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A Doll’s House Essay

a doll's house essay

Example #1

In reading Ibsen’s A Doll’s House today, one may find it hard to imagine how daring it seemed at the time it was written one hundred years ago. Its theme, the emancipation of a woman, makes it seem almost contemporary. In Act I, there are many clues that hint at the kind of marriage Nora and Torvald have. It seems that Nora is a doll controlled by Torvald. She relies on him for everything, from movements to thoughts, much like a puppet who is dependent on its puppet master for all of its actions. The most obvious example of Torvald’s physical control over Nora is his reteaching her the tarantella. Nora pretends that she needs Torvald to teach her every move in order to relearn the dance.

The reader knows this is an act, and it shows her submissiveness to Torvald. After he teaches her the dance, he proclaims “When I saw you turn and sway in the tarantella-my blood was pounding till I couldn’t stand it”(1009), showing how he is more interested in Nora physically than emotionally. When Nora responds by saying “Go away, Torvald! Leave me alone. I don’t want all this”(1009), Torvald asks “Aren’t I your husband?”(1009). By saying this, he is implying that one of Nora’s duties as his wife is to physically pleasure him at his command. Torvald also does not trust Nora with money, which exemplifies Torvald’s treating Nora as a child.

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On the rare occasion when Torvald gives Nora some money, he is concerned that she will waste it on candy and pastry; in modern times, this would be comparable to Macauly Culkin being given money, then buying things that “would rot his mind and his body” in the movie Home Alone. Nora’s duties, in general, are restricted to caring for the children, doing housework, and working on her needlepoint. A problem with her responsibilities is that her most important obligation is to please Torvald, making her role similar to that of a slave. Many of Ibsen’s works are problem plays in which he leaves the conclusion up to the reader. The problem in A Doll’s House lies not only with Torvald but with the entire Victorian society.

Females were confined in every way imaginable. When Torvald does not immediately offer to help Nora after Krogstad threatens to expose her, Nora realizes that there is a problem. By waiting until after he discovers that his social status will suffer no harm, Torvald reveals his true feelings which put appearance, both social and physical, ahead of the wife whom he says he loves. This revelation is what prompts Nora to walk out on Torvald. When Torvald tries to reconcile with Nora, she explains to him how she had been treated like a child all her life; her father had treated her much the same way Torvald does. Both male superiority figures not only denied her the right to think and act the way she wished but limited her happiness. Nora describes her feelings as “always merry, never happy.”

When Nora finally slams the door and leaves, she is not only slamming it on Torvald but also on everything else that has happened in her past which curtailed her growth into a mature woman. In today’s society, many women are in a situation similar to Nora’s. Although many people have accepted women as being equal, there are still people in modern America who are doing their best to suppress the feminist revolution. People ranging from conservative radio-show hosts who complain about “flaming femi-nazis,” to women who use their “feminine charm” to accomplish what they want are what is holding the female gender back. Both of these mindsets are expressed in A Doll’s House.

Torvald is an example of today’s stereotypical man, who is only interested in his appearance and the amount of control he has over a person, and does not care about the feelings of others. Nora, on the other hand, is a typical example of a woman who plays to a man’s desires. She makes Torvald think he is much smarter and stronger than he actually is. However, when Nora slams the door and Torvald is no longer exposed to her manipulative nature, he realizes what true love and equality are and that they cannot be achieved with people like Nora and himself together. If everyone in the modern world were to view males and females as completely equal, and if neither men nor women used the power that society gives them based on their sex, then, and only then, could true equality exists in our world.


Example #2

Henrik Ibsen’s, A Doll House, is a realistic play written in the mindset of realism. Throughout the play, lines of mockery and emphasis are present, giving the audience the feeling of fakeness and showing them a particular depiction of women in the 19th century. It is apparent that Ibsen set out to give a specific character, Nora, a role to play as the stereotypical 19th-century woman, continually showing her need for individuality and lack of dependency. This is the main theme in A Doll House.

From the first lines of the show, it is clear how Ibsen wants the audience to portray the role of women and continues to use this theme throughout the remainder of the show. As the show progresses, we see a parallel progression in the character of Nora. She has been babied her entire life, not only by her father but now by her husband, Torvald, who only treats her as a pet, not as a wife. Her main struggle through the play is to find her independence and freedom as an individual. This is difficult for her, however, for she has never had to strain to get anything. She’s always had things handed to her and has always lived an over-comfortable lifestyle.

Even though her dialogue, it’s easy to sense that all of her happiness is fake because she feels like a trapped animal, just living life as it’s given to her, instead of her taking the initiative to do things for herself. As a result of this upbringing, Nora is materialistic and impulsive. Over the duration of the play, however, the development of Nora’s character shows the audience that her ways are only a cover for the emptiness she feels each day. In the play, we find out that she secretly negotiates a loan with Nils Krogstad, in order to pay for a trip to Italy for her husband’s illness and recovery. Everyone thinks that Nora’s father funded the trip, but the audience finds, to their surprise, that it was she who actually paid for it.


Example #3

A Doll’s House is a play written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879 depicting the marriage between Nora and Torvald Helmer. Nora and Torvald fell in love with the conceptions of each other, not their real selves, which in the end causes the marriage to fall apart when they are faced with reality. A Doll’s House is set in nineteenth-century Europe. It is the story of Nora, a typical housewife, and Torvald, her husband. They have three children and live in a beautiful house where all of the action takes place. The story reveals that when Torvald was sick and the only way to save him was to go to Italy, Nora borrowed a large sum of money from the bank without his knowledge to finance the trip. Being a woman at this time, however, she needed someone to sign the loan for her.

