Feminism in Doll’s House Essay

One of the primary dogmas of Marxism is the belief that human idea is a merchandise of the individual’s societal and economic conditions. their relationships with others are frequently undermined by those conditions ( Letterbie 1259 ) . and that the weak or less-fortunate are ever exploited by the richer middle class. A common subject found in Henrik Ibsen’s drama. “A Dolls House. ” is the development of the weak and the hapless by the strong and the rich. and an compulsion with material ownership.

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The characters in “A Dolls House” are all affected by the deficiency or acquisition of money. and their full lives and manner of believing are based upon it. Therefore. a Marxist subject pervades throughout much of the drama and can be seen from each of the chief character’s positions. Nora’s manner of thought and her mentality on life are both wholly dominated by her material wealth and fiscal conditions. For illustration. when the drama begins Nora is merely returning place from a shopping trip.

She enters the flat with an “armload of packages” ( 43 ) and is followed by a male child transporting a Christmas tree. Nora so tells Helene. one of their amahs. to conceal the tree so the childs won’t see it until it’s been decorated. When Torvald enters. she asks him for money so she can “hang the measures in aureate paper” as Christmas tree ornaments ( 45 ) . The tree symbolizes her compulsion with money because she didn’t want anyone to see it until it had been decorated to demo off their newfound wealth.

Previously. she made the ornaments by manus. passing an full twenty-four hours on the undertaking. Making the same now would be “thinking poor” in her head. so she spends inordinate sums of money on nowadayss and decorates the tree with it because now they can afford to “let themselves travel a bit” ( 44 ) . Now that Nora belongs to a higher societal category she practically throws money off. She tells the tree bringing male child to maintain the alteration from the Crown she gave him. paying him twice what he asks.

Despite the fact that Torvald’s raise won’t come into consequence for another three months. she insists that “we can borrow until then” ( 44 ) when antecedently she and Torvald saved every penny they could in order to acquire by. and they both worked odd occupations in order to supplement their income. She becomes more selfish as good. claiming that if something were to go on to Torvald after they had borrowed money. “it merely wouldn’t matter” ( 44 ) because the people they borrowed from are aliens. Now that they belong to a higher societal category. her duty has flown out the door and she cares merely for her ain involvements.

She doesn’t attention what would go on to the “strangers” she borrowed from. because she concentrates merely on what she can pull out from other people. Besides. when her friend Kristine comes over. the first thing she mentions is her husband’s new occupation. claiming that she feels “so visible radiation and happy” ( 49 ) because they now “have tonss of money and non a attention in the world” ( 49 ) . When the wiser Kristine answers that it would be nice “to have enough for the necessities” ( 50 ) Nora insists that that is non enough-she repetitions that she wants “stacks and tonss of money” ( 50 ) .

After she tells Kristine she borrowed the money for the trip to Italy. and tells her about all the “hard work” she did in order to pay it off. she says her concerns “don’t affair any longer because now I’m free! ” ( 56 ) . She equates freedom with the acquisition of wealth. stating that holding money is the lone manner she can be “carefree and happy” ( 56 ) . By the terminal of the drama. nevertheless. she realizes that even if she is able to be free of her debts. she is still financially enslaved to her hubby. because as a adult female she is wholly dependent on him.

She refers to go forthing him as “closing out their histories. ” ( 108 ) and in making so “she renounces non merely her matrimonial vows but besides her fiscal dependance because she has discovered that personal and human freedom are non measured in economic footings. ” ( Letterbie 1260 ) . Nora’s full mentality on life alterations with a alteration in her economic conditions. thereby showing the Marxist belief that people’s ideas are a merchandise of their fiscal state of affairss. Torvald is much more careful with money. but he excessively bases his mentality on life and relationships entirely on money and the position it earns him.

When he hears Nora return from shopping. he asks if “his small spend-all has been out throwing money about once more. ” ( 44 ) stating that they “really can’t travel squandering” ( 44 ) . Nora claims that since Torvald will be doing “piles and hemorrhoids of money” ( 44 ) from now on they can borrow until his rise comes through. but he is inexorable in his answer that they should “never borrow” and have no debt because “something of freedom is lost from a place that’s founded on adoption and debt” ( 44 ) . Torvald. excessively. equates money with freedom. and refuses to give up that freedom by borrowing money.

