In the play, “A Doll’s House,” by Henrik Ibsen, we see a man and a woman who have a seemingly wonderful life together in their home with their children. Soon into the play, we learn the strength of her love that she has for her husband through her actions. She proves her love for Torvald by forcing her father’s signature on the promissory note, stating that she would pay back every penny that she owed from borrowing money to move her husband south to Italy when he fell ill.
Throughout this story, it is no surprise that Nora is deeply in love with Torvald, considering how much she has done for him and to hide her secret to protect his “manhood.” However, Torvald sees Nora as nothing more than a trophy wife, just a puzzle piece to the picture of a perfect family.
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“…I was simply transferred from papa’s hands into yours. You arranged everything according to your own taste, and so I got the same taste as you-- or else I pretended to, I am really not quite sure which--I think sometimes the one and sometimes the other. When I look back on it, it seems to me as if I had been living here like a poor woman-- just from hand to mouth. I have existed merely to perform tricks for you, Torvald. But you would have it so. You and papa have committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life.” (P.491)
One of the themes of this story is Nora’s own definition of freedom. It seems to have evolved over the course of the play. In Act I, Nora thought she would be totally “free” once her debt was repaid because all of her time would be devoted to her family and her motherly duties. After Krogstad blackmails her, she reconsiders her understanding of freedom and begins to question if she ever was truly happy in Torvald’s home.
In conclusion, the outcome of the heated discussion between Nora and Torvald, Nora finally realizes that she, through this entire marriage, had just been all for show. Torvald has done the minimum to keep her happy enough to stay, using his money and his pretend love for her. She was blinded by this imaginary love for eight years throughout their marriage and when Nora finally realizes that this marriage was never based off of love, but actually being just a “plaything” for her husband, she decides to walk away from it all. The idea of this is what makes Nora’s very final departure from the family and the story so significant. If Nora had stayed, we wouldn’t have felt like she had accomplished anything. She would’ve just continued being a plaything, passed down from her father to Torvald and we wouldn’t feel the closure we felt from Nora’s exit.