Explain how and why financial stability was a major aspect of 19th century marriage. Using the play as reference, what were the options available to women if they did not secure a husband who could support her?
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Certainly women were pressured to "marry well". That pretty much meant marrying a man with social stature and wealth. Women were not a major part of the work force or earners of money. This play focuses on the ways that women are perceived in their various roles, especially in marriage and motherhood. Torvald, in particular, has a very clear but narrow definition of women's roles. He believes that it is the sacred duty of a woman to be a good wife and mother. Moreover, he tells Nora that women are responsible for the morality of their children. In essence, he sees women as childlike, helpless creatures detached from reality on the one hand, but on the other hand as influential moral forces responsible for the purity of the world through their influence in the home.