Skip to content

A Doll House Essay Protagonist

The Awakening and A Doll House Comparison Essay

1233 WordsNov 12th, 20135 Pages

Women roles have drastically changed since the late 18th and early 19th century. During this time, women did not have the freedom to voice their opinions and be themselves. Today women don’t even have to worry about the rules and limitations like the women had to in this era. Edna in “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin and Nora in “A Doll House” by Henrik Ibsen were analogous protagonists. The trials they faced were also very similar. Edna and Nora were both faced with the fact that they face a repressive husband whom they both find and exit strategy for. For Nora this involved abandoning her family and running away, while Edna takes the option that Nora could not do-committing suicide. These distinct texts both show how women were forced to…show more content…

Unexpectedly, Robert and Edna become extremely close with each other by summer's end. Unwilling to further his relationship with a married woman, Robert leaves the country for Mexico. Furthermore, Leónce truly believed he had no obligation to care for his children and that it was Edna’s duty to do so. “If it was not a mother’s place to look after the children, whose on earth was it?” (Chopin 7). In society’s eyes, all a man needed to do was support their kids financially while the woman supported them in other ways. Chopin focuses on two other female characters in the story, Adele Ratignolle and Mademoiselle Reisz. These women are examples of how women should be in the nineteenth century. Adele was an example of a "motherly woman.” She would gladly sacrifice anything to care for her children, husband, and household, while Edna would not. Edna finds both role models lacking and begins to see that the life of freedom and individuality that she wants goes against society. Not only did society have a specific look on how a women should be, but Leónce as well, towards Edna. “’You are burnt beyond recognition,” he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage.” This shows how Edna is not an acceptable color according to her husband’s wishes. Edna had specific guidelines to follow

Show More

In some editions of A Doll’s House, the speech prompts refer to the character of Torvald Helmer as “Torvald;” in others, they refer to him as “Helmer.” Similarly, in some editions, Mrs. Linde’s first name is spelled “Christine” rather than “Kristine.”

Nora -  The protagonist of the play and the wife of Torvald Helmer. Nora initially seems like a playful, naïve child who lacks knowledge of the world outside her home. She does have some worldly experience, however, and the small acts of rebellion in which she engages indicate that she is not as innocent or happy as she appears. She comes to see her position in her marriage with increasing clarity and finds the strength to free herself from her oppressive situation.

Read an in-depth analysis of Nora.

Torvald Helmer -  Nora’s husband. Torvald delights in his new position at the bank, just as he delights in his position of authority as a husband. He treats Nora like a child, in a manner that is both kind and patronizing. He does not view Nora as an equal but rather as a plaything or doll to be teased and admired. In general, Torvald is overly concerned with his place and status in society, and he allows his emotions to be swayed heavily by the prospect of society’s respect and the fear of society’s scorn.

Read an in-depth analysis of Torvald Helmer.

Krogstad -  A lawyer who went to school with Torvald and holds a subordinate position at Torvald’s bank. Krogstad’s character is contradictory: though his bad deeds seem to stem from a desire to protect his children from scorn, he is perfectly willing to use unethical tactics to achieve his goals. His willingness to allow Nora to suffer is despicable, but his claims to feel sympathy for her and the hard circumstances of his own life compel us to sympathize with him to some degree.

Read an in-depth analysis of Krogstad.

Mrs. Linde -  Nora’s childhood friend. Kristine Linde is a practical, down-to-earth woman, and her sensible worldview highlights Nora’s somewhat childlike outlook on life. Mrs. Linde’s account of her life of poverty underscores the privileged nature of the life that Nora leads. Also, we learn that Mrs. Linde took responsibility for her sick parent, whereas Nora abandoned her father when he was ill.

Dr. Rank -  Torvald’s best friend. Dr. Rank stands out as the one character in the play who is by and large unconcerned with what others think of him. He is also notable for his stoic acceptance of his fate. Unlike Torvald and Nora, Dr. Rank admits to the diseased nature (literally, in his case) of his life. For the most part, he avoids talking to Torvald about his imminent death out of respect for Torvald’s distaste for ugliness.

Bob, Emmy, and Ivar -  Nora and Torvald’s three small children. In her brief interaction with her children, Nora shows herself to be a loving mother. When she later refuses to spend time with her children because she fears she may morally corrupt them, Nora acts on her belief that the quality of parenting strongly influences a child’s development.

Anne-Marie -  The Helmers’ nanny. Though Ibsen doesn’t fully develop her character, Anne-Marie seems to be a kindly woman who has genuine affection for Nora. She had to give up her own daughter in order to take the nursing job offered by Nora’s father. Thus, she shares with Nora and Mrs. Linde the act of sacrificing her own happiness out of economic necessity.

Nora’s father -  Though Nora’s father is dead before the action of the play begins, the characters refer to him throughout the play. Though she clearly loves and admires her father, Nora also comes to blame him for contributing to her subservient position in life.