Monday, May 27, 2019
A Doll’s House: The Subordinate Woman
A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen The Subordinate Woman 4/2/2010 DePauw University Mira Ya absorbn Mira Yaseen Professor Anthony Comm 214 2 April 2010 A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen The Subordinate Woman In the wake of realism, Ibsen came upon us with an outspoken controversial play that encompassed many realities of the conservative priggish era.Presenting a genuine image of the societal issues at the duration, A Doll House gives us an insight to the world of women in the nineteenth century it tells us active their struggles and realizations. Nora Helmers decision to leave her husband and children to educate and explore herself reflects Ibsens hope for a purify in womens role in the society. This necessitates a adjustment in the masculine point of hand towards women. Noras characteristics pertain to the stereotypical image of the subordinate woman.However, Noras contradictory actions -such as her spendthrift nature and her attempt to bargain for the cheapest outfits, and her ineffec tuality yet her ability to remedy her husbands animation regardless of her methods- shed light on these characteristics and show that they argon products of the patriarchal societys superiority and its expectations and misconceptions of women (Jacobus 660, 668). We first watch Nora as she enters her house after a Christmas shopping spree. We are introduced to Torvald and Noras relationship is that my little lark twittering out there? he calls on her, Is that my squirrel rummaging well-nigh (Jacobus 663). The first noniceable thing about the relationship is Noras inferiority to Torvald. As the interaction continues between Nora and Torvald, her childishness becomes evident. Nora wipes her mouth and puts the macaroons a federal agency so that Torvald would not know about them. Later on in the play, when Nora and Torvald finally have the first serious conversation in their marriage, Nora reveals how her father treated her he apply to call me his doll-child she declares.Obviously, Nora has been pampered her whole life, first by her father and now by Torvald, who treats her the same air, as his doll-wife. This doll-like lifestyle prevented Noras maturity and amplified her childishness instead. Therefore, her childishness is a result of the way she was brought up and later treated by her husband. As the audience is introduced to Noras spoiled nature, it is not surprising to find out that she is a spendthrift. However, this view is challenged once we learn more about Noras seemingly contradictory behavior.She is depicted as a wastrel from the root of the play. As Torvald just got a procession and a raise, Nora urges him to give her more money for Christmas shopping, Oh but Torvald, this year we should really let ourselves go a bit she argues. She even suggests that he take a loan just so that she provide let herself go a bit (664). Nonetheless, this image is later contested once we find out that Nora free-base a way to get money to save her husbands life, r egardless of her unorthodox methods of getting the money.Not only did Nora find a way to get the money, but she was also able to fuddle the payments on time by doing some copying to earn money. Furthermore, Nora is also seen as capable and money-smart when she mentions purchase the simplest cheapest outfits for herself (668). In addition, although Nora might have been shown as a squanderer, she is still trying to pay the debt and might have been nagging Torvald for more money to secretly save up for the loans payments. This contradiction in Noras actions illustrates societys low expectation of women which reflects on their personalities.If Nora was given a chance from the beginning she could have excelled. She is only after luxury because this is what the society conditions her to be interested in. It is the life style that both her father and her husband provided her with and expected her to embrace. Thus, it became a self-fulfilling presage that did not encourage her to change . The initial image of Noras personality gradually changes throughout the play from a pampered incapable woman to a seemingly witty and resourceful one. However, her unawareness and inexperience in dealing with situations disadvantage her.We see Noras capability in the mere fact that she thought of forging her fathers signature to be able to travel to Italy for treatment. Nora remarks that she could not give the trip up, it was to save my husbands life (672). In spite of that, Torvald considers her helpless and clueless But you entail I love you any less for now knowing how to handle your affairs? No, no-just lean on me Ill guide you and teach you. I wouldnt be a man if this feminine helplessness didnt make you twice as attractive to me he protests (688).Nora proves her capability, yet, the novelty of taking charge in a situation complicates it. Nora is not aware of the seriousness of a crime like forgery. She goes