In The Doll House by Henrik Ibsen, as the play progresses Nora learns a lot about herself. Do you agree with this?

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wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I’m going to disagree with this opinion, largely because Ibsen, in his entire canon, does not concern himself much with a character’s self-examination or self-awareness; he focuses rather on the character’s place in a society that is being revealed to the viewer/reader.  This is the central idea in this period of drama, which we now call "social realism." While Nora’s character is surely revealed to us (and by extension her society), she is not particularly introspective. She already knows herself well enough to forge the signature and save her husband, in other words to act effectively rather than according to the laws (both legal and social) that society has imposed. The strength of Ibsen’s pro-feminist argument lies in the fact that Nora is strong enough, sure of herself enough, to act, an assumption not automatically made in 19th-century Scandinavia. There are no internal monologues or other dramatic devices to suggest that Nora is “learning a lot about herself.” True, Helmer and the other characters are learning a lot about Nora, but Nora already “knows” herself.

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A Doll's House

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