Literary Essay Sample: Depiction of Gender Roles in the Play A Doll's House

Published: 2019-10-18
Literary Essay Sample: Depiction of Gender Roles in the Play A Doll's House
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Gender Theatre Dramatic literature Gender in literature
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2074 words
18 min read

The representation of gender roles has been a major issue in the society for many years. This is not the first time that we hear of anything related to gender representation; it has been a common issue of concern that has raised attention from various people including educators to scholars. Ibsen finds it also interesting and fascinating as well in his play A Dolls House. The author tries to depict the kinds of perception that people have when it comes to the issue of gender in the society. Women have had a problem of being downgraded over the decades in various societies. People have held the stereotypical kind of thinking that women have nothing to contribute to the society; therefore, they have been offered minimal opportunities to express their opinions freely like their male counterparts. Ibsen tries to challenge this perception and depicts the new reality of societal change that the despised women figure can also contribute to the society even in a better way than the men that have been for long given the praise. This research paper will try to incorporate the process of writing the essay gender roles in A Dolls House which was the topic of the essay that I previously worked on.

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Major issues and key points from the topic

Based on the previous essay topic, the way gender issue has been perceived by many people remained one of the main evident issues in my research. Trying to understand how different authors perceive the issue of gender was fascinating and interesting as well. Various scholars have different thoughts and opinions; however, based on the research, there is one common background where everyone comes to an agreement with the others. The fact that women have been misrepresented in the society is something that has not been taken slightly by various authors. The feminist's activists like Ibsen have tried to bring out the real perception of the women figure in the society (Alexander 381). In the play A Dolls House Ibsen tries to depict the kinds of mistreatments that women pass through in the name of trying to make their men happy or satisfy their desires, something that does not bring out the clear meaning at all; for example, in the first scene, Ibsen introduces a character, Torvald who mistreats and abuses his wife Nora sexually because he thinks that he has power over her (Ibsen 2).

The domination of womens world by the men has led to the drastic changes which some of them we witness in the Ibsens play. Ibsen tries to make us understand as the readers that sometimes the situations that people pass through can push them to do something that can lead to their lives changing for good. The kind of mistreatment that Nora gets from her husband Torvald pushes her to react and triggers the changes that we witness through the text. The perception that many people have had over the decades that women can never get up and stand for themselves is being provoked by Ibsens character Nora who thinks that she cannot take the insults and mistreatments any longer from her abusive and brutal husband Torvald. The kind of perceptions that we as the members of the society have had over women is as a result of our own creation. The society created the perception and it is our responsibility to deal with it as Ibsen explains in the play (Alexander, 2003).

The perception that the society has had over decades is being jeopardized by the new changes that come from the same people that were not expected to react to the circumstances that surround them. Ibsen tries to prove this by introducing the cause of conflict at the beginning of the first scene where we get to understand the root cause of changes in the text A Dolls House. Ibsen tries to make us understand that as the members of the society, we have contributed greatly to the challenge of gender discrimination and we should take the responsibilities and bear the consequences that come with it (Ibsen & Non, 2008). The society has made norms and laws that prohibit women from getting the same or equal treatments as men; however, it is us as the members of the society that make the laws and norms that we expected the women, children, and men to uphold. The view that Ibsen depicts out of the first scene of this text significantly indicates that men do not want the women to supersede them in any way and they can do anything to ensure that their reputation as the controllers is upheld and respected by the women.

The representation of woman figure in the society, in general, was another main issue I found during the research on this topic I picked. Ibsens perception on how women are treated in the society is evidently depicted in the text. The author despises the people who mistreat women; and as depicted in the text, Ibsen believes that as long as we keep on pushing the women towards the side they do not like they will also continue to push for the changes that some of them we witness in the text (Alexander, 2003). Again, Ibsen further claims that as long as the men would want to continue enjoying the good dominant environment where they remain in control of everything they will be forced to do anything to gain back what they have lost. The kind of circumstances that befall Nora and her household can be categorized as tragic; however, as Ibsen brings it out, it does not seem tragic. Ibsen is trying to be critical on this issue, and we can see this in the way he brings out the characters and behaviors of Noras husband Torvald (Alexander, 2003). Torvald realizes that his wife has changed and that something is not right; therefore, he tries to impress her with the good talks by calling her names like Darling and claiming that he loved her (Ibsen 40). However, as Ibsen brings this out; the whole point of calling her with the sweet words like darling is all sarcastic. Ibsen tries to make us understand that the men have always taken advantage of their women at the expense of their happiness just because they want to remain at the top of dominance. Women are chained by the societal norms and laws that bind them to their husbands even if they do not feel safe and secure in those places (Beland 564); for example, Nora is mistreated and abused sexually regularly by her husband Torvald and yet she is bound to him. Her husband tries to make her understand the fact that he is her husband, and this shows that the society has placed women as subjects to the men where once they are married to a man they are bound to that marriage for the rest of their lives irrespective of their experiences there.