He excessively so mentions that it is “a fantastic feeling” ( 47 ) to cognize that “one’s got a safe secure occupation with a comfy wage. ” ( 47 ) similar to Nora’s claim that she’s now “carefree and happy” because of it. Torvald cares non merely about money. but about his societal position every bit good. When he finds out that Nora borrowed money from Krogstad with a bad signature. his “love” for her is wholly erased. and he says she’s “ruined all his happiness” ( 106 ) . He cares merely about his repute. because “it’s got to look like everything is the same between us-to the outside universe. at least” ( 106 ) .

All that affairs to him is “saving the spots and pieces. the appearance” ( 106 ) . However. one time Krogstad gives them the note and says he won’t state anyone about it. he is all of a sudden. as if by magic able to love her once more. because no 1 will cognize. He still cares merely about himself. nevertheless. claiming “I’m saved. I’m saved! Oh. and you too” ( 107 ) . Nora is merely an reconsideration when it comes to his repute. Their relationship is ruined because he continues to believe in money and societal position as the beginning of felicity. while Nora comes to recognize that money is non that of import.

The Marxist subject can be seen in both Kristine and Krogstad every bit good. Kristine sacrificed her love for Krogstad and married another adult male because “his chances seemed hopeless back so. ” ( 95 ) and she had to be able to take attention of her female parent and brothers. Although their relationship was revived in the terminal. it about failed “simply for money” ( 95 ) . Once she comes back to Krogstad. she still won’t even give up the occupation she took from him. because she has to look out for herself-she Tells Nora that in her place “you have to populate. and so you grow selfish” ( 52 ) .

This is a Marxist attitude because her full life and mentality are a consequence of her economic state of affairs at the clip of her determinations. Krogstad committed a offense in order to back up his household. and when his occupation was threatened he tried to salvage it by every means possible-even blackmail-saying he would contend for it “like life itself” ( 64 ) if need be. Krogstad tells Nora that “it was your hubby who forced me to return to my old ways. ” ( 88 ) but from a deeper position it was truly his fiscal state of affairs that forced his manus and made him blackjack Nora. merely as it was the ground he committed a offense old ages before.

The Helmer’s amah. Anna-Marie. besides has a Marxist position on life. She had to go forth her place and her kid in order to acquire by. When Nora asks how she was able to give her kid up to the attention of aliens she merely answers that “a girl who’s hapless and who’s gotten in trouble” ( 73 ) has no other pick. and that her girl “has written to me both when she was confirmed and when she was married” ( 73 ) . Anna-Marie’s full life every bit good as her manner of thought has been determined by her fiscal state of affairs.

Her relationship with her girl is “interrupted and practically destroyed” yet she “accepts her disaffection from her kid as if it were natural. given the fortunes of category and money” ( Letturbie 1260 ) . She can’t afford to be upset about go forthing her lone kid. because she had no other pick. She had to give up a relationship with person she loved. merely as Kristine had to give up her love for Krogstad. Anna-Marie’s state of affairs exemplifies that “in the market place [ adult females ] were a labour force anticipating subsistence wages” ( Letturbie 1260 ) .

Marxism includes the belief “that capitalist economy is based on the development of workers by the proprietors of capital. ” Anna-Marie may non hold been exploited straight by the rich. but she is forced to populate a deficient life because she is hapless. and unlike Nora. she does non dispute the Torahs of category and society but accepts her state of affairs. She does non recognize that societal category and society’s Torahs were created by other people “and therefore are capable of imperfectness and susceptible to alter. ” ( Letturbie 1260 ) . So all she can anticipate is to be hapless her full life. and for her fiscal conditions to stay dead.

The jobs that Nora. Anna-Marie and Kristine face are compounded by their gender. Ibsen’s drama is considered by many to be a feminist work. exemplifying the erroneous intervention of “the adult female issue. ” as Ibsen called it. Though he said in a address one time that Nora was supposed to stand for the Everyman. and that he hadn’t been seeking to turn to the issue of women’s rights. critics argue that the presence of feminism in the drama is built-in and “justifiable whatever Ibsen’s purpose and in malice of his address. ” ( Templeton 111 ) .

