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A Dolls House: Nora

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In Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, the personality of the protagonist Nora Helmer is developed and revealed through her interactions and conversations with the other characters in the play, including Mrs. Linde, Nils Krogstad, Dr. Rank and Ann-Marie. Ibsen also uses certain dramatic and literary techniques and styles, such as irony, juxtaposition and parallelism to further reveal interesting aspects of Nora’s personality. Mrs. Linde provides and interesting juxtaposition to Nora, while Krogstad initially provides the plot elements required for Nora’s character to fully expand in the play. Dr. Rank’s love for Nora provides irony and an interesting twist in their relationship, while Ann-Marie acts in a parallel role to Nora in that they are both away from their children for long periods of time. Nora Helmer’s character itself is minimally established and revealed at the beginning of the play, but the reader is further privy to her personality as the play progresses, as she interacts with each of the other minor characters in the play. Ibsen deliberately chooses to show Nora’s true self by revealing it in conversations between her and other characters; Mrs. Linde is one of these minor characters who is juxtaposed against Nora. Mrs. Linde married primarily for financial security and future ambitions while Nora sincerely believes that she married Torvald for love and happiness. This provides a conflict for the apparently childlike Nora as she realizes that her partner in the marriage probably didn’t marry her for the same reason. Also, an example of dramatic irony arises at the end of the play when Mrs. Linde’s relationship with Krogstad revives again while Nora’s marriage to Helmer crumbles. As Nora unhappily but determinedly leaves her home for a different life, Mrs. Linde’s happiness seems to be just beginning: "How different now! How different! Someone to work for, to live for - a home to build." These sentiments ironically portray the very qualities of married life that Nora desired to win, and keep throughout her life; and these feelings add to her established flair for the romantic. Since the main plot of A Doll’s House revolves around the debt incurred by Nora upon taking out a loan to pay for Helmer’s recovery, Krogstad functions primarily to set forth the series of actions, which propels much of the story. In contrast to Nora, who seems t...

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...ciation with her children, who she had to leave in order to better serve as Nora’s nurse. The reader sympathizes slightly with both women in this fact. Ibsen uses their relationship to further develop Nora’s personality and feelings towards her relations. Ibsen deliberately portrayed Nora as a woman sensitive to others’ emotions and thoughts to provoke a genuine and appreciative response from a realistic-minded audience who would realize human elements of Nora’s personality. Throughout Ibsen’s play, Nora Helmer is a protagonist who is initially a two-dimensional, oblivious character, but transforms into a complex and rich personality, mainly through her interactions with minor characters in the play. Figures such as Mrs. Linde and Ann-Marie provided emotional and physical parallels and contrasts to Nora while Dr. Rank and Nils Krogstad functioned to develop the plot and Nora’s persona though conversations. Ibsen’s deliberate use of minor characters in A Doll’s House was to create and develop Nora’s personality; and as the play finishes, Nora is a real and complex character, a woman who is contradictory to society’s expectations and ideal for a realistic world.

Word Count: 1419
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