Misleading First Impressions of Characters in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House
A character’s introduction reveals the personality, attitude, and physical features of that individual. This first impression sets the emotional reaction to that character when ever he or she appears in the story. The certain mannerisms the author makes a character use, and the way others treat and react to the new character, demonstrate the personality of the introduced individual to the audience. In the play, A Doll House, Henrik Ibsen misleads his characters’ personalities when introducing three main characters: Nora Helmer, the wife and mother figure, Torvald Helmer, her hard-working husband, and Krogstad, a man that Nora unfortunately does business with. Throughout the beginning of the story, the mannerisms of these characters portray what they act like in front of other characters. The reaction the characters receive when introduced also demonstrates what other characters in the play perceive them as. As the play progresses, the real personalities of the characters appear to the other characters. Nora, Torvald, and Krogstad are introduced by Ibsen with personalities and characteristics that do not reflect their true characters; however, as the story unfolds, their true thoughts and characteristics slowly appear.
Nora’s introduction in the play portrays her as a childish and immature “spendthrift” (Ibsen 44). As the story unfolds, it is discovered that Nora, in reality, is the complete opposite. Her true personality as a strong hearted and determined, intelligent woman emerges during the last scene of the play. During her opening scene, her actions, her choice of words, and the manner in which her husband...
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... what Nora has done. He also decides that Nora does not have to pay him back the rest of the money that she has borrowed. Here he has a heart, and cares about Nora’s circumstances.
The more time spent with a person, more is learned about that person’s characteristics. This is true in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House because the deeper into the play the story gets, the more discovered about each specific character’s personality and situation in life. What they are perceived as during their first impression either gets reinforced or proven wrong due to the other actions the character does throughout the story. With the three main characters, Nora, Torvald, and Krogstad, their first impressions are proven to be misleading because at the end of the book they turn out to be the complete opposite of what they were perceived as during their introduction into the play.
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