What are the different views of women that are presented in A Doll's House by Henrick Ibsen?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Torvald Helmer articulates a view of women as docile, domestic, and weak-minded. He treats Nora, his wife, in a manner consistent with these views.

Her husband constantly refers to her with pet names, such as "singing lark," "little squirrel," and "little spendthrift." He pats her on the head much as one would a favorite puppy. (eNotes)

This condescending and patriarchal gender perspective is one view presented in the play. 

Nora, while not a worldly person, is much more savvy than Torvald makes her out to be. Far from passive and meek, Nora acted in the past to save Torvald's life by boldly forging her father's signature to procure a loan that allowed the family to go on a vacation to treat Torvald's condition. This act is definitive of Nora's character - bold and furtive, carried out in secret and without much thought for the consequences. 

Nora is an idealist, to some extent, and is willing to take risks. In the end she leaves her husband and children to forge an identity for herself feeling that she had allowed her husband and father to suppress her own thoughts and opinions for too long. 

Finally, Mrs. Linde is a working woman with an abundance of practical sense. She supports herself and comes up with the plan that also will save Krogstad. She wants to be married and to be of service to a family. This role as matriarch is something she does not rebel against but rather embraces positively. 

Thus at least three views of women are presented in the play. One sees women as weak and domestic by custom and by nature. One sees women as capable but impetuous; bold and secretive. And the last view sees women as possessing agency, reason, and the capacity to choose for themselves what role is best for them.