Feminism is the act of advocating for the rights of women on the basis of equality to both genders (Jayawardena et al 2016). The play `A Doll’s house is three-acts and was written by Henrik Ibsen in 1979. It has very many themes in it. Feminism is just one of the themes and it brings out the roles and the responsibilities of women in the society. The characters in the play have portrayed the place of women in the society and the way they influence the day to day activities. Such characters in the play include Nora and Torvald. Nora transforms from being a housewife and ends as being a strong woman that will later leave her husband. Both characters depict the broader theme of feminism that has furthered shaped a lot of discussions and beliefs since the 19th century (Templeton et al 28-40).
The play begins by Nora entering her home during Christmas with lots of boxes. Her husband is busy all the time with other things and when she comes into the house the husband disapproves of her spending lots of money on the Christmas gifts. She is further teased for spending the better part of the year making handmade gifts because of insufficient funds. Nora`s husband is using this act to show the different levels of economic competencies between various types of marriages from the lower class to the middle and all the way to the upper class marriage. In an excerpt in the book Torvald is heard saying, “Yes, that is if you actually hung onto money I give you, and you actually used it to buy yourself something.” (Ibsen, 1.507). This furthers the idea that men think they are superior beings to women and that women need a man to live. How she chooses to spend the money is her own decision and being penalized for it later is unjust.
As the act continues to unfold, Nora`s friend Mrs. Linde visits her. Mrs. Linde teases her that she has a childish behavior. Nora however defends herself that she saved Torvalds’s life and that she says she is proud of. She is portraying how women in the society try to undermine their husbands by being seen as providing for them. The societal believe that during weddings, vows are shared and that both will be with their partners in wealth, health, or ill-health until death comes in between them. This is a paradox in itself. Nora acquired the money illegally without informing his husband. She later says, “Surely you understand being with Tovard is a little like being with papa.” (Ibsen, 2.217). Another interesting thing also comes to play when Krogstad enters the house. He is the sole provider of the funds that was used to finance the trip of Nora`s husband to Italy. Krogstad works as a junior employee at the bank where Torvald works and fears that he wants to be fired and wants Nora to intercede. Nora ties to resist but Krostad blackmails her that she will reveal how she illegally acquired the loan. When Torvald returns to the house, Nora goes to her and begs her not to fire Krogstad but Torvald is not convinced as he say that Krogstad is not trustable and a criminal who even should not be in his house feeding his children with lies.
In act two Kristine arrives into the house to help Nora make her a dress. At the same time Torvald arrives from the bank and Nora goes on to plead with him to reinstate Krogstad to his position at the bank. She says that she is worried that Krogstad might actually publish libellous story about Torvald that might ruin his career. She says, “I only feel my life unspeakably empty. No one to live for anyone.” (Ibsen, 1.143). At this instance Nora is trying to portray how women in the society only purpose is to be of use for others, and if they are not needed by others what is the point to live. When really women are the most powerful beings and are capable of doing anything by themselves. Torvald stand to his original mindset that Krogstad still is to be fired. In that instance Dr. Rank arrives and immediately Nora asks for a favor from him but the gesture from Dr. Rank shows that he is in his end-stage of his tuberculosis and reveals to her that he has secretly been in love with her which Nora does not take well. Krogstad comes into the house at that instance and confronts Nora immediately. He says that he no longer has any interest for the loan to be balanced and that he will use the bond to blackmail instead. He says that he has already drafted a letter and posted it in Torvald`s mailbox that is locked. Nora tells Kristine of her intrigues and Kristine promises to try to talk to him as they have been in love before with Krogstad (Templeton et al 28-40).
As all these drama continues Torvald joins them and attempts to retrieve the mail but Nora acts quickly and attempts to destruct him. Nora asks her to accompany her in a dance that she has been rehearsing for a long period of time. She dances with all her might until Torvald agrees to teach her for the entire evening. When everyone is finally asleep Nora contemplates on very many things including taking her life so that she will not be there when shame will fall on her family. Women are ready to give their life so long they do become part on any shame. This depicts the low self-esteem that has fallen on very many women in our society and how keeping a family in order is a women job and it is only their fault, and to never blame the man.
In act three more things unfold. Kristine opens the play by trying to convince her husband Krogstad to withdraw the mail. She informs him about her past and how she finally ended getting married to him. Krogstad is moved by her testimony and decides to take back the letter to savers own marriage to Nora. Kristine then decides that Torvald should also be told the truth to save their own marriage. She says, “I want to be a mother to someone, and your children need a mother.” (Ibsen, 3.58). After the party, Torvald goes to his mail to retrieve his letters. As he goes through his letters Nora feels guilty that the truth will come out. Torvald reads through Krogstad’s letter and confronts her and tells her that their marriage will only be for appearances and that she is unfit in raising his children because she is now seen as a liar. This illustrates the guilt and the shame that women have come to face in their lives with the unwanted things in the community. And how women are always the one to blame for unwanted things.
As this continues another letter is brought by a maid and Torvald burns all of them. He tells her that he has forgiven her. Nonetheless Nora thinks differently and tells him that she has chose to leave since Torvald had told her that she is unfit to raise his children and the he does not trust her. Torvald finds it difficult to understand Nora`s point of view since it comes as an opposite of what women have been taught in the society. Nora leaves at last (Hossain, et al 1-14).
In conclusion the Doll`s house has dwelled on women and their status in the society and how they affect the daily living of humanity. It depicts how they are treated by men, the aspect of true love, justice and the way women are treated in the society. Marriage has been the forefront of discussion in the play and the way the women become responsive to it and how it sometimes frustrates them. The talent of Nora to fit into the contemporary society comes to play and is just like the majority of the women in our society. However some inherent issues and the point of view of the play is important in that Ibsen states that it was not all about feminist but humanist. The essence of the play was for every individual whether man or woman to try as much as possible to identify who they really are. The play centres on injustice then the aspect of injustice to women then play in. In its entirety the play is not about women but the injustice bestowed upon them. The play has aroused our emotions by bringing out the light of women and requires our greatest attention and which is an issue that is essential for the society to progress.