The Transformation of a Woman - Ibsen's a Doll's House

1437 Words Feb 14th, 2012 6 Pages
The Transformation of a Woman In Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, the character of Nora Helmer is a woman who undergoes a profound life revelation that results in her becoming a woman with a belief structure and understanding of self that is far ahead of her time. At the beginning of the play, Nora thinks as a woman of her era; her identity is formed as her father’s daughter and continued as a wife to Torvald Helmer. At the end of the play Nora “discovers her individuality then walks out on her husband” (Ramsden). A primary theme of the play is that Nora is a doll that is living in a doll’s house. (Alexander 381--390) The entire play is set in one room of the Helmer household. This reinforces the sense that Nora is …show more content…
Once Helmer discovers Nora’s deceit she hopes he will see the sacrifice that she has made, telling him “I have loved you above everything else in the world”. Instead he cries out, “she who was my joy and pride—a hypocrite, a liar—worse, worse—criminal!” His concern is only for himself, pronouncing “Now you have destroyed all my happiness. You have ruined all my future.” He worries, “I may be falsely suspected of having been a party to your criminal action. Very likely people will think I was behind it all—that it was I who prompted you.” He tells Nora she must stay in the home to uphold the appearances of marriage “but naturally only in the eyes of the world”, and that she will not be allowed to raise the children. Upon realizing they are free of exposure Helmer instantly does a complete reversal in his outrage towards Nora, telling her, “I have forgiven you everything. I know that what you did, you did out of love for me.” But it is too late for Nora. A Doll’s House becomes an astoundingly radical play about women’s historical transition from being generic family members (wife, sister, daughter, mother) to becoming individuals (Moi 256--284). She realizes she has been done an injustice. “You and papa have committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life.” Nora tells Helmet, “You don’t understand me, and I have never understood you either—before tonight.” She