Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Women, Family, Society, Social Issues, Relationships, Gender, Life, Inequality

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/28

A Doll’s House is a very famous play written by the well-known playwright, Henrik Isben. The play goes on to delve deep into the dynamics of a martial bond, and thus presents a stirring picture of the society that leaves the avid readers pondering over the societal inequalities that affect the lives of people. The play is a perfect portraiture of Nora’s journey who is the female protagonist of the literary work. The stirring work of literature raises questions regarding the gender inequality and dehumanization of women in the society by the male counterparts.
The play portrays the transformation of Nora from being just a plaything and trophy wife to a lady who is independent and matured. The experiences of the female character expose the innate patriarchy that affects the society by marginalizing the women folk. The world within the four walls of a household is explored as the inherent oppressive nature of the nuptial bond is critiqued by the playwright. The stalwart author portrays the gender inequality to put to question the sanctity and validity of the institution of marriage that only serves the purpose of being an onus on the shoulders of the women.
Nora can be taken to be archetypal character that represents the pain and indignation that is faced by gazillion women across the world irrespective of class or community. The female character leaves a mark in the minds of the audience with the gradual transformation that renders her respect and individuality, away from the clutches of patriarchy. Her situation in life echoes the impediments of women who face subjugation at the hands of their male counterparts in the society. Isben pens this feminist play to raise the burning issue of gender discrimination, marital oppression, and disrespect of women in the world. He voices in favor of independence and equal status of women in the society.
Nora is seen playing the role of a lady, wife and mother to her kids, before she finally finds her true identity as a free individual. She is a person who enjoys the grandeur and pomp in her life. But, at the same time, she is treated like a doll by her husband. Her husband sees her as a priced possession or a trophy. In spite of all this, she is intelligent as a person, and she wishes to engage in acts that give her happiness.
Nora does not give in to the suggestions and wishes of her spouse, although she opts to live the life of being a trophy wife. Nora also knows very well that it is her charm and exquisiteness that impresses her husband. This attitude of her husband is representative of the patriarchal perspective that dehumanizes women, and objectifies them. Men treat women as lesser humans, and believe that women are subordinate to them. The couple portrayed in the play and their relationship is a microcosm of the society.
Isben shows that the character of Nora is totally dependent on her husband for forming any opinion. She has embraced the life of passivity inside the household. She is not someone who can be described as an independent person in the start of the play. Torvald is an archetypal character who represents the patriarchal perspective toward women folk of the society. He never treats his wife, Nora, as an individual with respect. Nora is nothing more than a possession to him.
The startling expression of gender inequality is seen in the play as Nora’s husband calls her by names of many birds and animals. These calls cannot be described as calls of affection in any way. Calling a woman by names of animals and birds is a mark of sheer disrespect to the person, and it is the signifier of the subordination that Nora used to experience from her husband day in and day out. The patriarchal societal system expects the women to respect their husbands to the utmost degree. But, the husbands are given the upper hand as they are considered the breadwinner of the family and the dominant individual in the relationship.
Torvald calls Nora a “song bird.” He opines in the course of the play that a -bird must have a clean beak to chirp with—no false notes!” (Isben Act 2) This is a testimony to the fact that Torvald does not treat his wife as an equal in any way. The very basic human right of equality is robbed in this scenario. One can comprehend that Torvald is a person who believes in subjugation of the woman in the bond of marriage. Such a belief is the expression of the innate patriarchy of the male counterpart of a marriage. Nora does not get the respect that she should have got as a wife, a woman, a human being.
Quite astonishingly, Nora is found to be like a plaything even as a mother. She is never seen as a guardian, and her children see her as an interactive toy. She is not seen to be someone who is of equal importance of their father. She spends time playing with her kids at home to keep them occupied. The playwright lets the audience or reader know about the games played by them. Apparently, the act of playing together can be seen as a reflection of the loving relationship between the mother and the children. But, in reality this reflects that Nora has a subordinate position in the family. Isben, thus, makes it clear to the audience that these things that might seem to be trivial are in reality reflections of gender inequality.
After living amidst an ambiance of indignation and boredom for some time, Nora finally decides to let go of the bond of marriage and family. She leaves her family behind as she never got the much needed respect and honor from the relationships. This decision is not a reflection of her selfishness, but rather her exasperation with the drudgeries of marital life that gave her nothing but disrespect.
Nora now searches for freedom from the ills of patriarchy that brings gender inequality. She decides not to bow down in front of the discrimination that is in vague in the society. The societal institutions like marriage subjugate the women, and deny their due respect. She, thus, gets out of her passive self, and decides to be independent. She defies the gender roles that are set up by the society. She is representative of the free spirit of women, and she embodies the aspiration of innumerable women folk of the society who are on the receiving end of gender inequality in the society.
Feminists argue that women are treated as inferior individuals in the society. The female character of the play is not meant to focus on the gender inequality only, but the character also embarks upon the mission of instilling courage in the minds of the women folk to stand up against the discrimination that they face in their lives. The play is a call for action, and a vehement critique of male dominance in relationships.
Nora transforms into a complete woman when she shows the courage to leave behind her bondage, and be free in life. She understands her true worth as a person at this juncture of the play. The departure of Nora from the bond of nuptial life is symbolic of her freedom from the shackles of patriarchy. The play leaves an everlasting mark in the minds of the audience and readers owing to the stirring plot and relevant message. The play exposes the gender inequality that is prevalent in the society. Nora’s transformation can be seen as the evolution of a passive woman into a self-willed, independent individual. The literary work criticizes the patriarchal norms, perspective, and beliefs. The play is, thus, a commentary on the condition of women in the society.

Works Cited

Isben, Henrik. The Doll’s House. The Electronic Classics Series Publication, 2001.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, December, 28) Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality. Retrieved October 03, 2022, from
"Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality." WePapers, 28 Dec. 2020, Accessed 03 October 2022.
WePapers. 2020. Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality., viewed October 03 2022, <>
WePapers. Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality. [Internet]. December 2020. [Accessed October 03, 2022]. Available from:
"Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality." WePapers, Dec 28, 2020. Accessed October 03, 2022.
WePapers. 2020. "Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved October 03, 2022. (
"Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality," Free Essay Examples -, 28-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 03-Oct-2022].
Sample Essay On ‘a Doll’s House’- A Scathing Remark On Gender Inequality. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 28, 2020. Accessed October 03, 2022.

Share with friends using:

Related Premium Essays
Contact us
Chat now