Ibsen’s has cultural and historical context. Though this

            Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House” was
written and published in 1879, the play itself is based sometime in the same
decade according to several websites found online. It is said to be set in
Norway about an upper-middle class family. (Cron) This play has cultural and historical
context. Though this story we find the roles that women played at this time in
Norway and around the world, the cultural norms of the time as well as the deception
that can be found in a family. This play can be portrayed as a drama, tragedy,
and/or realism not just drama because it is a play, but the fact that the
storyline is based on a families’ drama, and the issues they face. The social corruption
is the tragedy that takes place, and the realism is the gender roles that are presented
throughout this play. The roles of these women, obligations, and sacrifices that
are shown throughout are historically correct as well as the economic/ social
conditions at the time. Through this the realism of this piece of work is shown
in a third persons prospective.

            Although this story is already a play
it seems to be a play in itself, the main character Nora, has two separate personalities
shown throughout. Nothing is what it seems to be; she starts off as a wife who
seems to act immature and selfish, almost like a child. As the plot moves along
it is very quickly realized that she is not that person. She is a very strong
and independent woman that is capable of more than what everyone believes. As
the play progresses we learn that she has been secretly paying off a loan that
helped save her husband’s life, using money that her husband Torvald has given
her to buy clothes or whatever she asks for. She tells us in the play she never
spent more the half of the money Torvald gave her and that she found other ways
to make some money on the side. (Ibsen, 685-697) She used this money to put
toward her loan.  Krogstad, the man that
lent the money to Nora to pay for the trip to Italy is now blackmailing her because
he found out that she forged her father’s signature. Krogstad puts a letter in
a locked letter box at the Helmer house and when Torvald reads it and finds out
the truth he becomes a different person then he is portrayed to be in the
beginning of the play. He went from a loving generous husband to a shallow man
worried about his reputation and what people will think of him instead of
protecting the burden that Nora has faced. The marriage, just like Nora’s personality
at the beginning of the play, is fake and full of lies. They are both just
playing a role.

            The blackmailer, Krogstad seems to
be bitter and angry when he spoke to Nora; but when Mrs. Linde went to see him to
talk about the letter it is discovered that they once were in love with each
other. Mrs. Linde’s husband has died and she tells Krogstad that she is still
in love with him, making him over joyed and no longer bitter. Because of this
he says he will request for the letter back, but Mrs. Linde says that he should
leave the letter so the lying in that family would stop. That same night we find
out that Dr. Rank will soon die and that he visited the Helmer residence
everyday not to be friends with Torvald but because he was in love with Nora.

            Each of these characters seem to
play a role that is not truly them, though this we see that the appearance of
each person is not the reality of who they really are. Nora is a symbol for the
way women were treated during the 19th century, like a possession of
their fathers and once married, to their husbands. Torvald has given Nora
nicknames such as songbird or squirrel, something you would nickname a child.
Also giving his the possession over her, keeping her spirit as a child just
like her father did. He portrays Nora as some innocent mindless women who waste
her time and money on foolish things. The title “A Doll’s House,” can be interpreted
in different ways. It can represent the life of women, the fact that their husbands
have full control over them, like dolls that children play with. Or, it can be
represented as a doll’ house, fake and lifeless, without a brain, just like the
false life that the player gives to the doll, referring to the women of the Norwegian
society. Both Nora’s father and her husband treated her as a doll, giving her
the role as the doll in a doll’s house. Playing with her when they please for their
amusement. This is often the role women played in their everyday lives with their
spouses, causing a deception between what they act like and who they really
are. In this story the women are not the only ones this happens to.

            Each character is involved in
various forms of deception, it seems to happen because they want to gain social
acceptance or their peer group. Nora like previously stated, has hid the fact
that she has a loan out and hides the fact that she eats sweets because she
does not believe that he will tolerate such actions. She does not believe that
he will accept the truth about their marriage as well; Torvald tries to swindle
both himself and Nora when he claims in all sincerity that he would take upon
any burdens that would come to Nora. Through reading the play we find out as
readers that this is not the case. This claim is made from his lack of
self-knowledge of the reality of the marriage that him and Nora have. Dr. Rank
does not let Torvald know that he is sick because he feels like he would not be
able to handle it. Another deception of a character is when we find out that
Mrs. Linde and Krogstad use to lovers, she portrays herself as an independent
woman but we come to find out that she had left the love of her life for financial
security.

            It is known in history women were
not treated equal with men, and Ibsen does a great job in portraying what these
women had to sacrifice every day. Not being able to be their own individual but
being the person that their father and then husbands wanted them to be. This
was the reality of society and it shown in the play when Torvald is talking to
Nora about Krogstad’s job and he tells her that he would not want his other
employees thinking that his wife has an influence on his decisions. (Ibsen)

            It is also known that women were not
allowed to have control over money, they had to have a male authorize the money
situation, being the reason why Nora forged her father’s name. Women couldn’t just
go to any man to conduct business, it had to be either their husband, brother,
or father. She unjustly went over her husband and forged her father’s signature
after he had already been decided for days, she naively thought no one would
find out.

             The only reason Mrs. Linde could control her
own money was because she was single, not only was she just single but she was
a widow. She may have been able to obtain a job and have the rights to her own
money, but the opportunities were limited and were little to no pay.

            At the end of the play Nora finds
the confidence and strength to tell Torvald that she no longer wants to be
married to him. That their whole marriage was a lie, and that they did not
understand one another. She tells him that he has treated her like a doll for
the past 8 years and that she would take it no longer. Divorce is an option for
them but it is frowned upon and it caused social humiliation. Through this we
see that Torvald wanted to just stick it out and pretend to be in a happy
marriage, rather than getting a divorce because he knew that it would make him
look bad. Torvald was just worried about his reputation and not what was going
to make Nora happy, showing how self-centered he really is.

When
Nora decided that she was going to leave Torvald she said, that “she wanted to
make sense of herself and everything around her.” (Ibsen) No longer willing to
make any more sacrifices for Torvlad, as she did before as well as the other
female characters involved in this play. By Nora leaving she makes one last sacrifice,
that is one of the self-centered decision she makes throughout the play is
actually leaving Torvald. By leaving him she is leaving her children that she
loves behind to discover who she really is. Mrs. Linde had to sacrifice her
true love, Krogstad, to marry a man that she did not love but that could financially
support her and her dependent relatives in ways that Krogstad could not.  The Nurse to give up her own child, we find
this out when her and Nora sit down and talk, Nora ask how she did it and how
she can only imagine having to give up her child. She had to give up her child
to be able to look after other people’s children in order to survive herself. Due
to the fact that she had her baby out of wedlock, she feels blessed to have the
job that she does because she committed such a sin.

            In this play we see the impact that
society has on the actions and personalizes of the individuals of the play,
each character has suffered or altered their way of living because of the status
quo. The Nurse shows how society was in the 1870’s, one youthful mistake can
affect an individual for the rest of their life.

            When A Doll’s House first came out it quickly became controversial over
the views of marriage and family in this play. It exposed how men truly treated
their spouses, showing that the man had an empty heart. People began to get
offended by the play because it was realistic, and it may give more women the idea
that they could walk out on their families. This was completely against social
norms.