When unable to ask her father, for he was on his deathbed, Nora forged his signature. This comes to haunt her later when Nils Krogstad, the banker who she borrowed money from, blackmails her. As the truth unfolds and Torvald finds out about Nora’s secret he is extremely mad and calls her a liar and says she cannot bring up their children. Torvald is more concerned about their image and what people will think than anything else. However, when Torvald receives a second letter from Krogstad with the promissory note stating that Krogstad will not use it against him, Torvald tries to take back all the mean things he said. Nora decides that she does not love Torvald anymore because their marriage is superficial and because he doesn’t treat her as an equal. She leaves her children and plans to go back to where she came from to try and find herself.

My sister and my mother disagree on the theme of “A Doll House”. The conflict they have is whether or not “A Doll House” is a feminist text or not. Ibsen, the writer of “A Doll House”, has himself said that his play is not a feminist text. Even though he did not intend it to be, it is a feminist text. “A Doll House” is not a feminist text. I think the story is about a woman who thought she knew herself until one event turns her world upside down.

My sister’s view, “Is A Doll House a Feminist Text?”, says that “A Doll House” is a feminist. She admits that Ibsen himself says “A Doll House” is not about women’s rights but “the description of humanity.” She believes that “A Doll House” is still a feminist text because people take it to be one. She finds it to be ironic that “A Doll House” is an icon of the women’s movement, even though it is not about women’s rights. It is argued by my mom that Ibsen would not admit “A Doll House” to be a play on women’s rights because he did not want to be associated with the women’s movement since it was not popular at the time. This is however only because as Ibsen said “whenever such a description is felt to be reasonably true, the reader will read his own feelings and sentiments into the work.

I believe the story is actually about a woman who thinks she knows herself. Nora, at the beginning of the story, does not understand just what kind of position she has put herself in by taking the loan, without her husband’s knowledge. Nora doesn’t think that the debt is such a big deal. She understands she will have to work to pay it off, however, she does not realize that she has put her secret in the hands of a desperate, greedy man. Nor does she understand just how in love she is with Helmer. In the beginning, Nora says “I could never think of going against you? to her husband, and yet in the end she does. It is not until the very end of the play when Helmer opens the letter from Krogstad, that Nora truly knows herself.

Helmer yells at Nora for what she has done and practically condemns her to hell. She begins to understand here that she has never actually loved Helmer. She also begins to see that she has to lead a sheltered life, and has never truly lived. She recognizes that she has responsibilities towards her family, but to herself more importantly. So the thing that made Nora leave was the opening of the letter, which finally put things into perspective for her. Nora did not leave because of female liberation. “A Doll House” is not a feminist text. Even though it is taken by my sister and mother to be a women’s rights icon. I think the story is merely about a woman, who realizes her perception of things is all wrong, through a single event, so she leaves her family in order to live her life as she now understands it should be.


Example #4

The main theme in a Doll’s House play is feminist of the time. Nora and Helmer are model husband and wife, living in peace and harmony in their family until Mrs. Linde, an older friend to Nora made a visit to their home in search of a job. Nora manages to secure a job for Mrs. Linde but unfortunately pushes Mr. Krogstad an accused forger out of his job. Generally, in this play, Henrik Ibsen pointedly captures the inferior role of women in Victorian society through his doll motif.

The play ‘A Doll’s House’ is one of the controversial plays, where Nora’s decisive actions to dump her kids is contradictory to her thoughts as she thinks that her kids need her more than she needs her own freedom. The author of the play believed that women were made to be mothers and wives. Moreover, he brings some idea of having an eye for the injustice on the female characters. Although feminists would later hold him, Ibsen was not an activist of women’s rights; he only handled the problem of women’s rights as an aspect of realism within the play.

The key theme of this play is Nora’s insurgence against society and everything that was really expected of her (Ibsen 140). During her era, women were not expected to be self-reliant but were to remain supportive of their husbands, take care of the kids, cook, clean, and make everything perfect around the house. When Nora took a loan to pay for her husband’s medical bill, this raised a lot of questions and problems in the minds of many individuals from the community, as it was taken as an act against the community norms for women to take up a loan without their husbands’ knowledge.

She proved that she was not submissive and helpless as her husband Torvalds thought she was. Thus the author referred to her as a “poor helpless little creature.” A good example of Torvald’s thought control and Nora’s submissiveness was when she got him to remind her tarantella, she knew the dance style but she acted as if she needed him to re-teach her everything. When he said to her “watching you swing and dance the tarantella makes my blood rush” (Ibsen 125), this clearly shows that he is more interested in her physically than emotionally. Then when asked to stop he said to her, “am I not your husband?” once more this is another example of Torvald’s control over Nora, and how he thinks that Nora is there to fulfill his every desire on command.

Marriage is another aspect that the play addresses; the main message seems to be that, a true working marriage is a joining of equals. In the beginning, Helmers looks happy but as the play progress, the imbalance between them becomes apparent. In the end, their marriage breaks because of a lack of misunderstanding among them. They fail to realize themselves and to act as equals. (Johnston 671)Throughout the play, Nora breaks away from the control of her arrogant husband, Torvald. The playwright, Ibsen denies that he wrote a feminist play. Still, throughout the play, there is a steady talk of women, their traditional roles, and the price for them defying the traditions. (Johnston 570)

Men in this play are trapped by general traditional gender responsibilities. They are seen as the chief providers of the family and they should be in charge of supporting the entire household. Men must be the perfect kings of their respective palaces. We see these traditional ideas put across at the end of the play. The men in this play are occupied with their reputation. Some men have integrity in their society and do anything to protect it. Even if the play setup is in a living room, the public eye is portrayed through the curtains. In the play, ‘A Doll’s House’, the characters spend a lot of time discussing their wealth. Some characters are financially stable and promise free-flowing money in the future while others struggle to make the end meet. (Ibsen 132)

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Love has been given a priority in the play where good time has been used on the topic but in the end, Helmers realize that there was no true love between them. Romantic love is seen for two of the other characters, but for the main character, true love is pathetic (Ibsen 200). There are some examples in the play where this aspect is used, in Act 1 where Torvald condemns Krogstad for forgery and not coming forward. He also mentions that this action corrupts children’s minds. As a reader, you should know that this is very important to Nora because we know that she had committed forgery in the play and kept it a secret from Torvald. (Johnston 603)

It’s ironic when Torvald says that he pretends Nora is in some kind of trouble, and he waits for the time he can rescue her. When the truth is known and Torvald has been given a chance to save Nora, he is all concerned with his reputation (Ibsen 128). He abused her by calling her names such as featherbrain; he is not interested in rescuing Nora is interested in how he escapes out of this mess without affecting his reputation negatively. Then, when Krogstad brings back the IOU document, Torvald shouts that he is rescued and he has forgiven Nora. Ironically, he did not even consider that she had borrowed the money earlier to save him.

