A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen is a play about women's roles in society in the 19th century. Women are treated as inferior beings, while the men are deemed as superior. Ibsen presents the play's main character, Nora, as being a helpless child. Throughout the play she carries on like a child and the people around her treat her as such. The theme of women's roles in society and how men treat women as helpless creatures is demonstrated through the development of the character, the setting, and through the use of symbolism.
In A Dolls House, Nora's character is child-like and carefree. She shows that she is not totally unaware that her life is at odds with her true personality. For instance, she defies her husband, Torvald in small yet meaningful ways-by eating macaroons and then lying to him about it. She also swears, just for the pleasure she receives from the minor rebellion against societies standards. Nora seems completely happy. She responds affectionately to Torvald's teasing, speaks with excitement about the extra money his new job will give them, and takes pleasure in the company of her children and friends. She does not seem to mind her doll-like existence, in which she is babied, pampered, and patronized. Torvald sees Nora as a dependent and helpless child. She is his prize possession and this is seen through the way that she performs song and dance for him. Mrs. Linde, Nora's old school friend sees her as a young girl without a care or worry in the world. While she is wise and somber, Nora is impetuous. Her choice to tell Mrs. Linde about her secret seems to be more of a boast of a small child than a thoughtful adult. Nora is a dynamic character in the play because she recognizes her place in her marriage with Torvald and realizes that all along she has been doing things to please others but she never knew what it was to be her own true self.