In the play A Doll's House, what is the difference between Torvald's and Nora's definitions of a "human being"?

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For Nora, being human involves having agency—the ability to make your own decisions in life and being held accountable for them. Though she has been regarded as a proto-feminist by successive generations of feminist scholars, Nora could more accurately be described as a humanist in that she wants to be treated like a human being (rather than advocating specifically for women's rights).

And given her domestic situation, that's not altogether surprising; her husband Torvald doesn't treat her like a human being at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. Instead, he looks upon his wife as nothing more than a plaything—at best, a small child, at worst, a doll.

Truth be told, Torvald is actually petrified at the thought of Nora having agency, a quality normally attributed to men in this rigidly patriarchal society. When the full extent of Nora's fraud is revealed, it's not so much the fact that she broke the law that concerns Torvald but that she acted on her own behalf, entering into a world...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 885 words.)

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