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Is A Doll's House a feminist play? Elaborate with the help of textual evidence.

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lisamarie90 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:36 AM via web

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Is A Doll's House a feminist play?

Elaborate with the help of textual evidence.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 14, 2013 at 5:17 PM (Answer #1)

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Ibsen turned drama into a respectable genre for the examination of social issues: in exposing the flaws in the Helmer marriage, he made the private public and provided an advocacy for women.

Throughout Ibsen's play, the Victorian stereotypes projected onto women are challenged. Nora is identified, in the play, as a diminutive figure, literally and figuratively. Not only does Helmer apply derogatory terms to his wife, but Mrs. Linde also questions Nora's assertiveness and ability to take charge of her own affairs. 

For her part, Nora explicitly rejects Mrs. Linde's perception. She tells Mrs. Linde about the loan she has taken from Krogstad and the plight this has put her in. The moral of this story is that Nora is pro-active, independent, and willing to make decisions for herself. 

She is not, however, entirely liberated from social expectations that limit her. Only at the close of the play does Nora free herself from her dependency on her husband. Importantly, Nora has to sacrifice quite a bit of her life in order to create an identity for herself. The identity she possesses during the play is, in large part, a construct provided for Nora by society. This includes her role as a mother. 

To create her own identity, she has to leave all of that behind.

For Nora to emerge as an individual she must reject the life that society mandates.

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