Ibsen condemns the stereotypical gender codes constructed by the patriarchal nature of society from the humanitarian postmodernist point of view while Glaspell is overtly feminist in her treatment of the theme.
Ibsen begins the story with the conventional setting of an apparently ideal family upheld by the Western culture with the father as the protector and bread earner (Shideler). Ibsen points out the ideal only to disillusion by presenting the irony of such a concept. He subverts the gender codes that society has created and points out how wrongfully such false and erroneous notions can disrupt the man-woman relationship. Ibsen focuses to bring forth the fact that the gender codes have no validity and should not be held as scriptures. In his play, he deconstructs the patriarchal notions time and again to expose societal compulsions of role-playing and how women become the worst victims of such unrealistic expectations and norms. His play centers on Torvald and his wife Nora where the husband Torvald believes in and religiously go by the fact that a man is the master of his household. He sways his authority over his wife and children and they obey him as something normal and natural. But it is the financial instability and Torvald’s inability to prove himself as the savior that begins to raise doubts and questions about the ‘father-figure’ of the male authority. Ibsen has deliberately shown that it is the financial independence of men and dependence of women that have actually been the reason for the empowerment of men and subjugation of women (Shideler). He is the course of his play shows that with the role reversal of the bread earner there is a shift of power. Ibsen tends to break all patriarchal myths by reducing them to be based on mere economic reasons.