An incredible amount of value is placed upon appearances in the Helmer household by Torvald. Whether it is how Nora looks in public, Torvald’s dominance over Nora, or a happy union between him and his wife, Torvald does whatever he can to obscure the reality to himself, Nora and others. The title of the work A Doll’s House speaks to Torvald’s behavior towards Nora throughout the work. She is nothing but a doll to her husband to be dressed up and paraded around but never able to speak her own mind or make any decisions on her own because “[she] would never dream of doing anything [Torvald] didn’t want [her] to do.”(1813) She must say this to appease her husband, even though at this point she has already indulged herself in macaroons that are prohibited by her husband and committed the forgery that eventually results in the end of their relationship. Torvald gives Nora an allowance to keep her happy despite her being a profligate. In spite of his frugality, Torvald continues to give her money and watch it “slip through [her] fingers”(1813) to keep up Nora’s dependent housewife role as well advertise his affluence while still acting frugal in his personal spending habits. He works with his wife on the tarantella so that she doesn’t embarrass herself or Torvald as well as to show off the beauty and gracefulness of his doll wife to everyone attending the party. Torvald expresses his superiority over Nora by brushing her concerns about what Krogtsad would do to the side. He can’t be seen as bending to the whims of his wife by the people at the bank or else he’ll be a “laughing st...
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... his focus to Nora. This moment highlights Torvald’s inablilty to see the metaphorical light and attempts to ignore facts that do not fit the perfect image he has of his life. After the second letter from Krogstad is received and read, Torvald throws all the evidence of the forgery into a fire. He believes that by burning the papers, this ordeal has come to an end and that the outward appearance of the Helmer household has been saved, yet the fire prognosticates the Helmers’ “first time [they], man and wife, have had a serious talk together.”
Deception around love, money and appearances in the Helmer household all add to the atmosphere of deceit found in the single setting of their living room. One by one, the truth (with the help of lamps and fires) illuminates the true appearances of the characters and brings an end to the false reality created in the doll house.
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