In A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, is a play about the personal revolution of a Norwegian housewife. Nora appears to be happy with mindlessly obeying her husband, until it is discovered that she has a secret debt that she has hidden from him. Krogstad, Nora’s loaner, threatens to reveal the debt to her husband. When it is inadvertently revealed, Nora realizes the lack of depth of her husband’s feelings for her and leaves their established household and family to find her own personal identity. The theme of A Doll’s House is that societal norms restrict personal freedom.
Even when eating macaroons, Nora assures Torvald, "You know I could never think of going against you" (A Doll’s House 1242). Nora is a doll, a helpless little "lark", a "songbird", and over the course of their relationship, Nora has been molded into thinking she must be all those and does not want Torvald to think otherwise (A Doll’s House 1242). Because helpless songbirds did not save lives on their own, Nora could not let Torvald find out about her use of forgery to obtain money, because it would hurt his "masculine pride" and "just ruin their relationship”.
In Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, pointedly captures the reality of the Victorian Era within the play. Nora Helmer, the protagonist of the story, represents the typical women in society during that era. The audience’s first impression of Nora is a money obsessed, childish, obedient house wife to her husband, Torvald Helmer. However, as the play progresses one can see that Nora is far from being that typical ideal trophy wife, she is an impulsive liar who goes against society’s norm to be whom and what she wants. Her husband is illustrated as the stereotypical man during the 19th century, as he is the dominate breadwinner of the family, who too deserts his position as the play reaches its end. A key theme that is brought to light in A
Continuing with and exploration of symbolism we see the Christmas tree becomes stripped and droopy when Nora's mood changes (obj. 3). She finds out that there has been a letter put in the letterbox that reveals her biggest lie to her husband. With the box is locked, she has no key, therefore she cannot stop the outcome of him finding out the truth. It represents the trap of Nora and the cause of her denials (obj. 3). Knowing that she has to perform the tarantella she rehearses it throughout the play and uses it to distract Torvald from finding out the truth. She also uses the dance to play the part of the doll dancing as the masters insist. The tarantella is the climax of the play (obj. 3). Nora dances with great intensity almost as if it her life depended on it. The dance brings out the turning point in Nora's character. It symbolizes the last dance a doll will perform for her master. It is after the dance is over they go back to the apartment and the letterbox is opened.
However, Nora does eventually realize that she has been treated like a child all her life and has been denied the right to think and act the way she wishes. When Torvald does not immediately offer to help Nora after Krogstad threatens to expose her, Nora realizes that there is a problem. By waiting until after he discovers that his social status will suffer no harm, Torvald reveals his true
The tree also symbolizes the mood of the play, in the sense that it represents celebration and happiness, but at some point it must all come to an end, and normal life must resume, and in Nora and Torvald’s case, this means accepting that their marriage is not a part of reality.
When Krogstad threatens to expose the truth, Nora must use her craftiness to distract Torvald and sway him into letting Krogstad keep his job. Unfortunately, she is not able to change his mind, but she does succeed in diverting his suspicions of her motives. She praises him and lulls him into a false sense of security by telling him that "[n]o one has such good taste as [he has]" and then goes on to ask him if he could "take [her] in hand and decide what [she is] to go as" for the dance. She confesses to him that she "can't do anything without [him] to help [her]". These statements lead him to believe that he is the one to "rescue" her, when it is in fact Nora who is trying to rescue him from dishonour. Later on, when Krogstad puts a letter in Torvald's mail, explaining everything that Nora has done, Nora uses her charms once more. She pretends that she has forgotten the tarantella so that Torvald will spend all his time with her and think nothing of the mail that awaits him. Nora truly believes that by deceiving her husband, she is protecting him from worry. Because of Nora's deception, the person that Torvald believes her to be is quite different from the person she actually is. He believes that she is a "spendthrift," infatuated by expensive things when in reality, she saves her money to pay back Krogstad and buys cheap clothing and gifts. Torvald
In act two, Nora is slowly beginning to understand Trovald's true persona. Nora, maybe for the first time in her life, asks Torvald for a favor, to not fire an employee. He replies to her by asking "Do you suppose I am going to make myself ridiculous before my whole staff, to let people think that I am a man to be swayed by all sorts of outside influence"(Act II). This rhetorical question reveals Torvald's main concern of appearance. His greater concern for the image rather than Nora displays the lack of love in the relationship. It contradicts Nora's courageous act of borrowing money for Torvald, despite the government, for the sake of her love. This argument leads Nora to
In the play “A Doll’s House” Henrik Ibsen introduces us to Nora Helmer and shows us how spontanesly her design of the ideal life can change when a secret of her is revealed. Nora’s husbands promotion to Manager of the town Bank, leaves her convince she will be living a wonderful life; stress and worry free. However, Nora’s idea of a wonderful life is completely changed when her long-kept secret is revealed.
