"A Doll's House," written by Henrik Ibsen makes many hints about the roles of society and how females were treated at the time. According to the author, ".it is not about women's rights as such; rather, the drama is about human rights." (Forward 1) However, from this play you can observe what Ibsen believed about the roles of society and the equality between males and females. The author shows how the roles were perceived at the time the play was written and what he believed about the central issues.
Nora Helmer, the main character, strives to be the perfect wife and mother that society expects her to be; however, she is trapped within a "dollhouse" that is her home. Helmer has built a fine life for his doll wife and her wonderful doll children. Nora's transformation comes later as she discovers her role in society is forced upon her and has a desperate need to get out.
Nora's unique relationship with her husband appears at first to quite a loving one. However, as the play progresses, the reader notices that Helmer continuously demeans his wife with his pet names for her. According to A new world for women? Stephanie Forward considers Nora's dramatic exit from Ibsen's A Doll's House, "These diminutive terms may become irritating to the audience, because they are so demeaning" (Forward 2) She does love Torvald, but only because that's what she's supposed to do. Women are to love their husbands. Torvald does not allow Nora to prosper as her own self, as was the custom of the times. The way Torvald talks to his wife suppresses her intense intellectual desire; she is smothered under Torvald's disrespect. Torvald says in the very first scene, "Is that my little lark twittering out there?" (Ibsen 1251) This phrase sets up the character and his relationship with his wife.
While Nora is the protagonist, there are other female characters in the play. Anne Marie, the Helmers' nanny, illustrates everything that Nora is not and was Nora's only mother.