Is A Doll's House an emphatic statement for women's emancipation? Discuss.
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Yes and no. On the one hand, this play can clearly considered to be a powerful argument against the way that women are often treated like children and not allowed to be human beings in a patriarchal society. On the other hand, there is nothing joyful about Nora's final door slamming. The reality of her choice and the difficult path ahead of her is evident.
Ibsen was once asked pretty much the same question. His response was that the play concerned the freedom and dignity of human beings generally. It's certainly clear, though, that in the society Ibsen dramatized, it was women who were denied basic human rights and who were expected to live only through men. This rigid social order was enforced by custom and by law. You could consider the play to be a call for emancipation because it shows the many ways in which Nora, an intelligent and courageous woman, is trapped--and trapped only because she is a woman. Her society is so repressive and entrenched, she must give up her home and her children in order to free herself. No one should be forced to make that choice, but in the play, it was only a woman who had to do it.
I am left with many big questions after reading this play. On the one hand, Nora's decision to leave her family in order to discover herself and develop her own identity seems noble and almost heroic. On the other hand, Nora leaves all of her responsibilities behind as well as a record of deceipt and subtle manipulation.
She is finally being honest when she chooses to leave but we can't say that she is being noble too. The appearance of emancipation for Nora is only an appearance. She has been too long subjugated and too long had to sneak around and lie...
Also, Mrs. Linde chooses to put herself back into the position which Nora opts to leave behind, that of a wife and mother. The play does not clearly state that women should not be expected to work and clean and raise children and generally fulfill that stereotypical role. In fact, the play only complicates that question.
What is clear, however, is the notion that honesty can save a person from self-destruction (even if that same honesty destroys a family at the same time).
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