The kind of societal norms and values that continues to enhance and support gender discrimination was another key issue in the discussion of my essay that caught my attention. Ibsen has depicted the kinds of societal norms that have been placed to keep the society going with the belief that we are heading towards the right direction. However, what happens in the household of Nora and her husband Torvald is very different with the right way that we believe that the norms are taking us. Through the experiences that Torvald puts his wife, the audience gets to understand that we are only embracing norms that continue to affect our society (Moi 258). The laws that we claim to keep our society going continue to undermine the development of the society, and this is not the right way that we believe we should be heading. Although, Ibsens idea seems to oppose this perception by the way he has presented the character Nora and how she goes about the difficult experiences with her husband. By coming out as a symbol of change to womens oppression and discrimination in the text, Ibsen presents Noras actions as the solutions to the problems that our society has experienced for over decades and have not found answers; for example, Nora claims that she was forced by her father to come to Torvald. This shows that the idea of marriage is the responsibility of the people who are not even concerned with the marriage itself (Alexander, 2003). Women are despised to the extent that they cannot even be allowed to make choices on matters that affect their lives. Forcing someone to marry another person because of your selfish interests and ambitions is never the right thing to do. Therefore, Ibsen has presented Noras father as the agent of destruction from the conservatives who believe that the laws and societal norms are there to keep the society going. Her husband calls her with a pets name; all this contributes to us concluding that women are treated as subjects or dolls that do not need to make opinions on even matters that concerns them (Moi, 2006). They are not offered the freedom to make choices on what they need as individuals.

Endurance is another main issue that I found interesting during my research on this topic that gave me the urge to carry out the research. The kinds of things that women endure in life in an attempt to make their marriages work out are a lot more than just endurance. Nora goes through hell in her own house just because she cannot make decisions for herself. The fact that she is mistreated and sexually abused regularly by her own husband makes us wonder how she could endure all that. The fact that she is bound to the societal norms makes it even harder for her to leave (Ibsen & Non, 2008); it only subjects her into further misery of life. Nora is a representation of the woman figure in the society in that generation; the fact that they have to endure all that they go through is a common characteristic for many women of that generation. Women are not only denied the chance to make choices for what affects them; but they are denied the opportunity to contribute their opinions to what they believe is right (Levine et al. 327). The scenario that happens between Nora and her husband indicates that women have been participation from the societal activities completely. We can see this at the point when Nora suggests to her husband that he should reinstate Krogstad to his former position in the bank. The way Torvald handles the situation makes us believe that this has been a continuing issue. He refuses to reinstate Krogstad to his former position with the claim that it was Noras idea and that he cannot work with her idea (Ibsen 17). This is ridiculous perception that if we continue to develop, then we should not claim that we are heading towards the right way. Ibsen tries to make us understand that men always believe that they can handle everything and they cannot see the need of consulting their wives. This is wrong and we should never support this kind of idea. Women have continued to take the lesser figure in the society and the male have continued to enjoy the domination and control of their environment mainly because they have been supported by the societal norms and laws (Lorber, 2010).

The kinds of sacrifices that women make to protect the interests of those people they love in the society were another major issue in the discussion. Through the entire text, we are presented with various female characters that are doing different and unspeakable things just to protect the people they love. Nora is forced to marry the man she does not love because of her fathers interests. She claims that the idea of coming to Torvald was not hers but her fathers. Mrs. Linden is another character who experiences the same thing that Nora experiences in the text. She is also forced to marry a man she does not love just to protect the interest of her mother. All these situations depict and explain the kinds of things that women do to protect the interest of their loved ones. Ibsen shows that women cannot get the opportunity to enjoy their lives because they are busy fulfilling the desires of other people who do not seem to care about them. Someone who cares for you would never expose you to a greater risk of getti...

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