Consider the way the roles of woman and wife are depicted in the play. A feminist
reading would be alert for signs of power contestation. It would examine Nora’s ability to
exert her will and control her destiny. Feminist readers would also ask about Kristine’s
role in the play.
Feminist readers would interrogate the play to ask why or on whose judgment such a
marriage as Nora and Torvald’s should seem desirable. Feminist critics would probe
beyond the text to consider whether such differences in feeling and experience as the
play suggests between Nora and Torvald obtained in marriages during Ibsen’s lifetime,
thus sharing an interest with new historicist critics in the social and cultural background.
These critics might take a closer look at the play’s abrupt ending with its slamming door,
and wonder whether it masks an undercurrent of powerlessness and of looking back.
A checklist of feminist critical questions
1. To what extent does the presentation of women (and men) in the work reflect the
place and time in which the work was written?
2. How are the relations between men and women, or those between members of
the same sex, presented to the work? What roles do men and women assume
and perform and with w3hat consequences?
3. Does the author present the work from within a predominantly males or female
sensibility? Why might this have been done, and with what effects?
4. How do the facts of the author’s life relate to the presentation of men and women
in the work? To their relative degrees of power?
5. How do other words by the author correspond to this one in in their depiction of
the power relationship between men and women?