In see Nora as his equal, but

In Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, the theme of traditional gender roles between males and females in Norwegian society at this time in history developed through the spoken dialogue and the actions of the characters throughout the play. Ibsen portrays the women in the play as inferior to men and shows that the role of a women is only made and used to sacrifice herself and are confined to the societal values of their era at the time. To start, many would say that actions speak louder than words but in the case of A Doll’s House, the words of the characters reveal to us a great deal about themselves as well their ideals and beliefs. One of the main characters, Torvald Helmer, is the husband to Nora Helmer who is very much a gold digger. But, like the majority of women at this time we see that this is their only way to survive by marrying a man with money. This is shown to us when Nora’s good friend, Christine Linde, introduced in Act 1 while catching up, Nora asks Christine about her marriage with her late husband. Nora says “Tell me is it really true you don’t love your husband? Why did you marry him then?”, Christine replies; “My mother was still alive, she was bedridden and helpless, and I had two younger brothers to look after. I didn’t feel I could refuse his offer.” (1. 157. Ibsen). Christine Linde only married her husband do to the fact that she was in need of money, rather to go work to support her family which was a mans job. From his we can take that the woman’s role was to stay home and take care of her family. The role of women is established in the Helmer household when Torvald calls Nora many demeaning animal names such as “little skylark”, “scampering squirrel” and “helpless bird”. These names not only evoke the sense of helplessness for Nora but paint Torvald as the great man who always rescues his clueless wide. Nora is dehumanized, and it is clear to us that Torvald does not see Nora as his equal, but inferior. On the same note, the female role is developed when Torvald says to Nora, “This is like a women! … You know what I think about that. No debt…” when asked by his wife to take a loan from the bank. His words are a negative sentence that imply women are not smart enough to know about matters like that. He further establishes the idea that women are not as smart as men and therefore lesser. To add on the background of Torvald, him and Krogstad both are expected to fill a certain role throughout the novel and during that time period. The two stand out in stark relief to each other. Torvald is a law-abiding do-gooder and has a bright future and has gained the respect of the community while Krogstad is a shady blackmailer and his prospects are dismal and everybody hates him. They are both very ambitious and driven, not only by the need to provide for their families but also driven by a desire and determination to achieve a higher status. A key factor that concerns them the most is respectability so when Nora’s borrowing was revealed, Torvald’s first thoughts and reaction was how it was gonna affect his reputation.  In the meantime, Krogstad was so fixated on achieving success now that he has “gone straight”, he now intends to one day take over Torvald’s job and run the bank himself. By motivating Nora’s deception, the attitudes of Torvald leave Nora vulnerable to Krogstad’s blackmail. When Torvald was willing to cave in to Krogstad’s blackmail, we notice that Torvald is ultimately just concerned about his appearance. We can see this from all his talk of being honest and sincere was really just all talk and not meaningful at all. In this way, Torvald is very similar to Krogstad, but despite Torvald’s numerous flaws, he never seems to resort to blackmail and stoop as low or sink to the level Krogstad is. Ibsen sets up a direct parallel between the two pairs. Krogstad was Torvald’s childhood, and Nora’s foil, Christine is Nora’s friend from when they were younger as well. Krogstad is portrayed at the dark version of Torvald. Nora and Christine are also very similar and can be compared similarly. The two pairs most have the same intentions with marriage, the man in the relationship wears the pants and the woman must satisfy him, but the two seem to be complete opposites when both are paired together but separate, seem to be very similar. Furthermore, the actions of the female characters in the play help in establishing gender roles because we can see how a woman in that time would act on their roles. The first example of this is Christine who willing accepts the traditional female role in Act 3. “Someone to work for and live for – a home to bring comfort in”. A Doll’s House is widely discussed as bringing attention to the imprisonment of women in marriage at this time but Christine willingly goes into a women’s role of caring and living to satisfy the man of the household. Similarly, gender roles are enforced through all the women in story who confine to them. The main character Nora especially, do to the fact that she is okay with existing simply to be married to a wealthy man and satisfy his every need. Lastly, the role of the women can be seen through Nora’s duties in the household. The ladies tasks are given to the maids, who are also women, while she is expected to stay home to watch her children and decorate the house like a proper lady. Meanwhile the man of the house goes at to work and bring money into the house. Nora’s abandonment of her children can also be interpreted as an act of self-sacrifice which she seems to do to save her marriage. She decides to hand her children to the nanny, despite her great love for them, she chooses to leave them – convinced by her interaction with them and her fear of becoming toxic them and their lives – as she believes she would be a better mother for them In conclusion, the traditional roles of women were established in the play through the fact that many women only marry because they are gold diggers and want the money the man brings to the relationship and want to satisfy him like for Christine or they need the money to support their family which is what happened in Nora’s case. The different gender roles are also demonstrated and seen through the men in the play and their characters. Torvald and Krogstad both play and are expected to fill a certain role with them being the boss of the house and bring the most amount of money in and are driven to do so to achieve a higher status. The female roles are not supposed to work, it’s the man job being the more dominant partner in the marriage which portrays women as being weak or inferior to the men. Lastly, the actions of the female characters in the play help in establishing gender roles because we see how a woman at that time and in the play would act on their roles.