Nora is depicted until the terminal of the drama as a helpless. dimwitted sap who wastes her husband’s difficult earned money. She is Torvald’s plaything. his load and duty. Templeton describes their matrimony as “a pan-cultural ideal…a relation of superior and inferior in which the married woman is a animal of small rational and moral capacity. whose right and proper station is subordination to her husband” ( Templeton 138 ) . Her “womanly helplessness” was attractive to Torvald. because he had to be in control.

When they get the Bond back from Krogstad and Torvald “forgives her. ” he says that “to a adult male there is something sweet and fulfilling in forgiving his married woman. ” because it seems as if his forgiveness “had made her double his ain ; he has given her a new life. and she has in a manner become both married woman and kid to him” ( 65 ) . She was an object. his belongings. to whom he deigned to give life ; but merely for his ain pleasance. During the first act. he ne’er calls her by name ; he calls her his “squirrel. ” a “spendthrift. ” and a “featherbrain. ” among other things.

Her full individuality is determined by these monikers ; while she is “his squirrel” she is guiltless. childish. obedient. and wholly dependent on him. When he eventually addresses her by name. in Act Three. her behaviour is wholly different—she becomes serious. determined. and wilful. She is his “doll-wife. ” playing the game of matrimony. She tells Torvald in the terminal. “You arranged everything harmonizing to your ain gustatory sensation. and so I got the same gustatory sensations as you. or pretended to” ( 67 ) . All of it is a function that Nora has been taught to play by society. the behaviour expected of all adult females of the clip.

This function was simply a mask. one that she couldn’t unrecorded with in the terminal. On the exterior. she is wholly obedient to her hubby ; but on the interior. she yearns for acknowledgment and a love that Torvald wasn’t willing to give. She was expected to be content with the life she had. though it wasn’t in any manner just or equal. When she expresses her hope that Torvald would hold taken the incrimination for her offense upon himself. Torvald says that “no adult male would of all time abandon his award for the 1 he loves. ” and Nora answers that “millions of adult females have done merely that” ( 70 ) .

Her rebellion was so flooring to the audience that Ibsen “was accused of a sort of godless hermaphroditism ; adult females. in declining to be compliant. were declining to be women” ( Templeton 114 ) . Ibsen was even forced to alter this stoping in order for it to be performed. Obedience was the chief trait that defined adult females ; it was what separated them from work forces. When she decides to go forth. Torvald claims that she is insane. because her “most sacred responsibilities were to her hubby and her kids. ” and “before all else she was a married woman and mother” ( 68 ) . So in go forthing. she was in a sense denying the intent of her being.

Womans had no other function or map in society. Kristine broke free from this traditional function by opportunity. because her hubby died. Had he lived. she would hold been stuck in the same state of affairs as Nora for the remainder of her life. Even so. she is still dependent on work forces in order to populate. When her male parent died. she was forced to get married a adult male she didn’t love in order to supply for her female parent and younger brothers. She wasn’t able to acquire a occupation at that point. because she was immature and single ; so the lone option she had was matrimony.

After her hubby died and she went to see Nora. she says “I experience my life ineffably empty. No 1 to populate for anymore” ( 11 ) . Her full life up until that point revolved around work forces ; the intent of her being was to delight her hubby and take attention of her brothers. When that was no longer necessary. her life lost its significance. She came to Nora because she was looking for work. and that could merely be obtained through Torvald. When he gives her a occupation. he feels in control of her even outside the office.

When Torvald and Nora return from the party in Act III and Kristine is at that place waiting. he says “you truly ought to embroider. it’s much more going. Let me demo you…in the instance of knitting. that can ne’er be anything but ungraceful” ( 57 ) . He presumes to teach her on something that is traditionally women’s work. and a avocation. as if she were making it for him. He insults her gustatory sensation and her work as if it is his right and his responsibility to rectify non merely his ain married woman but any adult female that he sees making something “wrong. ” When Nora shut the door behind her. she wasn’t merely a adult female go forthing her household.

She was a adult female seeking independency from the stenosiss of society and the regulation of work forces which was placed upon her because of gender. She was the representation of Everyman. exemplifying the demand of everyone. no affair their background. for freedom. And she was the representation of the unnoticed. underappreciated workers of the universe subverting the capitalists who took them for granted. Ibsen’s drama was one of the greatest of its clip. making all the manner to our ain with a relevancy that will ever be valid and true.


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