A Doll's House: Social Lie and Duty

A Doll's House: Social Lie and Duty

Length: 787 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Social Lie and Duty in A Doll's House

The play A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, is concerned with the conflict between social lie and duty. This play is about women's need for independence and her obligations to family and society. We can easily recognize sacrifice and guiltlessness in the play. One can follow a theme through the play by looking at Nora -- the heroine.

Who is Nora Helmer? She is the beloved wife of Torvald Helmer. They have a very nice, cozy house, and they have three kids. They have been married for eight years. They have lovely friends. Torvald was just promoted for a higher position in the bank. Isn't it a lovely picture? This is what we see in the beginning of the play. But when Torvald started to talk, we can feel that something is wrong with this picture. "My little songbird," "my little squirrel," and even "my little featherbrain" - that is what Torvald calls his wife. He treats Nora as a child. He thinks that she is stupid, and she must be controlled. Torvald controls her housekeeping budget and how much she can spend on certain purchases. He doesn't know, and he doesn't want to know that Nora, herself, can earn some money. Instead, he expects her always be dependent on his salary.

Too bad that Nora was able to realize only after eight years that she lives with a hypocrite. After he discovered that Nora forged her father's signature on the loan bond, he nullifies their marriage. He doesn't care that Nora did this because she loves him very much, and she did this to save his life. He is the man of "honor," "Nora, I would gladly work for your sake. But no man can be expected to sacrifice his honor, even for the person he loves." And she answers him, "Millions of women have done it" (Ibsen 979).

When a woman loves as Nora does, nothing else matters. She will sacrifice herself for the family. Her purpose in life is to be happy for her husband and children; to dance and to play. Torvald doesn't know what is real relationship means. And when he sees that because of Nora he needs to sacrifice his reputation and his career, he gave up. He wouldn't take the blame for her. Only when he finds out that Nora won't be charged, he forgives her, and tries to keep her.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"A Doll's House: Social Lie and Duty." 123HelpMe.com. 08 Dec 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Nora’s Smart Choice in Ibsen's A Doll's House

- Nora’s Smart Choice in A Doll's House So many women have suffered as the result of discriminatory duties. In the play "A Doll's House" written by Henrik Ibsen, the playwright reflects upon the subject of the 'social lie and duty'. By having Nora, the flawed heroine, slam the door shut just as her husband is hit by a ray of hope, Ibsen started much controversy between reviewers, columnists and the general audience. Through evidence offered by the play, Nora is right to leave her husband.             When humans are introduced to the world, many sacred duties are bestowed upon them....   [tags: A Doll's House Essays]

Free Essays
741 words (2.1 pages)

A Doll 's House By Henrik Ibsen Essay

- In most relationships you see today, men and women play equal parts. Both men and women work, both help out with the children, and both take the time to rationalize current affairs. Needless to say, there are those relationships where the men are the breadwinners and the women are the trophies. The play A Doll 's House, by Henrik Ibsen, is centered on the war among social lie, marital status, and responsibility. This play is regarding a woman’s need for independence and her obligations to her loved ones and society....   [tags: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Norway]

Research Papers
1568 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of ' Othello ' And ' A Doll 's House '

- In both Othello by Shakespeare and A Dolls House by Ibsen, reputation is valued more then anything else. The characters need a good reputation in order to secure social status. They also fear that they will be seen in a negative image without a good reputation and they use reputation to appear as something that they are not. In both plays, reputation does not reflect one’s true self. To begin with, Cassio in Shakespeare’s Othello and Torvald in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House both display that reputation plays a major role in their social status....   [tags: Othello, Iago, A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen]

Research Papers
1479 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on A Doll’s House by Henrik IbsenIs: Nora Helmer Really Her Own Person?

- B1 In the story A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen returns to one of his most vital ideas: the social misunderstanding/lie of the duty of the female. Nora Helmer is a devoted wife to her husband and children. She also goes out of her way to try and help her husband Torvald Helmer in any way that she can. However, once Krogstad (a bank teller whom Nora is indebted to) comes in the picture, he causes some major conflict between Nora and Torvald. From this major conflict, it is shown that throughout the entirety of the story Nora has been trapped by the conventions and mentality of her society....   [tags: job, financial freedom, intelligent]

Research Papers
898 words (2.6 pages)

The paradox of confinement and freedom in A Doll?s House and Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

