The Controversial Theme of A Doll House In his play, A Doll House, Henrik Ibsen depicts a female protagonist, Nora Helmer, who dares to defy her husband Torvald, and forsake her "duty" as a wife and mother to seek out her individuality. A Doll House challenges the patriarchal view held by most people at the time that a woman's place was in the home. Many women could relate to Nora's situation. Like Nora, they felt trapped by their husbands and their fathers; however, they believed that the rules of society prevented them from stepping out of the shadows of men. Through this play, Ibsen stresses the importance of women's individuality.

The characters of this play help to support Ibsen's opinions. Nora's initial characteristics are that of a bubbly, child-like wife who is strictly dependent on her husband. This subordinate role from which Nora progresses emphasizes the need for change. The problem in A Doll House lies not only with Torvald, but also with the entire Victorian society. Females were confined in every way imaginable. When Torvald does not immediately offer to help Nora after Krogstad threatens to expose her, Nora realizes that there is a problem.

By waiting until after he discovers that his social status will suffer no harm, Torvald reveals his true feelings, which puts both social and physical appearance, ahead of the wife whom he says he loves. This revelation is what prompts Nora to walk out on Torvald. When Torvald tries to reconcile with Nora, she explains to him how she had been treated like a child all her life; her father had treated her much the same way Torvald does. Both male superiority figures not only denied her the right to think and act the way she wished, but limited her happiness. Nora describes her feelings as "always merry, never happy" (Is ben). After eight years of marriage, Nora Helmer realizes that her husband has never looked at her as a human being but only as a doll.

When Nora finally slams the door and leaves, she is not only slamming it on Torvald, but also on everything else that has happened in her past which curtailed her growth into a mature woman..