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In a  A Doll's House try to state the theme of the play. Does it involve women's rights?

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nappasm043 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 19, 2013 at 6:31 PM via web

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In a  A Doll's House try to state the theme of the play. Does it involve women's rights?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 19, 2013 at 7:21 PM (Answer #1)

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Henrik Ibsen'sA Doll's Housewas considered quite revolutionary, and even dangerous upon its publication on December 4th 1879. This is because, in a dramatic contrast to the publications made by his peers, which included romances or bucolic stories, Ibsen brought forward the reality of the social position of women in the 19th century.

By presenting Nora as a woman who chooses to leave her husband and children instead of continuing to lead a false secure life where she is merely her husband's play thing. The fact that the main character, a woman, homemaker, mother, wife, and nurturer chooses to break free from the vicious cycle that has become her marriage, a cycle where the man of the house expects the woman to entertain and amuse him rather than take her seriously, left the readers of the time outraged.

Hence, the central theme of the play is the liberation of a woman from a society that does not validate her. This liberation is not only from her marriage, but from the social expectations demanded of her whether she likes them or not. The essential question is: to what extent is Nora allowed to break free? To what extent does her choices will affect those who had nothing to do with her discontent i.e, her children?

Therefore the central question pertains more to her choice rather than her rationale: we already know that she must do something about her situation at home, but we as readers are never quite told whether her change brought about anything positive for herself, her family, or society as a whole.

 

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