A Doll's House Deception Essay

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In the play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, deception in the characters’ thoughts, behaviors and actions support the idea of the unreliability of appearances. 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]…show more content…
The relationship between a doll and its owner is more appropriate because of the sheer lack of communication between them. Torvald only viewed Nora as his “most treasured possession” (1854) not as someone just as invested in the relationship as he was. The outward happiness of the marriage covers up the problems caused by the deception The false appearance of Nora is shown in the development of her from this subservient, dependent housewife with only seldom acts of independent thought or decision to a woman wanting to fulfill “[her] duty to [herself]”(1863) before her obligations to her husband and children. Torvald’s 8 years of living in a false reality come to an end as he reveals his inner weakness to Nora after he reads the letter from Torvald about the forgery. In the beginning of the play, Torvald is calm and collected, however at the end of the play when the deceit is revealed, Torvald turns out to be a desperate, emotional man willing to do anything to protect himself. Nora acts naïve and hysterical in Act 1 when she is told about the possible consequences of her forgery and the supposed hereditary nature of…show more content…
This association goes back to Greek mythology and Apollo who was the god of light as well as truth. Light as well as fire are found in the setting when some truth is either revealed or foreshadowed. Mrs. Linde’s and Krogstad’s conversation to start Act III is lighted with a lamp burning on the table. It is here that the true natures of both Krogstad and Mrs. Linde are revealed. Also similar to the Helmers’ apparent switch attitudes, Krogstad’s manipulative, heartless behaviors in Acts I and II when dealing with Nora and trying to keep a position at the bank are mirrored by Mrs. Linde’s order to Krogstad to not ask for the letter back. She decides that the truth has to come out then. At the same time Mrs. Linde’s helpful, caring nature when she becomes a confidant and seamtress for Nora early in the play is mirrored by Krogstad in Act III when he feels remorse for what he has done to Nora and listens to whatever Mrs. Linde tells him to do. Light continues to signify the expression of hidden love when Dr. Rank reveals his true feelings for Nora, she asks that a lamp be brought in before the conversation is continued. The doctor admits he would die for Nora. The value of this statement may be lessened because he knows he is close to death, but the effect on Nora is deep because it is the first time in the play that she is taken seriously and valued by a male character beyond her looks.
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