The play is set during the holiday period. Its Christmas period for the Helmers and New Year celebration is approaching. Both Christmas and New Year are associated with rebirth and renewal (Johnston 589). Several characters in the play go through a rebirth process both Nora and Torvald go through a spiritual awakening, which can be taken as a rebirth. When things fail to happen, she realizes that it will not be possible for her to be a fully realized person until she divorces her husband. Finally, at the end of the play, Helmer and Nora have been reborn.


Example #5

In Isben’s A Doll House as in Glaspell’s Trifles, the women in the play are seen as subordinates to their male counterparts. The men believe that women are not capable of making difficult decisions or thinking for themselves. They also fail to give importance to women’s jobs as homemakers. In the case of Trifles, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters discourse is seen as insignificant to the murder of Mr. Wright. In A Doll House, Nora chooses to abandon her duty as a wife and mother to find her own individuality. The men in both of the plays are responsible for their own fall, they’re false presumptions of women and patronizing ways are the main conflicts in the plays.

The women in Trifles are seen as extensions of their husbands and therefore their husbands assume they can be left alone, as Mr. Hale says, “worrying over trifles.” The play illustrates the life of a woman who has lost her individuality. She has lived isolated from society and her “hard” husband, who she eventually murders in an attempt to regain her freedom. Mrs. Wright, in her younger years, wore pretty clothes, sang in the choir, and had an overall flair for life. After she married Mr. Wright, she lived a detached rural life in a gloomy house. Mrs. Wright is forced to live the disrespected, subordinate role of a housewife while her husband makes the money.

The men make many troublesome presumptions of women’s roles in society. One was Mrs.Wright’s wanting her apron so she will feel more natural as if women who were not homemakers were unnatural. Another was leaving the women alone on the assumption that Mrs.Peters is married to the law and therefore would obey it. The evidence the men need is in the quilt that Mrs. Wright was sowing and in the dead bird found in the box. At first, the women are reluctant to conceal the evidence, but they finally identify with Mrs.Wright and hide the evidence that would implicate her in the murder of her husband. They too regain their identity in this meaningful experience.

In A Doll House, Nora, the protagonist, has been treated as a “plaything” all her life by her father and then her husband, Torvald. She is thought to be fragile and incapable of resolving any serious problems. The pet names like lark, squirrel, and songbird further diminish her status. Nora, however, secretly borrows money from Krogstad to take Torvald away when he is sick. Krogstad eventually exposes Nora’s secret gives her a miracle as well. She sees, for the first time in eight years, that Torvald has never taken her seriously and no longer loves her. Even after Nora tells him she is leaving, Torvald says, “Oh, you blind, incompetent child,” again reluctant to accept the fact that she is strong and can persevere.

Torvald is unwilling to see that Nora needs to educate herself and obtain her individuality, he can not do it for her. Both of the plays, A Doll House and Trifles, come from a feminist perspective. They deal with the relationships between men and women. The men in both of the plays view the women as secondary figures who could not understand problems in the real world. Their conflicts rest on their assumptions about the roles of women. In Trifles, the women prove to be valuable detectives, and in A Doll House, Nora relinquishes her stereotypical duties to achieve her personal goals.


Example #6 – Doll House: Insight into the Plight of Women

Henrik Isben has become an essential individual within the social dimensions and understanding the plight of women. Accordingly, the significant achievement in portraying women within the social aspect has been both unique and unusual through developing a different perspective about women. As such, the undeniable impact of the individual has been through the emphasis on creating drama on the evaluation of the rights of women. In a male-centric society, the play “A Doll House” presents a distinctive oversight about the women’s position. Accordingly, the theme of circumventing the rights of a woman is extensively prevalent. Women have to undertake a passive role in accepting their situation and focusing on individuality in accomplishing individual rights within society.

Indeed, within the patriarchal society, the evident control that men asset on women is outright both in the 19th and 21st century. Accordingly, the evaluation of women’s rights as a prevalent theme is evident in divisionary and produces diverse perspectives. The underlying social problem within Ibsen’s drama is the investigation into the rights of women across the patriarchal society. Accordingly, the focus on the tragedy in which the main character leaves her house with the ambition to make it in the world of possibilities is evident (Hill, 2010, 4). Nora takes off to undertake the personal responsibilities.

The form of personal responsibility to empower oneself is prevalent throughout the story. As such, Nora vehemently states that which duties do you mean? Nora: my duties towards myself (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 424). The majority of the pundits such as Ghafourinia & Amili, (2014, 425), emphasize that the rights of a woman within the society are at the center of the character development process. As opposed to living in an illusion with the man of her dreams, the main character focuses on making the necessary changes to create a transformative outcome. As well, the men in Nora’s life assert their control based on the belief that it is the man’s role to declare both power and order in the daily interactive process. As a clear example, Helmer emphasizes the need to enhance their reputation by making the necessary sacrifices for his life (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 425).

