In Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, one of the main focuses is gender roles and their impact on the characters. In the Scandinavian society that the book takes place in, men are supposed to be in charge and to be responsible for their family. Women, on the other hand, are supposed to stay at home, take care of the house and children, and look pretty. However, a lot of the characters in the play don't fit into these roles. In the play, gender roles consistently limit the happiness of both women and men.
One of the more obvious character that is unhappy because of gender roles is Nora. In the play, Torvald, Nora's husband, expects Nora to serve only her "husband and children", but she is unhappy, with the life that is forced upon her, because she has "Duties to myself."(105) This lets the reader know that she is unhappy because she is a female, and her only roles, as society dictates, are to serve her husband and care for her children. However, she was extremely unhappy; she wanted more from life. This is a great example of how gender roles are forcing women into unwanted predicament and the discontent that it causes.
Another great example of sadness that gender roles create in a character is Mrs. Linde. In this example gender roles aren't causing unhappiness in the same way, but they are still creating it. In this case, Mrs. Linde believes that the only way that she can find happiness is through having someone "to live for"(17). This means taking care of someone, providing for them, doing everything that they want, which is what society has been telling her that she should do because she is a female. And this is works out for a while, but when her husband dies and her mother and brothers are ok she feels "empty." (17) Because of gender roles she has been convinced that the only joy in life is to care for someone else, and it is this narrow-mindedness that is causing her to be unhappy.