A Dollís House: Controversy in the 1800ís

†††††††† Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, A Doll's House, filmed twice in 1973 by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland respectively, posed many controversial issues for the time period it was written. Ibsen had the character Nora take many actions that were not accustomed to women performing during the late 1800's.

†††††††† Women during the late 1800's did not have the rights that women have today. The world at the time was very male dominant. The husband was in charge of everything that went on in the household, he handled the money, and basically told the wife and children what was allowed and not allowed by their actions.

        One of A Doll's House main characters is Nora (played by Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom). As the title of the play suggests, Nora was basically a doll in her husband's world. Nora's husband, Torvald (depicted by David Warner/Anthony Hopkins) controlled the amount of money Nora could have in her possession, forbade her to eat her favorite macaroons, and did not even allow Nora to check the mail because he kept the key to the letterbox.

†††††††† However, little was Torvald aware that his wife had many important responsibilities of her own that were not acceptable during those times. Nora had borrowed money herself by forging her father's name in order to save Torvald when he had grown very ill one year. Nora had to scrimp and work hard to pay back her debt. Torvald was completely unaware of Nora's responsibilities. A woman borrowing money was unheard of in these days, and especially keeping it from her husband was most definitely not accepted.

†††††††† Another part of A Doll's House that was unacceptable during this time period was Nora's actions at the end of the play. After Torvald found out that Nora had deceived him about having borrowed the money, he scolded her very badly without trying to find out why she had done this terrible deed, which had been to save his life. After experiencing Torvald's reactions, Nora decided the best thing for her was to leave her husband and children behind in hopes of finding her own way in life and learn new things. Even in today's time a woman would be looked down upon for leaving her children behind. Therefore, in the 1800's this was unheard of for a respectable woman to do.

†††††††† In conclusion, Ibsen's A Doll's House had many controversial aspects for the time period it was performed. However, today it is well respected by many because of its controversial aspects.

Ashley Davis

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