A Doll's House: an Examination of Gender Roles

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 592 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 592|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph 1
  3. Body Paragraph 2
  4. Body Paragraph 3
  5. Body Paragraph 4
  6. Conclusion


'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll's House is a critical analysis of 19th-century marriage norms and gender roles. Written in 1879, the play centers on the Helmer family and exposes the limitations placed on women within a patriarchal society. This essay examines how Ibsen challenges traditional gender roles through his characters, particularly Nora Helmer, the protagonist who evolves from a subservient wife into an independent individual. By analyzing the dynamics between Nora and her husband Torvald, as well as examining the societal expectations of the time, we can better understand Ibsen's critique of gender roles and the broader implications for social change.

Body Paragraph 1

In the 19th century, societal expectations dictated that women were primarily responsible for domestic duties and child-rearing, while men were the breadwinners and decision-makers. These societal norms are evident in A Doll’s House, where Nora initially appears to fulfill the role of the ideal wife and mother. Torvald Helmer, her husband, frequently refers to Nora using diminutive and possessive terms such as "little lark" and "my squirrel," indicating his perception of her as a child-like possession rather than an equal partner. This patronizing language underscores the inherent power imbalance in their marriage and reflects the broader societal view that women were inferior to men.

Body Paragraph 2

As the play progresses, Nora's interactions with other characters reveal the restrictive nature of her domestic life. Her friend Mrs. Linde, who has experienced a markedly different life, highlights the limited opportunities available to women. Mrs. Linde’s decision to marry out of necessity for financial security rather than love, and her subsequent struggle to find work as a widow, further emphasize the economic dependence of women on men. Similarly, the character of Nils Krogstad, who blackmails Nora, serves as a catalyst for her eventual awakening. Krogstad’s desperate actions to retain his job at the bank demonstrate the precarious nature of both male and female livelihoods, but it is Nora who ultimately faces the harshest consequences due to her gender.

Body Paragraph 3

The climax of the play occurs when Nora decides to leave Torvald and her children, a controversial and revolutionary act for a woman of her time. Her decision is precipitated by the realization that her marriage has been a façade, a “doll’s house” in which she has been a mere ornament. Nora’s famous line, "I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was Papa’s doll-child," encapsulates her recognition of her subjugated position. This epiphany marks a pivotal moment in her transformation from a passive, obedient wife to an assertive individual seeking autonomy and self-fulfillment.

Body Paragraph 4

Ibsen’s portrayal of Nora’s transformation can be seen as a critique of the oppressive gender roles of his time. By illustrating Nora's journey towards self-discovery and independence, Ibsen challenges the notion that a woman's identity and worth are solely derived from her roles as wife and mother. The play suggests that true equality in marriage and society can only be achieved when women are allowed to pursue their own ambitions and desires, free from the constraints imposed by traditional gender roles.


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A Doll’s House remains a powerful exploration of gender roles and the limitations placed on women within a patriarchal society. Through the character of Nora Helmer, Ibsen critiques the traditional expectations of women and advocates for their right to self-determination. The play’s enduring relevance lies in its call for a reassessment of societal norms and its challenge to the status quo. By highlighting the need for individual freedom and equality, Ibsen’s work continues to inspire discussions on gender roles and the pursuit of social justice in contemporary society.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

A Doll’s House: An Examination of Gender Roles. (2024, Jun 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“A Doll’s House: An Examination of Gender Roles.” GradesFixer, 06 Jun. 2024,
A Doll’s House: An Examination of Gender Roles. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
A Doll’s House: An Examination of Gender Roles [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 06 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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