A Doll's House

Keeping Up Appearances College

“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, in many ways, addresses the divide between the concept of work itself and the perceptions of one’s own work. In reality, a person’s idea of work can differ from the kind of work actually done. When people think of the word “work,” images that come into mind include physical labor or any type of visible and tangible job or career. Household duties and production, however, is hardly ever accounted for. The emotional and mental labor of being placed in a specific gender role is also hard work. There is no monetary compensation involved. Instead, the protagonist of the play, Nora, is dedicated to the subtle rewards of keeping up appearances, both her own and her family’s. This facade shows how a woman’s place at home or at work is solely based off producing a certain image at all times. Women are trapped by society’s forced idealistic view of who they should be, and true freedom is compromised when a sense of control and individuality is lost.

In the beginning of the play, Nora’s idea of the work she does equates to the work she is expected to do by her husband, Torvald. However, the play gets complicated when this divide is realized. Nora holds the family’s reputation in her words, behavior, and...

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