The setting of the drama or historical context of “A Dollhouse” is a society that depicts the social struggle and the fight against the dehumanizing oppression of women, particularly in the middle-class family. The setting portrayed is a suffocating society governed wholly by unsympathetic and insensitive men as portrayed by Torvald. The society wherein the play is set may also be described as one which values money, contracts, and conventional respectability over anything else. Other people who cannot live within these confines are left to live desperate lives such as Mrs. Linde and Krogstad.
Although the society presented in the play appears affluent and agreeable enough for those who can operate in it successfully like the Helmers, it can be deduced that there is a price to be paid for the benefits of a comfortable life. One must conform to society’s view of proper conduct which is, in many respects, extremely restricted, cruelly enforced, and unrelenting.
The main character and protagonist of the drama “A Dollhouse” is Nora Helmer, the wife of Torvald. At the start, Nora seems to be completely happy but as the drama progresses, one realizes that everything is just for show. The dramatic suspense of the play is centered on Nora’s journey of self-discovery. The oppressive and selfish attitudes of Torvald towards Nora is her primary struggle.
As the play unfolds, one sees how Nora becomes more aware of the truth about her life. Nora’s need for rebellion escalates which is culminated by her emancipatory departure from her husband and children to find herself and find independence.
Clearly, Nora is a character who is at the mercy of societal forces at that time. Several issues vital to women such as female freedom and equality were factors that had impacted on Nora’s depression. The need of women for feminine individuality and independence has been effectively conveyed in “A Dollhouse”.
Ibsen, Henrik. The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Dolls House. 13 Dec. 2008. Web. 4 June 2011.