Реферат: Dolls House Interpretation Essay Research Paper

Doll`s House Interpretation Essay, Research Paper

«A Doll’s House» is classified under the «second phase» of

Henrik Ibsen’s career. It was during this period which he made the transition

from mythical and historical dramas to plays dealing with social problems. It

was the first in a series investigating the tensions of family life. Written

during the Victorian era, the controversial play featuring a female protagonist

seeking individuality stirred up more controversy than any of his other works.

In contrast to many dramas of Scandinavia in that time which depicted the role

of women as the comforter, helper, and supporter of man, «A Doll’s

House» introduced woman as having her own purposes and goals. The heroine,

Nora Helmer, progresses during the course of the play eventually to realize that

she must discontinue the role of a doll and seek out her individuality. David

Thomas describes the initial image of Nora as that of a doll wife who revels in

the thought of luxuries that can now be afforded, who is become with flirtation,

and engages in childlike acts of disobedience (259). This inferior role from

which Nora progressed is extremely important. Ibsen in his «A Doll’s

House» depicts the role of women as subordinate in order to emphasize the

need to reform their role in society. Definite characteristics of the women’s

subordinate role in a relationship are emphasized through Nora’s contradicting

actions. Her infatuation with luxuries such as expensive Christmas gifts

contradicts her resourcefulness in scrounging and buying cheap clothing; her

defiance of Torvald by eating forbidden Macaroons contradicts the submission of

her opinions, including the decision of which dance outfit to wear, to her

husband; and Nora’s flirtatious nature contradicts her devotion to her husband.

These occurrences emphasize the facets of a relationship in which women play a

dependent role: finance, power, and love. Ibsen attracts our attention to these

examples to highlight the overall subordinate role that a woman plays compared

to that of her husband. The two sides of Nora contrast each other greatly and

accentuate the fact that she is lacking in independence of will. The mere fact

that Nora’s well-intentioned action is considered illegal reflects woman’s

subordinate position in society; but it is her actions that provide the insight

to this position. It can be suggested that women have the power to choose which

rules to follow at home, but not in the business world, thus again indicating

her subordinateness. Nora does not at first realize that the rules outside the

household apply to her. This is evident in Nora’s meeting with Krogstad

regarding her borrowed money. In her opinion it was no crime for a woman to do

everything possible to save her husband’s life. She also believes that her act

will be overlooked because of her desperate situation. She fails to see that the

law does not take into account the motivation behind her forgery. Marianne

Sturman submits that this meeting with Krogstad was her first confrontation with

the reality of a «lawful society» and she deals with it by attempting

to distract herself with her Christmas decorations (16). Thus her first

encounter with rules outside of her «doll’s house» results in the

realization of her naivety and inexperience with the real world due to her

subordinate role in society. The character of Nora is not only important in

describing to role of women, but also in emphasizing the impact of this role on

a woman. Nora’s child-like manner, evident through her minor acts of

disobedience and lack of responsibility compiled with her lack of sophistication

further emphasize the subordinate role of woman. By the end of the play this is

evident as she eventually sees herself as an ignorant person, and unfit mother,

and essentially her husband’s wife. Edmond Gosse highlights the point that

«Her insipidity, her dollishness, come from the incessant repression of her

family life (721).» Nora has been spoonfed everything she has needed in

life. Never having to think has caused her to become dependent on others. This

dependency has given way to subordinateness, one that has grown into a social

standing. Not only a position in society, but a state of mind is created. When

circumstances suddenly place Nora in a responsible position, and demand from her

a moral judgment, she has none to give. She cannot possibly comprehend the

severity of her decision to borrow money illegally. Their supposed inferiority

has created a class of ignorant women who cannot take action let alone accept

the consequences of their actions. «A Doll’s House» is also a

prediction of change from this subordinate roll. According to Ibsen in his play,

women will eventually progress and understand her position. Bernard Shaw notes

that when Nora’s husband inadvertently deems her unfit in her role as a mother,

she begins to realize that her actions consisting of playing with her children

happily or dressing them nicely does not necessarily make her a suitable parent

(226). She needs to be more to her children than an empty figurehead. From this

point, when Torvald is making a speech about the effects of a deceitful mother,

until the final scene, Nora progressively confronts the realities of the real

world and realizes her subordinate position. Although she is progressively

understanding this position, she still clings to the hope that her husband will

come to her protection and defend her from the outside world once her crime is

out in the open. After she reveals the «dastardly deed» to her

husband, he becomes understandably agitated; in his frustration he shares the

outside world with her, the ignorance of the serious business world, and

destroys her innocence and self-esteem. This disillusion marks the final

destructive blow to her doll’s house. Their ideal home including their marriage

and parenting has been a fabrication for the sake of society. Nora’s decision to

leave this false life behind and discover for herself what is real is directly

symbolic of woman’s ultimate realization. Although she becomes aware of her

supposed subordinateness, it is not because of this that she has the desire to

take action. Nora is utterly confused, as suggested by Harold Clurman, «She

is groping sadly in a maze of confused feeling toward a way of life and a

destiny of which she is most uncertain (256).» The one thing she is aware

of is her ignorance, and her desire to go out into the world is not to

«prove herself» but to discover and educate herself. She must strive

to find her individuality. That the perception of woman is inaccurate is also

supported by the role of Torvald. Woman is believed to be subordinate to the

domineering husband. Instead of being the strong supporter and protector of his

family, Nora’s husband is a mean and cowardly man. Worried about his reputation

he cares little about his wife’s feelings and fails to notice many of her needs.

The popular impression of man is discarded in favor of a more realistic view,

thus illustrating society’s distorted views. Ibsen, through this controversial

play, has an impact upon society’s view of the subordinate position of women. By

describing this role of woman, discussing its effects, and predicting a change

in contemporary views, he stressed the importance of woman’s realization of this

believed inferiority. Woman should no longer be seen as the shadow of man, but a

person in herself, with her own triumphs and tragedies. The exploration of Nora

reveals that she is dependant upon her husband and displays no independent

standing. Her progression of understanding suggests woman’s future ability to

comprehend their plight. Her state of shocked awareness at the end of the play

is representative of the awakening of society to the changing view of the role

of woman. «A Doll’s House» magnificently illustrates the need for and

a prediction of this change.

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