Like the marriage, the tree is center stage and requires the focus of the audience. While Torvald tells Nora how deceit poisons families, she is busy decorating the tree. Nora cannot believe she will destroy her family, poison her home (1582-1583). At the beginning of Act II, the tree is in the corner stripped of ornament with burned-downed candles littering the ragged branches (1583). Likewise, the Helmer's marriage is no longer an image of beauty, but just an illusion of beauty.
In Act I, Nora decorates the tree as a response to Krogstad’s threat. The Christmas season is symbolic of family happiness, and the Christmas tree, being a representation of the Christmas season, is an embodiment of such Christmas spirit. Her action of decorating the Christmas tree hence symbolizes the effort she puts into maintaining the happiness of her family by reinforcing the illusion of the marriage. This is explicitly shown through Nora’s emphasis that she would “do everything that [Torvald likes]” while decorating the tree, sustaining her performance as the ideal housewife, which is the foundation to the illusion of the perfect marriage. Nora’s efforts are shown spatially through the central position of the tree on-stage, which is the focal position in drama, and reveals Nora’s focus of attention being put onto her family. At the end of Act I, however, Torvald ironically equates Krogstad’s “poison[ous]” morality to Nora’s, which “contaminates” and “poisons” her home. In Nora’s mindset, his words imply that her efforts, past and future, are deemed useless in securing her family’s safety, prompting her to become hopeless and destroyed when faced with Krogstad’s threat and can no longer focus on her commitment to her family, reflected in the change of position of the Christmas tree from centre to “the corner” of the same
What comes to mind when the word morals is said? Whose morals should be followed, individual or group? In A Doll House, Ibsen portrays the protagonist, Nora, to follow the morals of her husband, Torvald. Four key aspects that help Nora decide to change her mind and make a decision to leave Torvald. These include the constant change of nicknames, the questioning of her own independence, the questioning of Torvald's love, and the realization that Torvald loves his reputation more then herself. As a result, Nora sets out to find her own individuality and moral beliefs.
Torvald’s wife Nora is the center of several of the traits that classify him as a morally ambiguous character. Nora is more like a possession to Torvald than a soul mate or wife. She is like a doll to him, something that he can control and shape into what he wants. Nora is treated like a child and as if she can not function a second without him to be there to tell her what to do. Her dependency on him is extremely important to him because that is
In preparation for Nora's dance at the party, we again see Ibsen showing us Torvald's and Nora's roles. "I can't get anywhere without your help."(Ibsen 91) "Direct me. Teach me, the way you always have."(Ibsen 91) Nora's lines reflect the "costume" that Torvald expects her to wear (and which she wears obligingly), that of the meek, subservient, childlike wife.
Ibsen focuses on setting up the unveiling in the final acts, in that we are introduced to the idea that the truth coming to light is inevitable, and may soon have disastrous effects. Nora is depicted as being an extremely manipulative woman in order to get her way, she is quoted on numerous occasions saying things such as; “I’ll do anything to please you Torvald, I’ll sing for you, dance for you,” and she is portrayed as an uninformed and naïve young lady. The tricks Nora is willing to perform in order to satisfy her husband provide the foundation for the idea that the two are really living an idealistic lifestyle at all, and are really caught up in a web of lies and deception. Ibsen uses a variety of techniques to portray how disguised and fake the marriage is; such as the Christmas tree which is decorated and set up, and the significance given to the clothing of Nora and her Husband. In the case of the Christmas tree, its significance is that it represents exactly what their marriage is. It is covered with decorations, appearing ideal, but has no grounds in the realm of truth. Such is similar in the heavier than normal use of wardrobe throughout the play; when, particularly Nora, is often dressed up attempting to please Torvald, she is merely playing a role. Not only is their relationship riddled with lies, but such lies seem to exist to cover up how little the two truly have in common. While they get along and act