utilizes cliché gender stereotypes in his portrayal of Nora and Torvald all
through the body of A Doll House, concluding by suddenly turning around the generalizations
in the last snapshots of the play to demonstrate that internal strengths and
weaknesses are elements of being human, not elements of masculinity or femininity.
A Doll’s House uncovered the constrained role of women amid the era of its
writing and the issues that emerge from an exceptional irregularity of control
amongst males and females. Throughout the novel Nora is treated as a child.
Torvald refers to her as his ‘pet’ and his ‘property’, and alludes that she is
too irresponsible and ignorant to be trusted with money. Most characters such
as Dr. Rank and Krogstad dismiss her and even Ms. Lind a woman refers to her as
a ‘child’. While this treatment does not seem to bother Nora, she plays
alongside it, calling herself “little Nora” and promising that she
could never dream of overstepping her bounds with Torvald. However, there are
signs that she isn’t content with the constrained position she has as a lady.
When uncovering the mystery of how she acquired cash to fund the excursion to
Italy, she alludes to it as her “pride” and says it was enjoyable to
be responsible for cash, expressing it as “practically like being a man.” This
is why Nora’s proclamation that she also had “a duty to herself” shocked audiences
of the time. Not only was the patriarchal structure a social tradition and
something expected of the upper middle class, but there were also laws that
correlated with its ideology. For example, women were not allowed to borrow
money without their husbands’ consent. Again, Nora goes against the social
norms when she borrows from and repays money to Krogstad behind Torvald’s back.
Perhaps the only thing about the world of the play that differs from the world
of Ibsen is that Nora’s behavior was completely unprecedented in the 1870’s.