A Doll S House 1

3753 Words Nov 28th, 2014 16 Pages
A Doll’s House
Themes
Marriage
Women and Femininity
Men and Masculinity
The Home
Respect and Reputation
Love
Lies and Deceit
Money

Love and Marriage
As a play focused around the marriage between Nora and Torvald, A Doll 's House can be seen as an exploration of love and marriage, or even, more profoundly, on whether there can be love in marriage. At the beginning of the play, Nora and Torvald appear to be very happily married, even to themselves. Nora talks joyfully about her love for Torvald, and Torvald refers to Nora using affectionate pet names. Their loving marriage stands in stark contrast with the lives of the other characters: the marriages of Krogstad and Mrs. Linde were based on necessity rather than love, and were unhappy.
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When revealing the secret of how she borrowed money to finance the trip to Italy, she refers to it as her “pride” and says it was fun to be in control of money, explaining that it was “almost like being a man.” Although she comes to regret her decision to borrow money, Nora’s dissatisfaction with her status as a woman intensifies over the course of the play. In the final scene she tells Torvald that she is not being treated as an independent person with a mind of her own. Her radical solution to this issue is to leave domestic life behind, despite Torvald 's declaration that he will change. Nora 's decision suggests that she, and the play, see the issue as only partially with Torvald. The more fundamental issue is with domestic life as it was conceived and lived at the time, in the way it legally and culturally infantilized women and made it impossible for them to be recognized or treated as full individuals.
Meanwhile, the men of the play are also expected to fill a certain role. Both Torvald and Krogstad are very ambitious, driven not only by the need to provide for their families but also by a desire to achieve higher status. Respectability is of great concern to both of them; when Nora’s borrowing is revealed, Torvald’s first thoughts are for his reputation. Meanwhile, Krogstad is fixated on achieving success now that he has “gone straight,” and intends to one day take over Torvald’s job and run the bank.
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