Doll’s HouseOne of “A Doll’s House’s” central theme is secession from society.
Itis demonstrated by several of its characters breaking away from the socialstandards of their time and acting on their own terms. No one characterdemonstrates this better than Nora. During the time in which the play took placesociety frowned upon women asserting themselves. Women were supposed to play arole in which they supported their husbands, took care of their children, andmade sure everything was perfect around the house. Work, politics, and decisionswere left to the males.
Nora’s first secession from society was when she brokethe law and decided to borrow money to pay for her husbands treatment. By doingthis, she not only broke the law but she stepped away from the role society hadplaced on her of being totally dependent on her husband. She proved herself notto be helpless like Torvald implied: “you poor helpless littlecreature!” Nora’s second secession from society was shown by her decisionto leave Torvald and her children. Society demanded that she take a place underher husband. This is shown in the way Torvald spoke down to her saying thingslike: “worries that you couldn’t possibly help me with,” and”Nora, Nora, just like a woman.
” She is almost considered to beproperty of his: “Mayn’t I look at my dearest treasure? At all the beautythat belongs to no one but me -that’s all my very own?” By walking out shetakes a position equal to her husband and brakes society’s expectations. Noraalso brakes society’s expectations of staying in a marriage since divorce wasfrowned upon during that era. Her decision was a secession from all expectationsput on a woman and a wife by society. Nora secessions are very deliberate andthought out.
She knows what society expects of her and continues to do what shefeels is right despite them. Her secessions are used by Ibsen to show faults ofsociety. In the first secession Ibsen illustrates that despite Nora doing theright thing it is deemed wrong and not allowed by society because she is awoman. While the forgery can be considered wrong, Ibsen is critical of the factthat Nora is forced to forge.
Ibsen is also critical of society’s expectationsof a marriage. He illustrates this by showing how Nora is forced to play a rolethan be herself and the eventual deterioration of the marriage. Throughout theplay Nora is looked down upon and treated as a possession by her husband. She issomething to please him and used for show. He is looked upon as the provider andthe decision maker. Society would have seemed it a perfect marriage.
Ibsen iscritical of the fact that a marriage lacked love and understanding, as shown byTorvald becoming angry with Nora for taking the loan and saving him, would beconsider as perfect. This central theme of secession from society was made to becritical of society’s view on women and marriage. Ibsen used Nora’s secessionsas an example to illustrate that society’s expectations of a woman’s role insociety and marriage were incorrect. Her decision to leave was the exclamationpoint on his critical view of society.