Symbolism and Sexism in Ibsen’s “a Doll’s House”

925 words 4 pages
ENGL 2337
April 15, 2010 Symbolism and Sexism in Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”

Henrik Ibsen, the author of the controversial play “A Doll’s House” said, “There are two kinds of moral laws, two kinds of conscience, one for men and one, quite different, for women. They don’t understand each other; but in practical life, woman is judged by masculine law, as though she weren’t a woman but a man…A woman cannot be herself in modern society.” Isben created the plot of “A Doll’s House” from those ideas. Ibsen was viewed by his contemporaries as a moral and social revolutionary who advocated female emancipation and intellectual freedom. He believed that freedom must come
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The Helmer’s marriage can best be described as a marriage of deception. Torvald has no idea who Nora really is because of her lies and is in love with the wife he thinks he possesses. Nora is also in love with a vision rather than reality. During the course of the play, these deceptions are exposed and each sees the other as if for the first time in their eight year marriage.
In the nineteenth century women’s lives were limited to minimal social behaviors, and women were considered to be little more than property (Feminism in Literature). Nora embodies the issues that confronted women during this period. Torvald’s bias ways displayed the controversy that surrounded sexual equality that became an important part of this play.
Along with sexism, I found a lot of symbolism throughout the play “A Doll’s House.” For example, the play takes place on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. New Year’s Day represents Nora’s fresh start, like the beginning of a new year. She is ready to get rid of her doll-like appearance and start a fresh new life where she can be herself, rather than who Torvald expected her to be. The tip Nora gives the porter who delivers the Helmer’s Christmas tree during scene I represents how Nora’s spendthrift ways that Torvald often spoke of (Scene I). Also, the scenes throughout most of the play took place in Torvald’s study which represented a doll’s house that had little space and the masquerade ball