Do you agree with the statement that Ibsen is trying to raise the audience's awareness of women's lack of rights ?A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Ibsen's raising of people's awareness of the lack of women's rights is more concomitant to his intended theme of "Identity" that extends to all of society than it is a main theme. For, the parallels between Nora and Krogstad are indicative of the human struggle for an acceptable identity within the mores of nineteenth-century society. 

Of course, Nora Helmer's "search for self" is one more encased in subjugation than is that of Krogstad as she is virtually the property of her patriarchal husband to whom she must be subservient in even the smallest things such as not eating macaroons.  Nevertheless, Krogstad finds his position in society lowered by his former unethical errors, and, as a result, he, too, is subjugated by his reputation which will not allow him to reinstate himself in business and society. In contrast to Nora, Krogstad is able to redeem himself as a man of some integrity when he retracts his charges against Nora whereas Nora is not allowed any such redemption.  For this reason, audiences may feel that the emphasis of theme may be upon women's rights especially.

In her essay "Ibsen's Use of Drama as a Forum for Social Issues," Sheri Metzger alludes to another critic's words:

Bjorn Hemmer, in an essay in The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen, declared that Ibsen used A Doll's House and his other realistic dramas to focus a "searchlight'' on Victorian society with its "false morality and its manipulation of public opinion."

Clearly, the prevalent message of Ibsen is not a single focus on the repression of women, but rather a "searchlight" upon all of the pretensions and stringent restrictions of Victorian society.

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