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Representations in a Doll's House

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A Doll's House is often seen as a revolutionary text piece that shocked audiences with its controversial ideas seen throughout which eventually resulted in Ibsen being forced into writing an alternate ending for the German audience that was more in line with the expectations of society. The play, A Doll's House was written by Norwegian play writer Ibsen and featured a household that becomes shrouded in drama and deceit after it is revealed that the wife has borrowed money to save her husband life without telling her husband about the money which is further complicated by other people and attempts at blackmail. Through the characterisation of the wife Nora as authoritative and capable to provide for the household and husband Torvald as trapped by his role, Ibsen represents gender roles as working to disadvantage and imprison people. This challenges the social expectations of the time while also offering an insight into what woman in particular are able to achieve when not constrained by the expectations of society.

Nora's interaction with money reveals that while she accepts Torvald as the main contributor to the household, she questions internally if she to couldn't also help out with the economics of the household. Nora early in the play is revealed to be a spendthrift who loves to use Torvalds money on all sorts of things and while Torvald is happy to give her some he tries to be careful with the funds. This can be seen when Torvald says 'you know we can't spend money recklessly' and when Torvald finally gives in and gives her some money she says 'Ten shillings--a pound--two pounds! Thank you, thank you'. This pestering of Torvald for money reveals that she accepts him as the contributor for the household, as would be expected with classic gender roles as this who she comes to for money. She however disputes the idea that he can be the only contributor which is what classic gender roles assumed with the woman to have no part in the economics of the household. Nora challenges this through the money that she borrowed to help pay for their trip to Italy when Torvald was ill which she is still trying to pay off through 'all sorts of little jobs: needlework, embroidery, crochet—that sort of thing'. This goes against the classic gender roles which is shown when Mrs Linde says ' No, a wife cannot borrow without her husband's consent' and means that while Torvald was sick, Nora was the provider for the household rather than the man. She is very happy and proud of herself for breaking away from the gender stereotype, saying that ' I have something to be proud and glad of' and ' it was a tremendous pleasure to sit there working and earning money' and even claims that it was her actions that saved Torvalds's life. While Nora seems to accept Torvald as the main provider, this clear defiance of what was expected of her by borrowing money and attempting to provide for the household means Nora acts as a representation of challenging the female gender role.

Nora further challenges gender roles through the authority that she employs within the house, a characteristic usually strictly reserved for the male gender with the woman expected to be meek and passive. Authority and dominance are characteristics of the male gender which is seen through Torvald in many cases, some of which he is quite forceful to further assert dominance and authority such as when he ' Goes up to her and takes her playfully by the ear'. Although Nora doesn’t use her strength, she is at times authoritative and thus steps into the male role, breaking away from the classic gender roles. An example of this is when she forges the signature to be able to get the loan and instead of being meek and timid and deciding to give up on getting the loan, she is decisive and forges the signature to be able to save her husband's life. In this situation she is a clear minded thinker that takes control of the situation instead of giving up like the classic gender role of the female would have her do. Perhaps the best example of Nora's use of



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