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Transformation of Nora in Henrik Isben's A Doll's House Essay

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Transformation of Nora in Henrik Isben's A Doll's House


During the time in which Henrik Isben's play, A Doll?s House, took place society frowned upon women asserting themselves. Women were supposed to play a role in which they supported their husbands, took care of their children, and made sure everything was perfect around the house. Nora is portrayed as a doll throughout the play until she realizes the truth about the world she lives in, and cuts herself free.

Nora Helmer was a delicate character that had been pampered all of her life, by her father, and by Torvald. She really didn't have a care in the world. She didn't even have to care for the children; the maid would usually take care of that. In every sense of the word, she was your typical housewife. Nora never left the house, mostly because her husband was afraid of the way people would talk. It really wasn't her fault she was the way she was; it was mostly Torvald's for spoiling her. Nora relies on Torvald for everything, from movements to thoughts, much like a puppet that is dependent on its puppet master for all of its actions. Her carefree spirit and somewhat childish manners are shown throughout the play with statements such as, "Is that my little lark twittering out there?" (1). "Is it my little squirrel bustling about?" (2). A lark is a happy, carefree bird, and a squirrel is quite the opposite. If you are to squirrel away something, you were hiding or storing it, kind of like what Nora was doing with her bag of macaroons. It seems childish that Nora must hide things such as macaroons from her husband, but if she didn't and he found out, she would be deceiving him and going against his wishes which would be socially wrong.

As the play goes on, Nora seems to transform from her delicate little character into something much more. At the end of act one, Krogstad goes to Nora for the recollection of the money she had borrowed from him. "You don?t mean that you will tell my husband that I owe you money?" (21). Since Nora was wrong in doing so socially, she could not tell Torvald or anyone else about her problem. Not only would that affect their social standard but also Torvald's ego, which inevitably would happen anyway. After Krogstad threatens to expose Nora for forging her father's signature, she realizes that no matter what she does Torvald was going to know the truth. The flaw with...


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...ying in a marriage since divorce was frowned upon during that era. Her decision was a succession for all expectations put on a woman and wife by society.

The story A Doll?s House is believable. It stands for every marriage where equality never took place. Many women knew their social status and lived as they were meant to, but for the few that realized there was more to the world then the sheltered life they were living, broke free. Nora was one of the women who knew her place and acted accordingly until she saw that her name had no real value. She was not looked at as an individual, but she was seen as her father's daughter or her husband's wife. The turning point for her decision to break free from this world and start her own life is very believable. She comes to see that her marriage isn't real. Nora no longer loves her husband and knows that he does not truly love her as well. She knows that there is so much more to discover in the world to understand, and until she does she will not allow another man to control her life.

Works Cited:

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll's House. In Four Major Plays. Trans. James McFarlane and Jens Arup. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.


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