The role of women has changed dramatically within the last century. The changing role has influenced the actions of many women. This change has been written about by many authors in many different settings and time periods. One of these works show the importance of society in the changes, "A Doll's House," by Henrik Ibsen . Ibsen uses the characters Nora and Christine to explain the role of society on women and their corresponding reactions. Society's influences on women’s actions are shown by a search for self-identity, dishonesty, and control by men.
The self-discovery of characters provides insight to how the actions of women are
Changed by society. In "A Doll's House," Nora must discover who she is, her personality and character; in order to leave Torvald at the conclusion of the play. She must gain a sense of control of her life to overcome the pressures of society. "As I am now, I am no
wife for you" (Ibsen 67) Nora states in a realization of her need for discovery. The time of the play was between 1870-1880, a time when a separate identity in women was not a welcomed event. Ibsen uses this controversy to bring about a type of revolution, or at least a suggestion for it, in a biased time. He uses his characters to show the actions of women are affected by society. The idea of self-discovery does not only include Nora,
but Christine in Ibsen's play. Christine also plays an important role in conforming to society's beliefs. She accommodates all the ideas and pressures of society with ideas such as marriage, careers, and children. To the people of this era, marriage was a must for survival, careers for women were rare and children were greatly encouraged. Christine tries so hard to "fit in" to the beliefs and will of the society, and is, however unsuccessful. "Poor Christine, you are a widow?" (Ibsen 8). "And no children?" (Ibsen 8). Christine was almost a symbol of society by unwillingly being the opposite of that of which is expected. Ibsen uses the contrast between Nora and Christine and their
journeys of self-identification to demonstrate the role of society in women's actions. While Christine is forced to find herself
despite finding a favorable outlook by society. This self determination is evident in her character from the very beginning.
Men had control throughout the olden days. However, this control has diminished completely over the years. The effect of society on women in their respective eras due to the control of men is a great factor. In "A Doll's House," Torvald demonstrates the typical male behavior of the late 1800's, he believes that women are nothing but play things merely more enjoyment. This belief of condescending women is witnessed in several actions made towards Nora. Torvald has an extreme list of patronizing
nicknames include "my little lark" (Ibsen 3), "my little squirrel" (Ibsen 4), "spendthrift" (Ibsen 4), and "featherhead" (Ibsen 4). These names show the disrespect of Nora by Torvald, which is typical of the male who thinks he is superior. They, also, are a
motivating factor in Nora's decision to leave. She loves him so much, and at the same time so little for the contemptuous attitude for which he displays. The disrespect of Nora
is displayed by the control placed on her by men, also exhibited through Torvald's insistence on sex after the costume party.
"Nora: Go away, Torvald! You must let me go. I won't-
Helmer: What's that? You're joking, my little Nora! You won't -You won't? Am I not your husband-?" (Ibsen 55). The actions of Torvald demonstrate the ideas of the society. The idea that women are superior to men. At the end of this play, Nora chooses to stand up to the stereotype of
the woman and leave her family.
Society's influence on the actions of women in the play, "A Doll's House," by Henrik Ibsen. The effects of society are portrayed through self-discovery and control of men. The role of society has changed dramatically with the acceptance of women and the changing role of women. These changes have affected many works both positively and negatively.