Investigation of Power in Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ Essay

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Investigation of Power in Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’

Nora Helmer is introduced in Act I as a character subjugated to the wills and desires of her husband; she is merely an object which
Torvald, possesses. At the conclusion of Act III however, she has become sufficiently independent to arrive at her decision to leave the children, her husband and what life she had behind, as she slams the door on the family home. A significant transition of power has occurred and this is one of the major themes that Ibsen raises in his dramatic text ‘A Doll’s House.’ However, in examining the underlying issue of power presented by the text, one cannot simply look at the plight of Nora’s character, three major aspects of this theme need also to be
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The confectionery is the immediate manifestation of her desire for some form of power and control.

The audience’s perception of Nora as a submissive child-like figure, established by her relationship with her husband, is quickly destroyed by the arrival of Mrs. Linde. The initial balance of power lies with
Kristine in this renewed relationship, as Nora appears envious of her individuality and freedom in having no commitments to a family. Yet, when Kristine declares ‘Nora, you’re a babe in arms,’ this catalyses the first revelation of Nora’s actual power to the audience. Ibsen reveals that despite her interactions with her husband, Helmer is well indebted to the actions of his wife, who unbeknown to him, are responsible for saving his life. Nora is elated at the fact that she is able to finally disclose her secret to someone, she then proceeds to declare that she has no need to reveal this to her husband as
Torvald is already so devoted and so smitten by her current beauty. It is Nora’s false belief in the power she has over her husband, that when it is shown to be misplaced, she reaches the extreme of deciding to leave for ever.

The theme of power and control in the text is not merely demonstrated by one character over another, but also by society over the actions of
Krogstad and Torvald in particular.
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