Is Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House  still relevant today, and do women like Nora and husbands like Torvald still exist?

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Even though Henrik Ibsen's celebrated playA Doll's Houseis set during the Victorian era, many of the themes, conflicts, and situations are still relevant in today's society. Despite the fact that modern women have significantly more opportunities and rights than Nora Helmer , the discrimination that her character...

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Even though Henrik Ibsen's celebrated play A Doll's House is set during the Victorian era, many of the themes, conflicts, and situations are still relevant in today's society. Despite the fact that modern women have significantly more opportunities and rights than Nora Helmer, the discrimination that her character endures and the conflicts she experiences are still relevant to modern audiences.

Nora is married to a selfish, authoritative man who treats her like a possession and believes that she is incapable of functioning without him. Torvald belittles his wife by using pet names, controls their finances, and is highly critical of her. Torvald and Nora's relationship is not founded on love, trust, and balance and is instead rooted in deception and inequality. Ultimately, Torvald discovers that Nora secretly committed forgery by taking out a loan behind his back. At the end of the play, Torvald loses his temper on Nora, who ends up leaving him.

In modern society, many marriages experience similar conflicts regarding financial struggles, deceit, and inequality. Unfortunately, numerous women are still objectified by their husbands and are suppressed by domineering spouses like Torvald. Similar to Nora, women still struggle to overcome unfair stereotypes and are discriminated against in their relationships. Financial instability is still a source of dissension among spouses and significant disagreements still result in separation or divorce. Modern women can also relate to Nora Helmer's struggle to experience independence, which is why her decision to leave Torvald resonates with a certain audience in today's society.

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Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House is indeed still relevant today, especially the character Nora. While women have made a great deal of political progress in securing the right to equal employment, education, and other freedoms, some would argue that women, as well as others, such as minorities, are still subjected to discrimination. In fact, many would point out that women are still earning less money than men. However, Ibsen's play deals less with the larger picture of social injustice and more with Nora's own personal problem, which is the fact that she has been treated unfairly by her husband and father as a result of social influences. There are many women in the world who are still being suppressed by the dictatorial husband.

Torvald plays the role of the dictatorial husband in many instances. We first see his dictatorial nature when we learn that he has forbidden Nora to eat sweets as he thinks they will ruin her teeth. He treats her like a child, asking her, "Hasn't Miss Sweet-Tooth been breaking rules in town to-day? ... Hasn't she paid a visit to the confectioner's?" (I). In treating her like a child, he is showing that he feels he has the right rule over her. There are indeed still men who feel that they have the right to rule over women.

Another way in which we see Torvald acting dictatorially is through his refusal to listen to his wife's views, especially her views about money. We also learn in the first act that Torvald forbids Nora to take out loans; he even forbade her to do so when his life was in danger due to his health. Therefore, it is Torvald's own fault that Nora put both his and her own reputation in jeopardy by committing fraud to save her husband's life. Had Torvald not been so strict about money, and had he not refused to listen to Nora's opinion, he would have been treating her with respect and treating her as an equal, rather than being dictatorial. Another way in which we see him being dictatorial is in the way he refuses to listen to Nora's concerns about Krogstad. Of course, Nora is not completely honest with Torvald about the reasons why he should not fire Krogstad, but one thing she says is true. She and Torvald both know that Krogstad writes for the "most scurrilous newspapers," and, therefore, she tells Torvald she fears that if he fires Krogstad, Krogstad will write something to slander Torvald. However, Torvald refuses to listen to her precautions because if he did, he would be doing "his wife's bidding" (II). Just like Torvald, there are indeed still many men who feel that they have the authority to preside over their wives.

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