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Feminism in the Victorian Era

We see that Torvald only seems to appreciate Nora as a virginal and frightened young girl. He has little to no appreciation for her intellect or capacity for autonomous thought or action. Despite Nora's existence revolving around making Torvald happy, when she asks to go to Italy he refuses to take her. He tells her she is too 'frivolous' and it is not his job to 'pander to her mood and caprices,' (Ibsen, p. 106). Nora is unable to exert herself in any role other than wife (sex object) and mother (housekeeper). Nora will continue to make major sacrifices for her husband, including fraud, in order to keep him happy. However, at one point she becomes conscious of Torvald's oppression and how it basically makes her into a 'doll' that has no capacity for self-expression or intellect. When she confronts Torvald with the hollow nature of their marriage, his contrite please for a second chance fall on deaf ears. Nora now understands she is the only one willing to sacrifice for her marriage but that will never achieve fulfillment for her. As Shafer (p. 62) maintains, 'Nothing he says penetrates her devastating realization that the miracle she was waiting for in ecstasy and terrorùthe proof that Torvald's love for her was capable of a sacrifice equal to hers for himùhas been nothing but illusion.'

Nora's efforts to hide her debt for her trip from Torvald help show the limitation and oppression in the roles of wife and mother in her era. She confides to Christine Linde that she will never be able to tell Torvald her secret. This will be true even when she is 'no longer pretty' and Torvald 'no longer loves me as he does now; when it no longer amuses him to see me dance and dress up and play the fool for him,' (Ibsen, p. 105). Ibsen's play shows the artificial and limiting nature of gender roles and norms in the Victorian era. Marriage is nothing more than male oppression of females, oppression that limits Nora to being little more...

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Feminism in the Victorian Era. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:52, August 17, 2017, from
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