Parents Roles In A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen

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Written in 1879, the play A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen reflects the reality of the society in Norway in the 19th century where social norms dictate how men and women behave or are expected to behave. These expectations create an invisible pressure on both genders since they all struggle to fulfill their duties, which leads to their own tragedy. Taking the domestic house as the setting for the play, Ibsen reveals the picture of society’s expectations on parents’ roles in raising their children: besides supporting economic stability and physically taking care of the kids, parents are also believed to play a role of a moral educator. Through characterization, Ibsen portrays the parent characters as moral educators, who perform their duty through…show more content…
They manipulate their children’s thoughts by silencing the children’s voice and imposing on them their parents’ own opinions. The parent characters’ interaction with their kids characterizes them as a commander rather than a loving mother or father. In Act I, while playing with her sons and daughters, Nora speaks in a long monologue where she uses an abundance of questions; nonetheless, she does not give her children a chance to answer those questions. Additionally, the excessive use of punctuations establishes a fast pace in Nora’s speech, which shortens the time for the children to catch up with Nora’s thoughts as well as speak up. Therefore, their only option is to listen to their mother. This substantiates Nora’s attempt to ideologically control her children. Moreover, she calls them “loving doll babies” (25), which reflects Nora’s perception of her children: they are her dolls. This decides the way she interacts with them: since they are dolls and cannot speak, she does not need to hear their voice. A doll is a dominant symbol throughout the play. Not only are Nora’s children her dolls, she is her father’s doll. As she states that “he used to call [her] his doll-child and played with [her] the way [she] played with [her] dolls” (77). A doll symbolizes powerless people whose voices are neglected and disregarded. Nora’s father treats her like a doll and so does Nora to her children. As consequence, the children’s taste is influenced and shaped by their father and mother that they cannot form their own opinion. Nora confesses that if her opinions are “different [she] hid them” from her father (76). The word “hid” refers the readers to a concealing and immoral action, which emphasizes Nora 's fear of speaking up for herself and reflects the reality that children’s voice is never heard. Through the characters’ physical interactions with their children, Ibsen demonstrates that

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