The patriarchal society revolves around the notion that the man should assert control over the woman. Nonetheless, Nora’s form of win is through the idea of self-development that entails becoming a woman in her own right. A society that treats her as a nullity is of concern and change should prevail. Accordingly, in a life of nullity whereby women are not appreciated for their role, Nora is willing to leave her family, marriage life and discard her full life to enjoy individuality. The dramatic play shows that the audiences come to terms with the rigidity in the morality of Helmer, Nora’s husband in accepting the rights of women that is evident. The societal perception of men surrounds the concept that a woman cannot make significant progress without the involvement of men.

As such, the man has to assert control in the operations of a woman and sacrifice is at the core of personal maturity in the social setting. Nonetheless, Nora exudes significant internal conflicts (Hill, 2010, 4). Accordingly, making the necessary sacrifices for her is evident to ensure a fulfilling life proceeds. The assertion that we have never sat down together to get anything done” portrays a clear picture of the non-existent conversation between men and women (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 425). The assertion that is outright in the monologue portrays that the treatment of women is negative. As such, women are described as second-hand creatures, and the undisputed evident rights are considerably ignored. Accordingly, the serious discussion about the role of men and women coupled with the rights of women circumvents elements of modern drama in such a divisive patriarchal society.

Due to numerous reasons, Nora opts not to stay in the Doll House any longer. The need to continue with her emotional heartache and sacrifices are too much for the main character. Accordingly, the unwillingness to submit to her husband and face the consequences is an ongoing element in the quest for self-empowerment (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 425). Consequently, the change in personal behavior through deciding to stop her submissive role in the society comprises of an unthinkable action for the middle-class woman during her time. As well, the notion that few women had taken such a drastic action during her time is an element of social drama that is relevant and influential to date.

Across the present environment, the social drama by Henrik reflects the ongoing quest for the appreciation of the role women play within the social dimension. Appreciating their rights is at the core of the drama (Isben, 2009, 1). Of significance is the ongoing feminist movement that has been fueled by such works of art that present the need for the continued appreciation of women within the social dimension. Accordingly, the evaluation of gender politics, sexuality, and power relations are some of the issues that the drama exudes relevance to the present environment. Consequently, the increasing problems of equal pay, discrimination, and reproductive rights as issues within the 21st century can be related to the period of the drama.

The ongoing theme of the rights of women portrayed in the play is of significance to the empowerment trend that is critical towards the appreciation of women. Throughout the drama, the ongoing need to appreciate the positive impact of women should be integral for men and the development process (Ghafourinia & Amili, 2014, 425). The drama should be the starting point to generate insight into the feminist movement. Inclusive of the fight for the rights of women is the grassroots that shape the quest for women’s role within the society. In a culturally specific society, addressing the underlying gender issues should be at the core of the personal movement process.

The detailed projection of the ongoing female oppression couple with an additional increase in the drama is self-moving for women in their cry for a change in society. As such the experience of the women across society is an illustration of the conventional society that is prevalent in the contemporary setting. The need to seek freedom and continued self-empowerment is an issue of concern that is highlighted by the play that resonates to date.

Conclusion. Doll House presents a unique insight into the plight of women. Within a society that is based on patriarchal views, women such as Nora have to resort to distinctive approaches to assert their position. The right of a woman to establish her position is evident and necessary for personal development. As well, the move by the main character to disregard her family and create independence is apparent. Accordingly, through her movement within the play, the prospect of empowering women in a masculine society resonates to date. Consequently, the outcome of the play is an enabling aspect for women that can be adapted to date.


Example #7 – The Inner Revolution of Nora

When Nora Helmer slammed the door shut on her doll’s house in 1879, her message sent shockwaves around the world that persist to this day. “I must stand quite alone,” Nora declares, “if I am to understand myself and everything about me” (Ibsen 64). After years of playing the role of a superficial doll, Nora transforms into an assertive and determined woman. While significant events throughout A Doll’s House hasten her sudden actions, the true cause of Nora’s transformation stems from a revolution from within. Ibsen dramatizes Nora’s discovery of identity by means of various literary techniques. By the finale of the play, Nora has survived a searing deconstruction of a false sense of self, the doll, and experiences an equally painful emergence of a new being, one devoid of the social pressures and expectations that had haunted her for years. Through her myth of transformation, Nora proves to be an ideal tragic hero.

In the unreal world of A Doll’s House, all roles and assumptions are elusive; “wife” and “mother” are the types of facades that represent the game of happy family wherein dolls masquerade as human beings. The double character of Nora is slowly revealed. She is simultaneously a “macaroon-nibbling child-wife and a heroine of the ethical life” (Durbach 63). Nora’s struggle to find her identity can be carefully examined via her confrontations with the other major characters of the story. In these experiences, the audience becomes increasingly aware of Nora’s thought processes and true characteristics. As the play progresses, the doll dies and the walls of the doll’s house begin to crack; Nora Helmer becomes a different person.

Nora’s unraveling starts with the arrival of Christine Linde to Helmer’s dollhouse. A childhood friend of Nora, Linde appears to be everything that Nora is not. From the moment she enters the play, she becomes a total juxtaposition to Nora: a displaced, independent traveler steps into the home of an immature and lush housewife. The image of “doll” versus “not-doll” is quite clear as the pale, thin, and miserable Linde dresses in shabby traveling clothing while Nora talks of her lavish dress for an upcoming party. Nora chatters on about her supposedly happy family life, almost as if she is excited to have a new guest in the doll’s house that she can “play” with. Christine tells of the tragedy that has struck her ­ her husband has died, leaving her no money or children.

Linde teases Nora, saying that she knows “so little of the burdens and troubles of life” (Ibsen 10). “You are just like the others,” responds Nora. “They all think that I am incapable of anything really serious ­ that I have gone through nothing in this world of cares” (10). Nora is quick to defend herself, pointing out that she borrowed money, without Torvald’s knowledge, to pay for the trip to Italy. What began as a physical juxtaposition of contrasting appearances now becomes a pattern of contrasting images with respect to womanhood.

