Women Are Not Dolls

         I consider myself to be a blessed human being when I think of the way society used to treat women. Women were not treated as people but as objects whose only purpose in life was to be a wife and a mother. Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, A Doll's House, represented this dark period in human history. Ibsen tells the story of a naïve housewife who, when confronted with a situation that threatens her marriage and social position, finally sees that she is nothing but a toy doll to her husband. In the end, she finds the courage to leave her husband and three children in order to create a life of her own. Nora, the estranged housewife, finally tells her husband that this is not the way that society is supposed to be. She feels that she must make it one of her goals to find out whether or not her opinions are justified.

         The 1973 film adaptation, also titled A Doll's House, starring Claire Bloom and directed by Patrick Garland, stays very close to the play. However, at the end of the movie Nora's act of defiance is intensified. She tells her husband,Torvald (Anthony Hopkins), to sit down and not to interrupt her until she is finished talking. This, of course, gave the female viewers much more satisfaction. However, in the play she politely tells her husband that she must leave; while in the movie she goes a step further and gives him a taste of his own medicine by giving him the orders.

         Of course, when audiences saw this play in 1879 they were outraged. How could anyone even suggest that women had the right to be something besides a wife or mother? I believe, however, that Ibsen knew something back then that society did not. He knew that women were bound to rule the world.

Lynnsey McGarrh

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