Nora’s Smart Choice in Ibsen's A Doll's House


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Nora’s Smart Choice in A Doll's House


So many women have suffered as the result of discriminatory duties. In the play "A Doll's House" written by Henrik Ibsen, the playwright reflects upon the subject of the 'social lie and duty'. By having Nora, the flawed heroine, slam the door shut just as her husband is hit by a ray of hope, Ibsen started much controversy between reviewers, columnists and the general audience. Through evidence offered by the play, Nora is right to leave her husband.

            When humans are introduced to the world, many sacred duties are bestowed upon them. The primary one of which is the duty towards oneself; One is "first and foremost a human being". Before this incident, although Nora, when she was revealing her secret to Christine, evidently showed character and personality slumbering deep down in her consciousness, she was merely a doll, a plaything "passed from papa's hands onto [Torvald's]". It is only through this miracle (not the kind Nora hoped for, but a miracle just the same) could her sense of being come into full bloom. Unless she leaves her dollhouse to establish herself as an entity, the miracle would have been wasted. Furthermore, she must shed her doll's dresses and educate herself before she could carry out any duties towards her precious children.

            A mother's presence and love is so priceless and unique in that not only does it provide us comfort, but it also guides us along the rough road of life. Because Nora's father and her husband had wronged her so greatly, she is completely secluded from the society and thus possesses no experiences at all. This is well exposed by Christine's remark of "...since [Nora knows] so little about the worries and hardships of life] and Nora's own incomprehensibility of her crime. "I'm not fitted to educate the children" is what Nora perceives her current state to be and it is the truth. She does not have any valuable experience to pass onto her children. Should she stay in her dollhouse, she will never be able to "stand on [her] own feet [nor] learn the truth about herself and about life". She will continue to treat her children as dolls for she does not know otherwise. Given all this, it is best for the children if Nora leaves now and tries to fulfill her duties as a mother later.

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            In addition to obligations, ethics are also vital components of becoming individuals. "In that moment I realized that for eight years, I've been living here with a complete stranger and borne him three children! Oh, I can't bear to think of it! I could tear myself to pieces!" Given the sense of morality Nora has, staying is not an option for there is nothing more degrading for a woman to live with a stranger and bear him children.

            Naturally, the course of starting a new life for a blind and naïve child who "[does not] understand how society works" will not run smoothly. Nevertheless, Nora had already won her greatest battle by recognizing her needs and taking the courage to come out of her protected mansion. Her future will be tough as it was for Christine when her husband died; however, Nora, like Christine, will be able to make ends meet. Being such close friends, Christine will surely advise and assist Nora in every possible way as Nora had done for her. In fact, this is implied when Nora informed Torvald, "Christine will put me up for the night". The spark is the hardest to obtain when starting a fire just as Nora's awareness and willpower had been her toughest battle. A burning fire needs to be constantly attended. It is tiring and lengthy but can be easily achieved with determination. The truth about her life and her relationship dawned upon Nora when the miracle occurred; she is now able to become an independent human being and not just a gorgeous doll. A long fight awaits Nora in her hometown, but there is nothing persistence cannot concur.

            When Nora closed behind her the doors of her doll's house, she made the correct choice and opened wide the gate of life for a woman. She would start her life as Christine had done and Torvald would continue his life without change - for he valued honor above the love of Nora. Only perfect freedom and communion can make a true bond between man and woman.


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