A Doll's House

The Fluidity of Gender Identity in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House College

In discussions of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, one major controversial issue has been the representation of women. This issue has been debated by many critics in light of gender and feminist theories, in an attempt to decipher Nora’s subversion of enforced gender norms and her transformation from a domesticated and a subordinated female into an autonomous and non-conforming dissident. On the one hand, Unni Langas in “What Did Nora Do? Thinking Gender with A Doll’s House” maintains that the culmination point of the play, in which Nora decides to break free from the domestic incarceration she’s been trapped in stems from “the realization that she’s trapped in a gendered system of subordination...that govern her life as a woman” (Langas 165). She argues that Ibsen’s play challenges the “notion of gender as a natural thing inevitably tied to our bodies,” thus conforming to Judith Butler’s theory of performativity. On the other hand, Guo Yahuea claims that, through representing the downfall or demise of the masculine power as a result of “female’s ideological awakening,” Ibsen’s A Doll’s House offers a damning critique of gender inequality by suggesting “a new structure of society” in which women flout enforced gender norms and society’s...

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