Theme Of Deception In A Doll's House

768 Words4 Pages
Despite the fact that Norwegian society in the 19th century valued a stable, patriarchal marriage, the relationship between Nora and Helmer is full of deception and secrets. In the play A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen attempts to reveal the problems of what seems like an ideal life - the wife, who is to trust her husband and obey his commands, is concealing things from him. Explicit portrayal of uncomfortable and undeniable truths in society caused an uproar amongst Ibsen’s audience, whereby they criticised the play for being too shocking and outrageous for the middle class eye. Such theme of deception is presented in various sections in Act 1 of the play - Nora’s secret with Krogstad, the symbolism of the macaroons, and the description of the…show more content…
19th century Norway was a patriarchal society, where the upper middle class valued a stable marriage with the existence of mutual trust between the husband and wife. By hiding the macaroons from Torvald, Nora has created a secret in their relationship - their marriage is described to be seemingly happy, and to the 19th century audience, the scene would clearly have been a shock, since such explicit portrayal of deception would have been utterly despised in society. Furthermore, when Nora asks, “Dr Rank, would you like a small macaroon?” this reveals yet again the theme of deception. When Nora then “pops a macaroon into his mouth,” the macaroon serves as a symbol of deceit. By eating the macaroon, Dr Rank is now part of the secrecy, and shares with Nora her secret. This hiding away of the macaroons also hints at how the relationship between Nora and Torvald are superficial and based on lies. Nora lies to Torvald even about the most basic things (eating a macaroon), and Torvald treats her as a pet animal and a child; there is a sense of mutual distrust, and this form of deception is successfully communicated to the audience with the
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