Study Guide

A Doll's House Men and Masculinity

By Henrik Ibsen

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Men and Masculinity

The men of A Doll's House are in many ways just as trapped by traditional gender roles as the women (Torvald Helmer being the chief example). The men must be providers. They must bear the burden of supporting the entire household. They must be the infallible kings of their respective castles. By the end of the play, these traditional ideas are truly put to the test.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. In what ways is Torvald caged by society's prescribed masculine roles?
  2. There is usually a lot of discussion about Torvald's sexist behavior, but what sexism does Krogstad demonstrate? Dr. Rank?
  3. In what ways is Torvald's masculine self-worth tied into his public reputation? Krogstad's?
  4. Are there any moments in the play where the men defy the gender roles prescribed for them by society?

Chew on This

Torvald is just as much a prisoner of society's prescribed gender roles as Nora is.

At the end of the play, we are given hope that Torvald will reach beyond his society's concept of masculinity.

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