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“One by one, Mrs. Linde has shed the ties (and the roles that they imply) that confine the woman to the doll’s house and define the angel in the late Victorian home: the unloved and unloving husband is dead, which frees Christine from Nora’s role as wife; there are no children, which frees her from Nora’s happily purposeful maternity; there is no house, no property, which frees Christine from doll dom itself, from Nora’s happy housekeeping in her bourgeois paradise” (Durbach 95-96). Yet for all the independent values she personifies, Linde also exemplifies to Nora that the real world outside of the doll’s house is cold, harsh, and unloving.

Nora gets a better taste of the real world in her encounters with Nils Krogstad. The parallel irony is evident between these two – both are guilty of forgery. Krogstad is a mirror that reflects back at Nora the image of a man whose fatal error causes him to be a victim of society. Although Krogstad’s motive for confronting Nora is to secure his post in her husband’s bank, his entrance definitely threatens the security of the doll’s house. If Linde is Nora’s opposite, then Krogstad is her parallel. Beneath the skin, he and Nora are both criminals. It is extremely ironic that Krogstad threatens to blackmail Nora in an effort to gain respect. He proves that desperate people can do desperate things, as Nora almost learns later in the play.

In her second encounter with Krogstad, the two outcasts discuss suicide and the courage it takes to go through with it. His demand pushes Nora over the edge of indecision and gives her the courage to accept the responsibility and consequences for her actions. By the finale of the play, the audience realizes that Krogstad is not the villain of the tale. Rather, her husband is the true villain (to be discussed later). Similar to Krogstad’s wretchedness mirroring Nora’s deceit, Krogstad’s eventual moral recovery and change parallel her metamorphosis of spirit.

Before this final meeting with Krogstad, however, Nora confronts the dying Dr. Rank. Death and disease are indeed significant themes in the play ­ from Krogstad’s moral sickness to Rank’s physical disorder. In Dr. Rank, Nora sees the mirror of her own inevitable death. He is the main representation of the disease motif, calling himself the “most wretched of all patients” (37). Because he suffers for his “father’s youthful amusements,” Rank demonstrates another theme of the story ­ that corruption and malevolence are hereditary. Ostensibly, Nora is afraid that her deceit will taint her children, and she takes the means to ensure they’re well being should she disappear As Dr. Rank slowly dies throughout the play, Nora’s wooden doll shell disintegrates and decays simultaneously. But in Nora’s case, a new autonomous woman is born.

As her last resort, Nora attempts to use her sexual prowess to obtain money from Rank. Her major moral miscalculations encourage Rank to admit his embarrassing declaration of love for her. A sense of darkness penetrates the stage, and Nora is caught in the struggle between doll and woman. Her old self, the doll, would have continued to play the role of the seductress, acquire the money, and use Dr. Rank to her liking. Yet, in this defining moment, Nora’s newfound morality wins out – “Bring in the lamp,” she instructs the maid (40). By calling for a light, Nora desires the restoration of the cheery atmosphere to the doll’s house. Nevertheless, however, the dramatic effect of calling for light underscores the fact that Nora has a sudden insight into the darkness and ugliness of dolly dem.

Her illusions are dissipated by self-consciousness and willpower long missing from her doll character. By realizing the evil within the doll’s house and within herself, Nora decides to put an end to dolly dem. For her, however, the opposite of doll dom is death ­ the doll’s house is all she knows. Nora decides that her Tarantella dance will be her final mortal performance, for she views the end of the party not only as of the termination of her marriage but also the last moments of her life. The scene in which the dance is practiced has much underlying significance. Nora wants Torvald’s full attention to keep his thoughts away from the Krogstad’s ruinous note in the letterbox. In many ways, her life is hanging from a thread: Her tarantella is also a symbolic death dance that Rank, fittingly, plays for her on the piano. Her frantic and frenetic movements symbolize the maelstrom she is caught in.

At the very epicenter, though, the dying doll finally abandons herself, albeit to chaos, despair, and uncertainty, so that the woman can emerge. In this way, the tarantella embodies her loss and regaining of identity. The true question, nevertheless, is whether or not Nora will resort to suicide. Nora has learned from Dr. Rank’s stoical acceptance of the necessity of how to face death without hysteria. These two reflect each other one final time, as Nora lights his cigar. Metaphorically, this moment “rekindles the poignant memory of what each has lost in each other…the sustaining fire, the light, the ardor of a joyful life” (Durbach 89).

One last illusion remains before Nora can fully commit to her decision. The “wonderful thing,” as she terms it, will confirm her beliefs that “when the world falls apart, Torvald will remain a pillar of altruistic self-sacrifice and prove himself a man worthy to die for” (64). Throughout the course of the play, he constantly treats her like a child, especially through his diminutive language and controlling mentality towards her. For years she has played the role of the doll, his “skylark” and “squirrel,” to achieve her wishes. Because of this manipulation, Nora is convinced Torvald will take the onus of the blame upon himself when the doll’s house comes tumbling down. “I have often wished that you might be threatened by some great danger,” he asserts, “so that I might risk my life’s blood, and everything for your sake” (Ibsen 58). As the male puppet in the house, Torvald, like Nora, has come to believe in the doll identity so resolutely that the idea replaces the reality.

Torvald’s reaction to the knowledge of his wife’s deceit, while unanticipated by Nora, is expected by the audience. He falls apart in the last fifteen minutes of the play, wondering how the incident will reflect on him. After Krogstad’s apology, Torvald’s attitude turns about-face ­ he tells Nora that although they can no longer be the loving couple they once were, they ought to stick together to maintain the appearance of happy family life. Nora, in her ultimate epiphanous experience, realizes what the audience understood all along, that independence is necessary to free herself from the world of fantasy and false romantic expectations that the doll’s house represents. She recognizes that all of her tastes and beliefs stem either from Torvald or her father.

