A Doll's House: The Importance Of Character Relationships And Developments

1408 words - 6 pages

It is known in IB that there are certain principles that define socio-cultural psychology; human beings are social animals, and we have a basic need to belong, culture influences behavior, humans are social animals, therefore they have a social self, and people's view of the world are resistant to change. The psychology of social relationships is key to analyzing the the affect of them on themes in literature. A great example of these principles and how they influence the character's thoughts and development into a theme is within a classic play by the Swedish playwright Henrik Ibsen. The character development within Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House contributes to the themes within the play such as the role of women, parental obligations, and unreliability of appearances. The themes are displayed by the relationships between the character and the conflicts that arise, may they be external or internal. Along with the character development of individual characters, the relationships between them depending on their type of relationship such as platonic, one-sided, or requited love.
The setting of the play is within the Victorian Era of Sweden, and with this environment the role of women was even more apparent in the play. This theme was exemplified in a multitude of ways but the most important would be through women's sacrifice of integrity “...no man would sacrifice his honor for the woman he loves.” (Torvald Act 3) “It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done” (Nora Act 3). In the play the character Nora chose to take care of her husband instead of her father when both fell ill. It had revealed the the social expectations of women having their husbands as first priority after being married off, but if that had not been the case the father would have been first priority. Yet always men are put on a pedestal even when her hand is being passed on to another man. This era was especially strict in many respects, and even the mere talk of sex and even babies was distasteful. Gender roles were pretty darn confining, women were expected to be submissive to their husbands; as husbands were expected to dominate. Women raised the children; while men provided for the household. So it went, Anyone who challenged these deeply entrenched values faced some serious consequences, albeit within the play Torvald is especially lenient with Nora. This relates to the second principle on how culture influence behavior, despite the way Torvald regards Nora at times, she is expected to abide to her husbands wishes as the culture allows, and even hides her discrepancies of the cultural norm by lying to him.
Throughout the play the theme of parental obligations and the internal struggle to accept them reoccurs in both major and minor characters. For example the Nanny of the Helmer household had to abandon her own children in order to accept the job of taking care of Nora's kids. Although Nora herself ignores parental obligations at all costs, even though she has...

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