In Henrik Ibsen;s play A Doll;s House there are many themes that are apparent, but the one that is most apparent is the way that women and men are viewed. Women are especially viewed in the context of marriage and motherhood.Men are viewed as manly men that are not dependent on anyone for anything.
The play focuses on the way Nora is seen as a mother and a wife.Torvald has a clear and narrow definition of a woman.He believes that a woman should be a good wife and mother.Torvald tells Nora that mothers are responsible for the morality of their children.In essence, he sees women as both child-like, helpless creatures and important moral forces responsible for the morals and purity of the world through their influences on their own child;s morality.
Nora, as a symbol of a helpless creature, which is what Torvald defines as a woman, is called a number of pet names by her husband in the play.These names include “little songbird”, “squirrel”, “lark”, “little feather head”, “little skylark”, “little person”, and “little woman”. Torvald always uses the word “little” before every name that he calls Nora and he often uses the word “my” before little.This shows Torvald;s possessiveness and the way he belittles Nora in a subtle way.
The perception of manliness is also discussed is a more subtle way.Nora;s description of Tovald suggest that she is in fact aware of the lies inherent in the male role.Torvald;s perception of his manliness is based on his value of self dependence.He doesn;t think that he needs anything from anyone.He strong desire for independence makes me question if is he out of touch with reality.
In this play men and women are both viewed in very unrealistic fashions in my opinion.Women are not helpless creatures that men can belittle.Men are not in total control of every situation, and they do require help from others from tim