Torvald, although insufferable at times, is the one true support in her life. When the male doll shatters, it is utterly unbearable to her. Rather than remain part of a marriage based on an intolerable lie, Nora chooses to leave her home and discover for herself the individuality that has long been denied to her. Only an innocent creature can brave the perils of the outside world to find her identity. Why doesn’t Nora commit suicide? After witnessing her husband’s collapse, she refuses to submit to a world that traps her inside of a doll’s house, a world that would punish her for an act prompted by love and compassion.

Death would have been the easy way out; Nora has the profound courage to move forward from the comfortable darkness of happy illusions to the terror and light her new life may reveal. She seeks the terror out, asking question after question even if they uproot her very existence. By defying the status quo, her place in society, Nora protests against the limitations of being a woman. What is it that is tragic about Nora? She lives through a deconstruction of a false sense of self, a doll comfortable and secure in its social position, and experiences an equally excruciating emergence of a new identity, an independent woman bereft of certainties and assumptions. In her struggle, we share her pain; in her victory, we share her triumph. She truly is a tragic hero.

According to Ibsen, the tragic hero goes through an agonizing process in which a false identity is lost and a new one is gained. The tragic hero loses Lykke, “a term encompassing all of life’s superficial and fleeting happiness,” says Ibsen (Durbach 59). Lykke clearly defines Nora early in the play. Ultimately, says Ibsen, the tragic hero gains gl¦de, “the profound joy of clearsightedness and insight” (59). Even though the play’s open ending leaves the audience wondering whether or not Nora will gain gl¦de, it is the nature of her heroic temperament to seek it out; and we should like her chances.

The advantages of Nora’s departure from doll dom are difficult to grasp for some, even incomprehensible for people like Torvald. He confronts her with questions that challenge her decision: “You don’t consider what people will say?” “Are they not your duties to your husband and your children?,” “Can you not understand your place in your own home?” “Have you not a reliable guide in such matters as these?,” ” Have you no religion?” (Ibsen 64-65). “Here are all the notations of human identity, social existence, and psychological security,” writes researcher Errol Durbach. They are “the functions that and name us, the unequivocal certainty of our place in the world, the ambiguous value system that enables us to act with confidence, all the reassuring signs God’s in heaven, all that’s right with the world” (60). By leaving the doll’s house, Nora challenges the precepts of society.

As a prerequisite for discovering her own identity, she must recreate this value system through an intense investigation of the world. To confront reality is to understand herself. Nora’s transformation is truly remarkable ­ the child we meet at the beginning is not the same woman who slams the door shut at the end. By exploring her relations with other characters in the play and analyzing Ibsen’s literary techniques, Nora’s heroic change is observed in various stages; it did not just happen overnight. Her myth of transformation is universal, for she inspires her audience to take chances in their lives, to challenge ancient precepts, to stand up for what they believe in, and to ultimately find happiness.


Example #8 – Role of Society in Doll’s House

This paper attempts to throw light on the structure of society in the form of marriage and its expectations of it, using Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. The role of women and their rights, the position of women in male domineering society, and the struggle to be independent and to find oner’s self. I’ll also talk about how society strips women of their identity and confers to them a new one which they must leave up to. The sharply defined gender roles entangle both men and women. Ibsen’s emphasis and examination of stereotypical roles of men and women in the nineteenth century and how much things have changed if they have.

The play “A Doll’s House” is a three-act play written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879 in Norway, Europe. The play is important for its critical perspectives toward nineteenth-century marriage norms. In “A Doll’s House”, Ibsen paints a bleak picture of the sacrificial roles held by women of all classes in his society. He is known as the father of the new genre in drama realism. Ibsen really portrayed what life is like especially for women living in a patriarchal society.

Its standard classification of gender roles and expectations it holds for a woman as a wife and a mother and as well as that of a man as a husband. The play lights up many flaws in society in its structure and the expectation it has for individuals in relationships. There are many central themes in the play for discussion some of which are relevant to discuss in this paper are marriage, identity, infantilism, gender, rebellion, etc. Torvald and Nora are a couple with three children and their family fits the structure of a perfectly middle-class family in their time. But this family picture of theirs became shattered when Krogstad in a letter revealed Nora’s secret to her husband who reacts to it in a way that awakened the other side of Nora that has never been nurtured.

She realizes the life of illusion and decides to leave her husband and children to go and construct her identity. Nora forged a signature to borrow money from Krogstad to save her husband’s life. When Krogstad found out he was going to lose his job to Mrs. Linde, a friend of Nora’s, he used the bond to blackmail Nora to persuade Torvald to let him keep his job in the bank. In a sweet not too sweet ending, Helmerr’s relationship was broken but Krogstad and Mrs. Linde, on the other hand, rekindled a romantic relationship they had had in the past.


Example #9 – Realism and Feminism in a Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

At first glance, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House seems to allude to feminism, speaking of the differences in the roles of men and women. The surges in feminism and the subjective perception of readers resulted in many people drawing feminist motifs from the text as they were more inclined to relate the play to personal experiences. In reality, ADH was merely a tributary realist play depicting the story of his lifelong friend Laura. Ibsen’s play stands as an example of realism rather than feminism because it portrays truthfully the characters and their conflicts. Everything is presented realistically for what it is, and this is demonstrated in various aspects of A Doll’s House.

Nora and Torvald’s marriage serves as just one of the examples of realism Ibsen depicts. Despite the frequent use of nicknames and friendly teasing, Nora’s deception and secrecy of her illegal bank loan contrast that of a “loving” partner. She even goes so far as to convince Christine and Dr. Rank to assist her in keeping the secret after they have found out. Similarly, upon realizing what Nora had done, Torvald’s one and only concern was his own reputation and job. He lashes out at Nora calling her a “miserable creature” and exclaiming “Now you have destroyed all my happiness”, unable to fathom any worthy reasoning for her actions. As a result, both their marriage and Torvald’s true character are revealed for what they truly are: simply a pretense.

