p.p1 the difficulty of the how the real world

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A womens key purpose in the 1800s was to look for a husband, give birth and take care of their husbands through out their entire lives. In “A Doll’s House” which was written by Henrik Ibsen, the theme of male dominance is shown in various ways and is a recurring subject in the play. In the 1870s Nora’s behavior was rare and unprecedented and it went against the social norms. “A Doll’s House” is a story about Nora’s life and how she was over-powered by her father and her husband torvald. In the past Nora had borrowed money from Krogstad by forging her father’s signature to pay for a trip to Italy to save Torvald that was sick at the time. However he was unaware of the loan and believed that the money came from Nora’s father. For that reason, Nora tries to find money to pay back Krogstad, which starts making Nora concerned and uneasy about finding money. She discovers the difficulty of the how the real world works. Leading to the theme of male dominance in this play which can be separated into two sections which are women’s ‘legal’ position in society at the time and also how Torvald himself treats Nora.

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Firstly, male dominance is presented through Torvald’s actions and views on how he sees women as childlike and helpless creatures detached from reality. Back in the time women were not treated equally in society and Ibsen evokes this theme through the way he treats Nora and see’s himself above her.
For instance this is portrayed to the audience through the multiple nicknames that are given to Nora by Torvald immediately within the opening lines of the play. For example Torvald says at the beginning “Is that my little skylark twittering out there?” or “When did my squirrel come home?” and even “you’re a funny little creature”. The fact that this happens at the beginning emphasizes directly the fact that she is degraded and dehumanized by Torvald. He keep insisting on calling Nora by these diminutive nicknames to show her helplessness. This displays a dominant figure and presence in their relationship. “Little birds that like to fritter money” is an example which suggests that Nora lacks of knowledge about handling money, but however torvald does know.  
However, Nora is economically advantaged compared to other women in the play, Torvald uses money to satisfy Nora which puts her in a better mood. Therefore, we can notice that women were controlled by their husbands, since men were a women’s bank, they feed them, dress them and put a roof over their heads. Torvald plays with Nora for his personal enjoyment, she is decoration to his home. The male breadwinner wage was increasingly regarded as the ideal and even the norm in the 1800s century so Nora wasn’t obliged to work, as Torvald embodied stableness in their relationship. Since Nora didn’t make any money Torvald’s treated her like a “doll” and plays with her feelings and manipulates her. For example the title is “A Doll’s House” which is a metaphor that symbolizes Nora and how she is treated like a doll. The word “doll” can also be a reference towards woman who have no mind of their own, when everything has to be done for them. Additionally, when torvald takes Nora “by the ear” it asserts his physical Power that he has over her. He does this action when she puts forward the idea of borrowing money, which he supposes that Nora would just waste it since she is careless with money. Also at the beginning in ACT1 Torvald is promoted to a high ranked position in the bank. He tells Nora “it’s so gratifying to known that one’s gotten a safe, secure job and with a comfortable salary”. His economic safeness is similar to his stable and dominant character. Another example of Torvald’s assertiveness and dominance is when he prohibits Nora from bringing macaroons into the house because it would rot his teeth.

Furthermore, there is another aspect of male dominance in “A Doll’s House” which is a women ‘legal’ position in society back in the time. Due to a women social status and how they were treated in the late 1800s, Torvald’s behavior is influenced by these factors. In the 1870s a women’s main responsibility revolved around being a good housewife, whose major task was to serve her husband and children. Nora’s character creates controversy in the audience because her behavior went against the social norms at the time.  Due to the signature that Nora forged, she was scared that torvald would find out because she knew that he would react negatively since women were not allowed to borrow money without their husbands’ consent. We can tell that she had unusual behavior because Mrs Linde said, “No, a wife cannot borrow without her husband’s consent.” This depicts to the audience that women are completely dominant by men and are brainwashed into thinking that it is normal to be restricted from a lot of things. This has lead to Nora being very vulnerable to Krogstad’s blackmail.  
Consequently, women in the past were not treated equally and we can see this from Torvald’s horror of his employees thinking that he had been influenced in a decision about Krogstad’s job by his wife. “Now you have destroyed all my happiness. You have ruined  my whole future… I am condemned to humiliation and ruined simply for the weakness of women”. This quote shows us that Torvald cares a lot about his reputation and is terrified that people will find out about the signature Nora forged. Torvald admits through anger that he finds Nora weak and that he can’t believe that his reputation will be ruined by such a “weak” woman. In fact, in a male dominated society whenever the woman had a problem her husband would be the one to take care of it. Victorian men looked for women that were innocent or gave an innocent impression. For instance, women in this time period were not allowed to express themselves or show opinion. They were expected to be vulnerable, weak and to constantly seek for dominating male approval.