English 105: College Writing
12 November 2014
A Doll’s House
Throughout the play A Doll’s House, there was a constant struggle between the patriarchal relationship that Nora and Helmer had and the soul mate love that they thought they had. In the time frame that the play is set in, a patriarchal relationship is very typical. Patriarchy through the male line. This basically means that the male is superior over any female. Patriarchal love is the same. The male rules over his female companion. Soul mate love, on the other hand, is quite different. In a soul mate relationship, the male and female are seen as equals. One does not rule over the other, they both rule simultaneously. The ...view middle of the document...
This is a very belittling name to give your wife. He also refers to her as “little one”, “little lark”, and “little Nora” (46). He is literally calling her little. As long as he sees her in this manner, he is sees her as inferior. He is much greater than she is. Nora is simply a small woman in his eyes. As well as diminutive name calling, Helmer is controlling over Nora. He tries to control exactly what she eats. He forbids her from eating macaroons. Nora says that he is worried about them ruining her teeth, so she can’t eat them (59). This is control because Nora is a grown woman fully capable of taking care of herself. It is not Helmer’s right to control what she can and cannot eat. If Nora was to try and control what Helmer ate, this would be a completely disrespectful act. Helmer is allowed to have control over Nora because that is how their patriarchal relationship works. If Nora was to put up a fight against this and Helmer gave in, then they would be taking a step in the direction of soul mate love; however, because that did not happen, their love is still patriarchal. The fact that Nora is treated in an incredibly inferior way justifies her leaving the marriage. No one should have to go through their daily life wondering if their spouse approves of their behavior. Nora also should not have to put up with all of Helmer’s belittling names. They make her seem like less of a person and him seem like more than just a man.
Many people reading the play may fail to pick up on this major detail, but Nora and Helmer have a marriage based on deception. They did not meet one random day and fall in love. Nora was a trade for her father’s freedom (105). He committed a crime that he was guilty for, but Helmer decided to let him off in exchange for his daughter, Nora. The truth is that Nora and Helmer were not ever really in love and they are not in love right now. The have just learned to
tolerate each other. As much as they try to pretend that they live in a happy home, this is somewhat of a front. They never had the chance to actually fall in love. Since Nora was a trade in the marriage, this also means that Helmer has Nora in the palm of his hand. He can use the fact that he allowed her father to walk free to his advantage. If Helmer says that Nora needs to act in a certain manner, then that is the way that she is going to act. She basically owes Helmer whatever he wants because he let her father off when he was clearly guilty. She is in debt to him. The deception in their marriage justifies Nora leaving Helmer because it proves that they are not in a soul mate love based relationship. They have somewhat of an arranged marriage. Nora was set up with Helmer with no prior knowledge of him. She did not have the option of falling in love with him and deciding to marry him. It was arranged by her father that Helmer would have her. Nora has the right to leave him because she was never given the option to not marry him. It was not her choice to be...