Nora points this out herself in the play’s conclusion, proclaiming, “But our home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been your doll wife, just as at home I was Papa’s doll child. . . That is what our marriage has been, Torvald. ” Ibsen does not attempt to glorify their relationship and simply states facts. Nora and Helmer have been “playing” at marriage rather than living in an authentic partnership between husband and wife. Ibsen also treats Torvald’s character realistically as his vanity and selfishness are revealed over the course of the play. His concern for Nora is not out of love, but rather a result of him treating Nora as his inferior. Since she cannot make reasoned judgments herself, he must look out for her and tell her what to do.

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“You have never loved me. You have only thought it pleasant to be in love with me. ” As Nora points out, Torvald never really loved her for who she was, he only found amusement in the idea of having a subservient wife to do his bidding. As a genre, though it is common, realism does not specifically demand an unhappy conclusion. Rather, it is more important than the conclusion stays consistent and reasonable given the circumstances presented. In fact, Nora’s leaving Torvald is consistent in the way that her character has been developed throughout the play. Unlike Laura Kieler’s ending, Nora does not have such a “happy” ending with her and Torvald embracing each other as wife and husband. Even when Torvald swears that he will change and begs Nora to stay, she rejects his promises, unable to place any faith in his integrity.

Ibsen does not attempt to romanticize Nora’s leaving either. She is leaving behind her children who she loves and has to face the cruelty of the world by herself. Her future will not be easy, but nevertheless, she must still go. The realism built over the course of the plot results in this moment of final suspense, devoid of sentimentality or sympathy, only painful choices. It is evident through his writing that Ibsen never intended to write A Doll’s House as a feminist work meant to further advocate for women’s rights. Ibsen was neither interested in politics nor wanted anything to do with the feminist movements occurring at the time. On the contrary, Ibsen’s ultimate philosophy was to do with the description of humanity itself, and in order to achieve greater consistency of realism in A Doll’s House, Ibsen created the very ending that we know of today.


Example #10

‘Until death does us part.’ Well, not always. Everywhere one looks, divorce is plaguing society, and it has become widely accepted throughout the world. Now the violent shredding of a family is shrugged off like the daily weather, and the treasured marriage vows have become nothing but a promise made to be broken. In the novel The Lost World, a divorce was described along with sports cars and money as a success, not a failure. The Norwegian play A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, is a prime example of a relationship that didn’t work. The marriage of Torvald and Nora Helmer had many problems and was doomed because the husband and wife couldn’t match up to the elements of a successful couple-hood.

To keep a marriage alive and growing it must hold true to four qualities: love, communication, trust and loyalty, and perseverance. With the incorporation of these qualities, any marriage would work. Without love, a relationship would probably not even begin. Two people meet, a friendship forms, and soon a romance blossoms. Though the basis for Nora and Torvald’s relationship appeared to be centered around love, the needed balance was not obtained. Torvald didn’t really love Nora; to him, she was just another child to mind. He said, ‘And I wouldn’t want you to be any different from what you are-just my sweet little songbird. But now I come to think of it, you look rather-rather-how shall I put it? -rather as if you’ve been up to mischief today’ ( 151).

Calling his wife names such as ’skylark,’ ’squirrel,’ and ’spendthrift,’ Torvald does not love his wife with the respect and sensitivity a man should. The main area where Torvald showed his lack of love for Nora was in the way he managed his house. Torvald was the owner of what he believed to be a perfect dollhouse. This dollhouse was first controlled by Nora’s domineering father, and once Nora entered marriage, the titles and deeds to this doll house were handed over to Torvald. Torvald manipulated Nora, and then the children through her according to his wants, sure that he could never lose control over his precious dollhouse.

This lack of love and imperious attitude would eventually ruin their marriage. Nora was the only one of the two partners who showed love for the other in this play. Going against all the odds a woman faced in the late nineteenth century, Nora went behind her husband’s back, borrowed a large sum of money, forged her father’s signature, and went on to pay it off with hopes of Torvald never hearing of it. She refused to be a doll, and would alternate personalities between ‘Torvald’s little skylark,’ and ‘Nora the intelligent and strong woman.’ A balance of love between man and wife that is needed in any marriage was certainly not reached. This immoderate and unbalanced behavior definitely hurt the relationship between Torvald and Nora, but this was not the only factor that contributed to the break down of their partnership.

Two soul-mates need to communicate in a relationship. Before the wife pays the electric bills, she should inform her husband of the monetary situation. In the same sense, before the husband goes to the casino with his friends for beer and entertainment, he should tell his wife. The possibility exists that if Nora had informed Torvald of her plans to borrow money, a conflict such as this would have never happened. But that possibility is unrealistic. Torvald, a stubborn man in terms of money, could never accept the fact that even he, the powerful doll master, would need help from one of his unintelligent dolls.

These two did not talk enough, as Nora says, ‘We’ve been together for eight years now. Don’t you realize that this is the first time that we two-you and I, man and wife-have had a serious talk together?’ (225). The answer was no. The communication throughout their entire marriage was poor, as this quote illustrates. Throughout the entire play, irony becomes a hammer that knocks the reader or viewer on the head, reminding him or her that the plot is ever thicker with each situation that arises. The truth is clear that when all of Nora’s secret information is disclosed, something bad is bound to happen. Plainly, without a steady stream of communication, a marriage can never hope to live onward. Another problem with the communication was that neither spouse could truly trust the other. Without trust, marriage becomes impossible. Lacking honesty and loyalty, trust cannot be obtained.

