Henrik Isben's A Doll's House

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Nora is a captivating character in Ibsen's A Doll's House. She swings between extremes: she is either very happy or immensely depressed, prosperous or completely desperate, wise or naive, impotent or purposeful. You can understand this range in Nora, because she staggers between the person she pretends to be and the one she someday hopes to become. Throughout the play, Nora is portrayed as subordinate to her male counterpart, Torvald. As most other men during this time, Torvald believed that women were not capable of making difficult decisions, or thinking for themselves. As the play progresses, Nora faces a life changing decision to abandon her duty as a wife and mother to find her own individuality. Even though Torvald is responsible for partial deterioration in their marriage, it is Nora's feministic beliefs, passion for life, thoughtlessness, and spontaneity that stimulate her ultimate plan to break away and shatter all that remained pleasant in Torvald's “perfect little dollhouse”.
Nora, the protagonist, has been treated as a "play thing" by her father and then her husband, Torvald. She is thought to be fragile and incapable of resolving any serious problems. The pet names like “lark”, “squirrel”, and “songbird” (pg.27) further diminish her status. He also neglected to give significance to her job as a homemaker. Yet her compassion and intelligence must be masked by her childish and supplicating behavior due to the expectations of her society. At the beginning of the play, Nora is still a child in many ways, listening at doors and guiltily eating forbidden sweets (macaroons) behind her husband's back. She has gone straight from her father's house to her husband's, bringing along her nursemaid to emphasize the fact that she's never been on her own. She's also never gained a sense of self. She's always accepted her father's and her husband's opinions. And she's aware that Torvald would have no use for a wife who was his equal. So she would act like a child and manipulate Torvald by pouting or by performing for him. She uses her own being as a lure for the things she wants in life. Her drive to reach her goals are far more powerful than her desire to care for the family, and life, that she created.
When her secret is revealed, the reality of her status in their marriage awakens her. A...

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... been reversed: he is the weak one, begging for another chance, and Nora has found strength. This notion suggested that ideas of male supremacy and middle-class respectability were changing. More female were feeling liberated enough to escape their boundaries and move on to more fulfilling lives.
Your greatest duty is to understand yourself. At the beginning of the play, Nora doesn't realize she has a self. She's playing a role. The purpose of her life is to please Torvald or her father, and to raise her children. But by the end of
Act Three their roles have been reversed: he is the weak one, begging for another chance, and Nora has found strength. “I have it in me to become another man” (pg.70), he exclaims as he pleads for another chance. She replies with thoughtlessness to anyone's feelings but her own by telling him that neither he nor their children were allowed to write to her. By the end of the play, she discovers that her "most sacred duty"(pg.68), is to herself. She leaves to find out who she is and how she can become gratified with her life. The sound of the door shutting as Nora leaves Torvald (pg.72) exemplifies the end of her role as his beloved “doll” wife.
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