Evidence the play isn't about feminism but the need of every person to find out who he or she is and strive to become that person?  Michael Meyer in his biography of Ibsen says that the play is...

Evidence the play isn't about feminism but the need of every person to find out who he or she is and strive to become that person? 

Michael Meyer in his biography of Ibsen says that the play is about the need of every individual to know about who he or she is rather than about women's rights.

2 Answers | Add Yours

pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The question of women's rights and feminist equality is an important aspect of understanding A Doll's House. Ibsen himself stated that for him the issue was more complex than just women's rights and that he hoped to illuminate the problem of human rights. Yet women have continued to champion both Ibsen and his heroine, Nora. Social reform was closely linked to feminism. In her discussion of the role Ibsen played in nineteenth-century thought, which appeared in The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen, Gail Finney explained: "The most prominent socialist thinkers of the day, male and female, saw that true sexual equality necessitates fundamental changes in the structure of society." Thus, in embracing women's equality in A Doll's House, Ibsen is really arguing for social justice. Ibsen supported economic reform that would protect women's property and befriended a number of notable Scandinavian feminists. Ibsen brought attention to the issue, thereby creating a discussion about human rights. The play was received differrently in Europe and America. However, many critics focused on the actions of Nora, particularly when she leaves her children to find her own identity. The play champions the rights of the individual and highlights this through the abuse of Nora by her husband and her eventual freedom from his binding oppression. You have to cheer for Nora, even though she acts outside the norm for her day.

Sources:
cybil's profile pic

cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Near the end of the play, Nora herself says in response to Torvald's assertion that she is "first and foremost...a wife and mother": "I believe that first and foremost I am an individual, just as much as you are--or at least I'm going to try to be." In her statement she asserts she is a person first, and so far she has not been treated as one; rather, she has been regarded as a "doll" by both her father and her husband. Now she believes she must strike out on her own to see who she is and what she can do.

In a speech Ibsen gave at a banquet of the Norwegian League for Women's Rights in 1898, he said the following:

"I am not even clear as to just what this women's rights movement really is. To me it has seemed a problem in mankind in general. ... My task has been the description of humanity [italics Ibsen's]." He steadfastly denied that he was writing any kind of feminist propaganda.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,966 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question