01 May 2011
The Doll in A Doll House
The play "A Doll House" was written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879. In the nineteenth century, women's rights were hardly restricted. The role of the woman was to stay at home and take care about the children and her husband, while the male figure in the home acted as the dominating role. The man made almost all decisions for the family. Nora Helmer is the woman of this period and is portrayed as a victim of her environment, society and male dominance.
Throughout her entire life, Nora has been emotionally controlled and treated like a doll by both male characters in her life, her father and her husband. She has believed them without any questions because she is afraid to offend them, "When I lived at home with Papa, he told me all his opinions, so I had the same ones too; or if they were different I hid them, since he wouldn't have cared for that" (1213). Her father shaped her life, her ...view middle of the document...
He even forbids Nora to buy and eat any macaroons which she so likes, "My sweet tooth...hasn't nibbled some pastry?.. Nor even munched a macaroon or two?," and Nora lies: "No, Torvald, I assure you, really" (1168). He doesn't let his wife right to think and act the way she wishes. He never speaks to Nora as if she is an intelligent person, and calls her by pet-names: "my little squirrel", "my little lark", "my songbird", or "spendthrift" (1166). Nora tells Helmer: "In eight whole years...we've never exchanged a serious word on any serious thing" (1213). However, at the beginning of the play, Nora enjoys playing the role of Torvald's wife. She finds to be comfortable in society and plays along with that society expects of her. Nora is a loving wife and would do anything in order to protect her family. The purpose of her life is to make happy her husband and her children. She did believe that she was happy and loved Torvald. Nora says to her friend Mrs. Linde that she feels "so light and happy" (1170). When Nora commits a forgery of her father's signature to borrow the money, she doesn't even realize that it is a crime, "I've also got something to be proud and happy for. I'm the one who saved Torvald's life" (1173). Nora expects her husband to be grateful to her but it doesn't happen. Torvald worries about his reputation and cares little about his wife's feelings: "Now you're wrecked all my happiness- ruined my whole future" (1211). After Torvald has opened the Krogstad's letter, Nora realizes that her husband never loved her, "You never loved me. You're thought it fun to be in love with me," and that their marriage is a fake, her whole life has been a lie (1213). Nora decides to leave her husband and her children as the only way to fix this situation and find herself independently.
At the end of the play, after learning from Mrs. Linde's experiences, Nora tells Torvald that she wants to try educate herself without his help. She says: " I'm a human being, no less than you - or anyway, I ought to try to become one" (1214). By saying that, Nora demonstrates that she is no longer a victim. She becomes the independent modern woman of the nineteenth century who wants to claim her rights to live her life as she thinks the best.