- In the texts, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Nora Helmer and Tita (Josefita) are subject to the paradox of confinement and freedom. Tita is restricted to the ranch and kitchen, and Nora to the house. Concurrently, in the seclusion of the kitchen, Tita is liberated from Mama Elena’s control, has freedom of self-expression through cooking, and can openly express her feelings. Josefita is a skilled cook with mystical abilities, and also has some freedom and control in the household....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Research Papers
1520 words (4.3 pages)

Analysis Of The Play ' A Doll 's House ' Essay

- Nick Pant Mrs. Black English II Honors 11/17/2014 ADH Analysis Susan B. Anthony once said “I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand” (http://www.brainyquote.com) Anthony was fighting for the independence of women and equality between both men and women. In Henrik Ibsen’s Norwegian play A Doll’s House, a similar idea is shown all throughout the work. A main social problem in the play is that women have no power in society because they have limited education; therefore Nora committed the crime of forgery, lied to her husband, and almost committed adultery....   [tags: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Norway, Lie]

Research Papers
831 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about A Doll 's House By Henrik Ibsen

- Who’s to Blame. Individuals naturally want to place the blame on others, instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. Individuals that place the blame on others only make them human, but the effect of their action is not fair for others. In the play A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen opens the scene on Christmas Eve in the Helmer’s home, where Nora Helmer is excited about the gifts she is giving and Torvald is unhappy with the amount of money she spends on the gifts. The play ultimately leads to Nora walking out on Torvald and her three children....   [tags: A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen, Norway, Lie]

Research Papers
2239 words (6.4 pages)

A Doll 's House By Henrik Ibsen Essay example

- Into the Unknown As people grow up, they tackle their own challenges, fears begin to fester and grow inside of them. These fears have the potential to change the way people will live out their day-to-day life. Along with fears is foresight. This can aid people in the search for how to overcome, or work around their fears. Foresight can also help people picture how their fears may affect their life. Both fears and foresight have the potential to offer people life-altering choices that will help people grow....   [tags: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Lie, Fear]

Research Papers
1332 words (3.8 pages)

Essay The Lie in Ibsen's A Doll's House

- The Lie in Ibsen's A Doll's House      An action or statement that may be considered a lie to some may, in fact, not be considered, a lie to others: it might simply be considered, omitted information. The lie might seem to have an evil intent when first heard, but the true intention behind it may have been for helpful purposes or for protection.  In Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, a lie was created to help and protect a loved one - yet it resulted in a catastrophic act.   The character Nora lives her life, in one sense, as a complete lie....   [tags: Dolls House essays Ibsen Essays]

Research Papers
1839 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about The White Lie

- The White Lie People are always talking about the white lie and how this kind of lying doesn't hurt other people. Other people feel that any lie is one that should not be made. No matter what individuals have to say about lies, Socrates feels that it is necessary to create a noble lie so that his vision of the just state, or kallipolis, can be created. The Myth of the Metals, Socrates myth, in no way contradicts his definition of justice in The Republic. The so-called noble lie that Socrates puts together is called the Myth of the Metals....   [tags: Papers Noble Lie Dishonesty Deception]

Research Papers
1058 words (3 pages)

Related Searches

But it is not going to help him because Nora realized that Torvald doesn't love her. He only thinks about himself. Once Nora recognized the truth about her marriage, she understood that she can no longer stay in the "strange man's house" (Ibsen 979).

Is there anything more humiliating to a woman than to live with a stranger, and have children with him? The lie of the marriage institution decrees that she shall continue to do so, and the social conception of duty insists that for the sake of that lie she need be nothing else than a plaything, a doll, an unknown. "... our home has been nothing but a play-room. I've been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa's doll--child" (Ibsen 976). Nora realizes how much she has been wronged, that she is only a doll for Helmer. She also says to him, "You have never loved me. You only thought it amusing to be in love with me." She decided that she has to leave a house. She wants to become independent. When Helmer reminds her about her "holiest duties" as mother and wife, she tells him that, "I have another duty equally sacred" (Ibsen 977). Nora wants to be independent, not only to be recognized as a mother and wife.

When Nora closes the door of the doll's house behind her, she opens a different door of new life for women. She brought new ideas of women's freedom in the family, and in society. She tried to tell us that nothing but women's freedom will make a true connection between man and woman. That will be a best time without lies, equal opportunities, and without shame.

This play shows us how hard it was being a woman, and not only at that time. I don't know how many Noras were in that society, but I'm sure that we have a lot of victims in our society too. There are a lot of women who are still victims of men. Nora Helmer for sure was ahead of her time, and many women wish that they had her courage. But someone has to make a first step - that was Nora.


Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll's House. Literature and the Writing Process. Ed: Elizabeth McMahan. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1999. 931-980
Return to 123HelpMe.com