Henrik Isben's A Doll's House

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Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll House examines a woman’s struggle for independence in her marriage and social world. Through the use of character change, Ibsen conveys his theme that by breaking away from all social expectations, we can be true to ourselves. When Ibsen presents Nora Helmer, we see a “perfect” wife, who lives in a “perfect” house with a “perfect” husband and children. The Helmer children have a nanny that raises them. By having the nanny, Nora has the freedom to come and go as she pleases. Torvald Helmer, Nora’s husband, will begin a new job as bank manager, so they will be rich, which will make her “perfect” life even better. Torvald even calls Nora pet names like “my sweet little lark” (Ibsen 1567) and “my squirrel” (Ibsen 1565). These names may seem to be harmless and cute little nicknames, but the names actually show how little he thinks of her. “Torvald uses derogatory diminutives to address Nora” (Kashdan 52). Torvald talks down to her. Nora is “regarded as property rather than a partner” (Drama for Students 112). He isn’t treating her like a real person. In Torvald eyes, she isn’t an equal. “Nora is viewed as an object, a toy, a child, but never an equal” (Drama for Students 109). Nora and Torvald seem to be in love with each other though. However, Torvald is very controlling of Nora. Torvald makes little rules for Nora to follow. During the time period when the play was written, a husband controlling his wife and making rules for her was not uncommon. One incident of control is when Nora comes home from Christmas shopping. Torvald knows how much Nora loves macaroons and suspects she has bought some to eat. He comments to Nora, “My sweet tooth really didn’t make a little detour through the confectio... ... middle of paper ... ...ment about how Torvald doesn’t like for her to eat them. Nora lies and says Kristine brought them too her. As Nora’s secret side is revealed, her life seems anything but perfect. As we look at the character change in Nora, we see two different sides to her. The beginning of the play reveals a woman totally dependent on her husband for everything,. It isn’t until the end of the play that she realizes she can be herself and she doesn’t have to depend on her husband. Nora realizes “that if she wants an identity as an adult that she must leave her husband’s home” (Drama for Students 112). By examining Nora, we see from Ibsen’s theme that if we ignore all the expectations the social world has for a person, our true selves can be revealed. Bibliography: “A Doll’s House.” Drama for Students. 1985. Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll House. The Bedford Introduction to Literature.

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