Reader Response Theory In A Doll's House By Henrik Ibsen

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The times that we live in heavily influence our understanding of people and the literary characters we get to know of. The Reader Response theory revolves around the central idea that the context any reader resides in, influences the reader 's understanding of and the response to characters. This is the case in 'A Doll 's House ' by Henrik Ibsen too, where, Torvald Helmer, the protagonist 's husband evokes different responses by different readers of the play. While a Victorian Era reader will sympathize with the character of Helmer as he holds a his "dignity" above all, even the woman he "loves", the modern reader of the 21st century is outraged by Helmer 's blatantly sexist remarks about a woman 's "duty." The readers ' receptions of Helmer 's character varies greatly due to the different values they believe in and their social context. Ibsen 's characterization of Helmer highlight…show more content…
The denouement of the play is received differently by both the readers. In act 3, when Nora intrepidly questions Helmer 's perception of her "most sacred duty" towards her "husband and children", she questions the Victorian era reader 's ideals and beliefs as well which leaves the reader infuriated. Moreover, Nora is thought of as unhinged when she "slams" the door, in hopes of transforming from Helmer 's "little songbird" into a "woman." This is not the case with the modern reader who is relieved by Nora 's epiphany as she begins "to realize everything", including the need to become "independent." The modern reader, on the time spectrum, has had the chance to discuss the sexism that prevails in society and the need for feminism; Nora 's courage in going against the pillars of the Victorian era is something the modern reader finds commendable and aspiring. If the play had been performed today, the modern reader would be the one to stand up and whistle during the scene of the slamming of the door, while the Victorian reader 's face would turn pale with shock at Nora
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