Two people cannot live together without trust for each other. If one spouse feels like he or she must constantly check up on the other, the marriage will fail. Torvald had almost no trust in Nora. In the first Act, he continually lampoons her for her flirtatious way of spending money, stating, ‘It would be ( sensible ) if you really kept the money I give you, and actually bought something for yourself with it. But if it goes in with the housekeeping, and gets spent on all sorts of useless things, then I only have to pay out again’ (150). If a man checks upon his wife like this any type of relationship is doomed from the start. Torvald’s lack of trust toward Nora could be justified if she really were a spendthrift. In this case, the wife would have to build up trust with her husband. As well as the husband would have to do the same in other circumstances. In order to gain this trust, each individual must remain honest and loyal at all times.

By being responsible for his or her own actions, trust can be earned through a husband and wife’s honesty. With the amount of trust that Nora and Torvald have for each other, no marriage could be possible. But even united together these elements alone cannot completely hold a couple as one. Life is a rough and tough road, and in order to navigate down its treacherous curves, a pair must be able to persevere in difficult times. A couple can have a great bond but in a time of pain or dilemma that bond can be forgotten and all their problems shadow the great relationship they have. If the two cannot pick up the pieces and move onward, only one fight or hard time can cause a couple to break up, . An attitude must be adopted in these times that simply says, ‘I’m angry with you, but I will forgive you.’

Hard events in life are inevitable, but not unbeatable. Torvald and Nora didn’t have problems persevering because Torvald did all of the problem solving for them both, and took care of Nora’s problems himself. Torvald did not act like this out of selfishness, but rather to be the dominant male in the relationship, not allowing Nora to think and act for herself. Because of Torvald’s lack of love and trust, and abundance of control, Nora decided that to persevere would only result in more problems. Perseverance is only a good idea if the other three qualifications are met because at that point only more problems will arise. Nora and Torvald’s marriage failed because they lacked all of the qualifications for a successful marriage.

And the marriage failed because of Torvald’s imperious control over his family. If any type of dollhouse is present in a marriage such as that of the Helmers’, it would be a serious impediment to any attempt at success. Before Nora leaves, she tells Torvald, ‘I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa’s doll-child. And the children have been my dolls in their turn…That’s what our marriage has been’ (226). In order to ensure a wonderful and happy life together, any dollhouse must be burnt to the ground, and the lighter fluid must be the fuel bearing the names of love, trust, communication, and perseverance. When the smoke is cleared, the wonderful bond of marriage can be enjoyed to it’s fullest extent, and until ‘death do us part.’


Example #11 – interesting ideas

In A Doll’s House it they have removed one of the walls so that it feels like you are watching a proper family living in a house, what is this called?

Answer. I’m not sure what you are referring to, but that is NOT what it means to “break the fourth wall.” Breaking the fourth wall means that you are going beyond the confines of the stage (fourth wall=seperates the stage from the audience) either physically or verbally. Breaking the fourth wall can include interacting with the audience, extending the blocking to the house area, and etc.

What did A doll’s house rebel against society’s issues? I need details!

Answer. A Dolls’ House was Henrik Ibsen’s argument against the inequities of marriage for women of the 1800s. It revolves around Nora and Torvald Helmer’s very unequal relationship, she is treated like a dependent child and he taking the master’s role. At one point in their marriage, Torvald was very ill and Nora borrowed money to keep him alive. Since women had no legal right to borrow money, she forged her father’s name on the documents. Rather than tell Torvald what she had done to help him, and thus make him feel ashamed, she repaid the load bit by bit by taking in secretarial work she could do at home.

She had to hide this from Torvald’s masculine pride as well, although she took a lot of joy in being able to earn her own money. Torvald finds out when the man who loaned her the money tells him the circumstances. Torvald is furious and says harsh things to Nora, which he later tries to take back when the lender sends Nora the loan papers to burn. Nora realizes from his actions that Torvald doesn’t really love her as she is and discovers within herself a yearning for an honest and free existence. She leaves the marriage to find a life of her own.

Torvald resists this and she tells him that a return to the marriage would be nothing short of a miracle because it would mean that they’d both changed enough to enter into a real, mutually satisfying relationship. Society in the 1880”s insisted on rigid roles for both men and women. For women especially, these roles were limited in their choices: wife, mother, daughter, teacher, and not much else. Fathers and husbands were used to making all the major decisions without consulting their daughters and wives. The property, even if owned by a woman, was administered or wasted by men. Ibsen tried to show the unfairness of society’s assumptions.

A Doll’s House? A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen? I really don’t understand the book..please please help me

1. who exactly is Nora, I just know that she is a woman and married to Torvald

2. Torvald, I don’t know who he is either, I just know that he is Nora’s husband lol

3. Krogstad, I have no idea who he is

4. Mrs. Linde, I have no idea who she is

Answer. It has been a long time since I read it, but the basic story is that Nora plays at being childlike and submissive to her husband, Torvald, who is a jerk because he thinks that is how women should be. In fact, unknown to Torvald, Nora saved him from financial ruin by forging some kind of note and borrowing money from Krogstad. When all of this comes to light, instead of being grateful, Torvald is furious. He insults and demeans Nora to such an extent that she sees what an idiot he is and leaves him.

Part of the problem is that as a woman, Nora would not have been permitted to sign an IOU at that time, she had to have a man co-sign it, and I think she forged her father’s signature. That is what makes Torvald so angry because it will create a scandal. All he cares about is public appearances. Nora sees this and it frees her and gives her the strength to leave the Doll’s House Torvald has created for her.

A Doll’s House? Has anyone read this book/play. I so, can you tell me why Nora needed a loan from the bank?

Answer. In the past, her husband was ill. Doctors thought he might benefit from a stay in Italy. She and her husband had “no money.” That was the reason that she borrowed money. To send him there. She did not borrow money from a bank. She borrowed it from a man, a private person. As a woman in Norway, she had no legal standing. Her own father was alive, so she put his signature on the loan paper. By the time she signed his name to the loan, her father had died. This meant that she had committed fraud. The lender had both her and her husband in his power.

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