‘A DOLL’S HOUSE’ BY HENRIK IBSEN
‘A Doll’s House’ is written by the famous Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen. The play is set in 20th century Norway and revolves around the lives of Nora and Torvald Helmer; husband and wife. Ibsen uses euphemisms, diction and imagery to show the social situation of women of that time. Nora and Torvald have children that are looked after by a female nanny and Torvald plays the ‘traditonal’ role of the bread winner and sustainer of the family.
The beginning of the play shows a woman, Nora; knocking on a door. We later find out that this is Nora’s home and this fact leads to the question of why Nora does not have a key to her own home. Perhaps it is because she ...view middle of the document...
He berates Nora for squandering money but she insists that they can now afford it so why do they have to be stingy? Torvald responds to this by saying “Suppose I were to borrow fifty pounds today, and you spent it all over Christmas, and then on new year’s eve a tile fell off a roof onto my head”. This shows that Torvald doesn’t have faith in Nora and believes that she would not be able to cope without him which is quite egotistic on his part. Torvald believes that Nora is too incompetent to properly deal with money.
Torvald believes that Nora does not know anything about money because she is a woman and like a typical man of that time he believed that women were inferior to men, who were more ‘intelligent’. When he says “Nora, my Nora, that is just like a woman” he clearly displays his prejudice views on the roles of men and women, and also of their competence. Torvald thought that the role of the woman was to look after the family, clean the home and obey her husband. Torvald seems to view Nora as some sort of ‘trophy wife’ or ornament that is only there to serve him and beautify is household. Torvald then makes it apparent that he is a ‘social climber’ and that he is concerned with the opinion that others have of him and his place in society. Torvald continuously calls Nora by the diminutive ‘pet names’ and only calls her by her actual name when he is scolding her of berating her. By calling her these names he asserts his ‘power’ over her and in a sense dehumanizes her and causes her dependency on him. This act so early on in the play shows the reader that Nora and Torvald have a marriage of exchange and dependency rather than one of love and respect. Torvald does not respect Nora; she is his doll to toy with.
Nora and Torvald do not set a particularly good example for their two children. Their son will learn that women are meant to be subservient to him and their daughter will grow up thinking that her only goal in life is to become a man’s ‘doll’. Nora’s choice of Christmas presents for her children portrays this as well. She gets a sword and a horse for her son and a doll for her daughter. It could be then believed that Nora treats her daughter in the same fashion that she herself has been treated all her life; as a doll.
Ibsen also uses imagery to convey his ideals of marriage and the distorted marriage that Nora and...