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It is important to realise that life for women in the nineteenth century was very different from life for women today. Ibsen really uses this play to challenge his society's assumptions and forces his audience to look at the restrictions and expectations with which the women of his day had to cope. At the time of writing, the majority of middle-class European and American women were legally and economically dependent on their husbands, and so for a woman today to be transported through time and place into the action of this play would be an incredibly disconcerting experience. They would not have independence first and foremost, which is something that is rightly prized today and has been hard-earned by women. The issues that Nora struggles with, such as not being able to spend money as she wishes, or if she does, the need to lie about it and conceal it, would be especially difficult. In his portrayal of Nora, Ibsen tries to show us how society of the time conspired to treat women as less than human, as little dolls to be "played" with much as Torvald treats his wife. As such there is a fundamental lack of recognition of women as equal human beings in their own right.
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