Stylistic Analysis of Characters in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House: Masculinity and Supremacy vs. Femininity and Helplessness

Document Type: Research Article


Department of English, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


A Doll’s House brought about the disillusionment of many men and women in the 19th century with its unique probing of the dynamics of married life as well as its uncompromising critique of a society that did not respect the freedom of human beings. Drawing on the works of stylisticians like Jeffries and Mills as well as using stylistic tools including endearments and sexist language, modality, and negation, this study aimed to analyze Helmer’s and Nora’s language. This research clarifies Nora’s doll-like status at home and sheds some light on the strategies her husband adopts to maintain a kind of husband-doll relationship. Findings show that Nora sometimes acts like a doll on purpose to achieve her goals without posing any threat to Helmer’s authority at home. Helmer seems to dote on Nora; he does not respect her as an equally respectable human being.


Burt, D. S. (2008). The drama 100: A ranking of the greatest plays of all time. New York: Facts on File.

Callens, J. (1998). Sam Shepard: Between the margin and the center. Contemporary Theater Review, 8(3), 1-18.

Cameron, D. (Ed.). (1998). The feminist critique of language: A reader. London and New York: Routledge.

Chong-Gossard, J. H. K. (2008). Gender and communication in Euripides’ plays: Between song and silence. Boston: Brill.

Connell, R. W. (2005). Masculinities (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Egan, M. (Ed.). (1972). Henrik Ibsen: The critical heritage. London and New York: Routledge.

Forough, M. (1959). A doll’s house. Tehran: Bongah Tarjomeh va Nashre Ketab.       

Friedan, B. (1974). The feminine mystique. New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.

Ibsen, H. (1958). A doll’s house: And two other plays: The wild duck; The lady from the sea (trans. by R. Farquharson Sharp & E. Marx-Aveling, 1879). London: Dent.

Jeffries, L. (2010). Critical stylistics: The power of English. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jeffries, L., & McIntyre, D. (2011). Stylistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McFarlane, J. (Ed.). (1994). The Cambridge companion to Ibsen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mills. S. (1995). Feminist stylistics. London: Routledge.

Moi, T. (2016). First and foremost a human being: Idealism, theater, and gender in A Doll’s House. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from the World Wide Web:

Norgaard, N. et al. (2010). Key terms in stylistics. New York: Continuum.

Templeton, J. (1989). The doll house backlash: Criticism, feminism, and Ibsen. Modern Language Association. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from the World Wide Web:

Tyson, L. (2006). Critical theory today: A user-friendly guide (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Yates, R. (2008). Revolutionary road. New York: Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, Inc.