A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen

1539 WordsJun 22, 20187 Pages
The themes of “objecthood” and “feminine liberation” in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House as conveyed through the characterization of Torvald and Nora, diction, stage directions and structure in two integral scenes. Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House conveys the story of a wife’s struggle to break away from the social norms of late nineteenth century middle class Europe. Throughout the play, Ibsen focuses on Nora’s characterization and experiences and thus this leads the reader to perceive her as the protagonist. On the other hand, her husband, Helmer – also referred to as Torvald, is revealed as the antagonist as the dialogue between him and Nora throughout the entire play portrays him as an authoritative figure and oppressor rather than a…show more content…
In many instances he calls Nora by animal names, such as “skylark, little squirrel and featherbrain (Ibsen 148 )”, in a playful tone thus conjuring up an image of a master to animal or object relationship. As we read on further, it becomes evident, through Nora’s diction, two main aspects of her character. The first aspect is her conformity to the “master and object” relationship, revealed through her lack of protest against Torvald’s treatment of her: “Nora: Very well, Torvald, if you say so (Ibsen 149 )”. The other aspect of her character is her apparent childishness, revealed through her playful actions and tone of voice, and her lack of knowledge on the wise use of money: “Helmer: After New Year’s Day, yes – but there’ll be a whole quarter before I get paid/ Nora: Pooh, we can always borrow till then (Ibsen 148 )”. Interestingly, we observe a shift in Torvald’s tone of voice as he is conversing with Nora. This shift becomes apparent as Torvald begins to refer to Nora, no longer by belittling names but by her real name. This shift is significant as it illustrates a shift in status in Nora’s case from that of an object to that of Torvald’s equal. However despite the shift in Nora’s status, Torvald desperately tries to restore the relationship by reminding her of her inferiority as a woman of little education: “Helmer: Nora! (He goes to her and takes her playfully by the ear.), The same little scatterbrain (Ibsen 148 )”. By using derogatory

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