Shedding A Porcelain Skin The Plight Of The Psychologically Repressed

1766 words - 7 pages

Shedding a Porcelain Skin The plight of the psychologically repressed has captured the minds of intellectuals throughout all eras of time. However, none depicts this theme as well as A Doll House by Henrick Ibsen. Set in postmodern Victorian era in Norway, A Doll House explores the confines of a woman's role amidst the subservient attitude of a self-righteous society. Ibsen brilliantly prescribes the traditional structures of a tragedy while utilizing the daily drama of the common person in this fervent play. While a denied feminist, Ibsen's plays give way to the woman's movement and the freedom of the individual. As expected of this era, Ibsen's notions of autonomy and equal rights for both genders were not received well among Norwegian society. Nevertheless, A Doll House is thought of by young and old readers alike to be one of the truly great writings of the nineteenth century. The multitude of intricacies within this masterpiece reveals well-developed characters that are wrought with underlining denotations and extravagant symbolism. Among these characters, is the main character and the protagonist, Nora Helmer. Nora is the obiedient wife of a Torvald Helmer and the mother of three small children. Child-like, insensitive and self-centered, Nora's character progresses through the play and systematically transforms from what seems to be an inexperienced, weak and compliant plaything to a respectable, independent and powerful women emerging from the delicacy of her porcelain body into the overwhelming shoes of freedom stemming from a doll house of captivity. In Nora's seeking the strength to find independence, her relationships with Dr. Rank and Kristine Linde significantly influenced the course of her transformation.As mentioned, Nora is a seemingly meek, docile and fragile individual incapable of being autonomous from her domineering husband and the restrictions imposed on her by society. Although the transformation may pose to be problematic to some, there are several indications of its arrival throughout the play. While, Nora does not seem to mind her doll-like existence in which she is coddled, pampered and patronized, glimpses of her repressed personality are shown through her hidden acts of rebellion. First, as the play opens we learn that the "little lark" (43) has "been out throwing money around again"(44) and has "munched a macaroon or two" (46). Yet, despite the insignificance of an adult woman eating a desert, Torvald's reproach signifies that Nora is more like a child than a wife, further more, her need to rebel against Torvald represents the tension and deception upon which their relationship subsists. Additionally, Torvald's assertion that Nora is completely foolish of financial matters illustrates his deeply seeded prejudiced viewpoint on gender roles. In Torvald's eyes, the wife is meant to beautify the house and her husband's reputation. Torvald, as a man overly concerned about his status in society and, thus, easily swayed by...

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