A Doll’s House takes place at the same time period as when it was written. Nowadays, we call it the Victorian era, since those were the years of Queen Victoria’s reign. That time was characterized by specific social norms that dictated how marriages and families should be run. Ibsen highlights the theme of gender roles from a different perspective.
First of all, A Doll’s House appears to be happening during a lot of changes in society. The Industrial Revolution encouraged the creation of more jobs and opportunities. It meant that everyone could grab a piece of success and earn enough money. Materialism began to rule over people. However, it wasn’t a beneficial time for everybody since women hadn’t had any rights yet. They were forced to get married in the seeking of financial stability. The ones who were willing to go against the system and risk everything stayed away from marriage to keep their business and financial independence.
However, it was still illegal for women to deal with money. That is why Nora is considered a criminal for borrowing such a large sum behind her husband’s back and even faking her father’s signature. On the other hand, Ibsen highlights Nora’s actions as a protest against social norms. She strives for freedom and respect, which obviously lacks in Helmer’s house. Her husband, Torvald, only cares about his own success. At the time, it means a good job, reputation, and happily looking family. It doesn’t matter to him that his lovely marriage is fake. Nora tries to play along, but deep down, she knows that society and the system are faulty.
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