In context

In 1858, Ibsen married Suzannah Thoreson, and eventually had one son with her. Ibsen felt that, rather than merely live together, husband and wife should live as equals, free to become their own human beings. -Sparknotes

A Doll’s House also manifests Ibsen’s concern for women’s rights, and for human rights in general. -Sparknotes

When the novel was published, in 1879, women's rights were just beginning to be stressed by women in society.

Ibsen, the author, thout that women deserved to be equal to men in their relationships. However, he still believed that women belonged in their traditional roles. His writings reflect his beliefs. He was critisized for the views he protrayed in his play, and was even asked to rewrite the ending as many men found it offensive.

In the novel

In order to support her mother and two brothers, Mrs. Linde found it necessary to abandon Krogstad, her true—but penniless—love, and marry a richer man. The nanny had to abandon her own child to support herself by working as Nora’s (and then as Nora’s children’s) caretaker. As she tells Nora, the nanny considers herself lucky to have found the job, since she was “a poor girl who’d been led astray.” -Sparknotes

Furthermore, she must work in secret to pay off her loan because it is illegal for a woman to obtain a loan without her husband’s permission. -Sparknotes

Individuals and families–and the society in which they live–malfunction when males oppress females, reducing them to mere objects or playthings. This theme does not reflect Ibsen's own views. He was a traditionalist who believed in the traditional role of women in society. In developing this theme, he was presenting reality, not advocating change. -Cummings Guides - Essay on topic

In the story Nora finds herself treated as a sort of "doll", hence the name of the play. Her husband treats her almost like a child, and in return she acts like one. Though she manages to transend this childlike attitude when she secretly pays off her husbands debt, illegally, she simply plays into the traditional role of the wife. The illegality of her loan also comes full circle, and she must deal with societies oppression of women. In all, she is treated as a lesser to her husband and in society.

Nora, gaining a sort of freedom from the typical role of a woman, divorces Torvald in the end. This, in short, is her rejection of the oppressed status of women in society and is reflective of Torvald's view of his times.