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Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House Essay

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Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House

Plot and Sub-plots

The play begins on Christmas Eve of the late 19th century, in the
living room of a middle class family, the Helmers. Nora is the female
lead role in this play who is treated very child-like by her husband,
Torvald. He appears to have taken over her father’s role which in
turn allows their marriage to be built on unstable foundations and
although both parties have each other’s best interests in mind, it is
clear to the audience from the start that the relationship has
elements of deception that could possibly be destructive.

As the play opens Nora enters with a contented disposition, setting
down parcels after a constructive days shopping. A porter brings in a
Christmas tree so the audience immediately registers that the play
takes part in the festive season which becomes more significant as the
play continues as the tree will be symbolic of the relation between
Helmer and his wife. Ibsen allows the audience to see already that
Nora can be quite frivolous with money due to her many parcels and her
generous tipping of the porter. The stage directions describe her as
tiptoeing across to her husband’s door which shows her childish
temperament as she does not want to be heard, and her eating the
macaroons becomes more significant as the scene progresses when
Torvald interrogates her about doing so and she outright denies it
giving the audience an insight on her deception which obviously
develops as the play continues.

When Torvald enters the room she quickly hides the macaroons and the
audience learn of his promotion as bank manager so they speak of how
they can be slightly more extravagant, this gives Helmer the
opportunity to condescend her using phr...


... middle of paper ...


...gstad containing the I.O.U. of Nora. Torvald sees this as them
both being saved from the humiliation he would have suffered had it
have leaked out but Nora can see past this and knows that enough is
enough. Regardless of being forgiven by Torvald he still treats her
like child, “Just lean on me, I shall counsel you. I shall guide
you.” It is here that Nora can see fully how she is treated and
expresses her discontent for being fathered by her own father then
being passed on and treated identically by her own husband. She
realises that it is necessary for her to go out into the world without
his ‘molly-coddling’, mature and become a woman in the true sense of
the word. She leaves him as sadly the ‘miracle of miracles’ did not
happen for her, he did not change the way he needed to and with that
the last occurrence of the play is the door slamming behind her.


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