, Norah struggles to tell her husband about the borrowed money throughout the play, and the struggle between Mrs. Linde and Krogstad, an employee of Torvalds.
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Themes and Gender Dynamics
After reading the play, there seems to be a pattern between the women in the play. Nora struggles to be truthful to Torvald about her borrowing money, and Mrs. Linde leaves Krogstad to be married to a richer man. The theme of this poem is dark and almost draws a line between men and women in the 1970s. Women as being money hungry and secretive, and men as being controlling and assertive. Compared to the world today, women tend to have much more confidence and ability.
Contrasting Eras: 1970s vs. Today
Compared to them, they no longer must hide under their husbands or be considered property but instead can be looked at as independent.
Personally, this poem draws on some interesting ideas and themes. The play portrays women as being reckless and always searching for men with money, and it shows the men being overbearing and controlling. I think that this play is a good reminder to always be truthful to your spouse and others.
- Henrik Ibsen. A Doll’s House.