further to assume that somewhere in the books these things are allo wed (672). Moreover, she acts naively when she reveals to Krogstad early in that conversation that she did indeed forge her fathers signature, I signed Papas name she admits candidly. She reasons that her father could not sign the document due to his sickness. Nora thinks that her circumstances justify her actions and does not understand the rigidity of law.This example accentuates the fact that the gender inequality and the inferior position occupied by women in the Victorian era, denied them rights and chances that would have made them more knowledgeable and capable. Education, for example was not the same for both sexes. Womens education was focused on teaching skills that would make them improve house wives, like embroidery and sewing, while mens education was geared towards preparing them for their future careers, as they were taught law and languages. Work was almost exclusive to men. Nora points that out and expresses that it is a fulfilling experience for women too.She no tes that copying was wonderful fun, sitting around and working like that, earning money. It was almost like being a man (668). If we consider Nora and Torvald an average Victorian couple, I assume that if Nora had the same education her husband did she probably would have understood the strictness of the law and the consequences of forgery. A society that did not understand the grandness of educating women created a class of ignorant women who could not take action or responsibility for their actions. Torvald and the audience are not the only ones who see Nora as incompetent, Mrs.Linde, a woman, shares this same view. Nora seems to be very selfish and self-centered. After she learns about Mrs. Lindes dire circumstances after her husband passed away, she starts rambling about her own life and good fortune. I dont want to be selfish, I want to think only of you today she say and adds that her husband is getting a big salary and lots of commissions. Our livesll be so different well be able to do whatever we want. Oh Kristine, Im so relieved, so happy. To have no more worries, all one needs, isnt it wonderful? (666). Like Torvald, Mrs.Linde thinks Nora is inept. She thinks that Nora really knows so little of lifes burdens. Nora is aware of the way other people see her and it aggravates her. We see her frustration when she responds to Mrs. Linde Youre just like the others you all think Im incapable of anything serious (667). The words the others and you all suggest that Nora has been treated this way by almost everyone, jump with her father, later on her husband, and now her female friend as Jacobus points out She is made of much stronger stuff than anyone has given her credit for (660).This suggests that Nora has been considered inferior and treated as an incapable individual by the whole society. Ibsen makes sure the viewer and reader think of her as incapable too since her behavior at the beginning supports this conception. Nonetheless, this pic changes when we find out that Nora has gone to great lengths to save her husbands life. The fact that Mrs. Linde sees Nora as incapable is a very crucial point it represents the way women viewed their selves and their abilities.They seem to have had low expectations of themselves they succumbed to the societys conventions like Nora succumbed to her husbands repression. The societys perceptions shaped theirs as well and that is why a transformation of their role in society at that time was needed. All these contradictions in Noras character imply that Nora did not have the strong will to overcome the limitations set in front of her by the society and her husband, until the crisis pushes her to make a decision, and leave Torvald and her children. The first audience to watch this play found Noras reaction preposterous.Nora goes on a mission to discover herself, outside of the doll house. She realizes that what she has been upkeep is not the real world, that she cannot be a good person, wife and mo ther if she does not know herself. This play does not only send a substance about womens rights, equality and society, but it stresses the importance of individuality and self-discovery in the first place. The primary duty of anyone is to find out who they truly are (Jacobus 661). This play can be interpreted in a humane context rather than a feminine one. The stereotype of the inferior, naive, and incapable oman appears throughout the play. We see it in Noras actions, which are contradictory to what we expect at the beginning. This progression reaches its peak when Nora finally decides to leave and sets on a journey of self-discovery. Her departure highlights the importance of and expresses the hope for a reform of the repressed and inferior status of women in the society, which was caused by the supremacy of men and the patriarchal society. Works Cited Jacobus, Lee A. The Bedford Introduction to Drama. 6th ed. Boston Bedford/ St. Martins. Print.