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Deception in A Doll's House
Transcript of Deception in A Doll's House
Took place during Queen Victoria's reign 1837-1901
Men had decision making power in all political, legal, and economic aspects
Women were considered the weaker sex
When married, a woman's property would be transferred to her new husband
"The man's power is active, progressive, defensive. He is eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender. His intellect is for speculation, and invention; his energy for adventure, for war, and for conquest... But the woman's power is for rule, not for battle - and her intellect is not for invention or creation, but for sweet ordering, arrangement, and decision... She must be enduringly, incorruptibly good;"
-John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies,
Nora as a Victorian Woman
Although in the beginning of the play Nora seems to be a typical Victorian woman, it is gradually shown through her deception of others that she has the capacity to form her own ideas, and make judgements of what is right or wrong for herself, and uses these to break free from her oppressors.
"Yes, dears, I know. But don’t tell anyone about the stranger man. Do you hear? Not even papa." P 22
"No, dogs don't bite nice little dolly children." P 17
"Oh well, young children easily get accustomed to anything" P 26
"Little Nora, poor dear, had no other mother but me." P 27
"His father was a horrible man who committed all sorts of excesses; and that was why his son was sickly from childhood." P 27
"The discrepancy consists, Mrs Helmer, in the fact that your father signed the bond three days after his death." P 20
"It was I that wrote papa's name." Page 21
"Because you couldn't have borrowed it.-- No a wife cannot borrow without her husband's consent." P 11
By describing Nora as a deceptive person, Ibsen helps to characterize her as equal in ability to males, and sets her apart from the stereotypical Victorian woman.
"But it was absolutely necessary that he should not know! My goodness, can’t you understand that? It was necessary he should have no idea what a dangerous condition he was in. " P. 11
"Do you suppose I didn't try, first of all, to get what I wanted as if it were for myself?" p. 11
"How could I help the cat’s going in and tearing everything to pieces?” p5
Nora tried to solve her problem without deception.
He dismissed her ideas because she is a woman, it was necessary to go behind his back.
Reversed gender roles
This then leads to more necessary deception.
Becomes more comfortable with lying
Shows Nora's strength
"Didn’t you tell me no one had been here? My little songbird must never do that again. A songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with-- no false notes!” P 23
"I should not think of going against your wishes" P 5
"Hasn't Miss Sweet tooth been breaking rules in town today?' 'No; what makes you think that?" P 5
"What, macaroons? I thought they were forbidden here.' 'Yes, but these are some Christine gave me" P 15
Women were prohibited from borrowing money without a male figure.
Their money was transferred to their husbands as soon as they married.
Not allowed to have a reserve of their own.
Characterization of Nora
Corruption of the children
Teaches bad morals?
Hides things from them for fear of corruption
Could the children be better off without her?
Treatment of the children.-- dolls
Lies to make own life easier
Avoid Torvald's anger
By Chiara Dart
Ibsen, Henrik, and Rolf Fjelde. Four Major Plays. New York: New American Library, 1965. Print.
Marsh, Jan. "Gender Ideology & Separate Spheres in the 19th Century." Victoria and Albert Museum, Online Museum, Web Team, Webmaster@vam.ac.uk. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
"Victorian Era Women." Victorian Era Women. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.
Ruskin, John. Sesame & Lilies, The Two Paths, & The King of the Golden River. London: J.M. Dent &;, 1909. Print.
Do you think that the children would be better off without Nora?