Nora and Torvald
The play starts off around Christmas time, where Nora returns from shopping. Nora is shown to have a happy and careless attitude due to the fact her husband, Torvald received a promotion at the bank as a manager, which led her to believe they will have more of a comfortable life due to Torvald’s larger income. As soon as Torvald discovered that Nora went shopping, he was disappointed, stating, “Bought, did you say? All these things? Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?” In Act I, the dynamic between Nora and Torvald’s marriage were seen immediately. Money is the first source of argument between Nora and Torvald, as they have different views when it comes to spending money. Nora, who is more careless when it comes to spending money, and does not mind borrowing money from others when it runs out, and Torvald who is the main source of income, is more strict with money and believes that, “There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt.”
My Little Squirrel
Although Nora was disappointed by Torvald’s response, she quickly became enthusiastic when Torvald asked her what she wanted for Christmas. In Act I, it is demonstrated how easily manipulated Nora is by her husband. Although Torvald does not like when Nora spends money on mindless objects, Torvald also uses money to cheer Nora up, and to have Nora under his wing, which is seen when he quickly changed the subject and asked Nora what she would like for Christmas. Rather than treated as a wife, Nora is treated more like a child who does not have her own independence, as her husband continues to call her nicknames such as “my little skylark”,”my little squirrel” or “my little sweeth-tooth”. Although all nicknames may sound intimate, all of them also start with the words, “little”, which shows that Torvald is superior. His superiority is not only shown through these nicknames, but also when he tries to control Nora’s desire to eat macaroons, to the point where Nora has to eat one or two macaroons and hide the rest.
Risk of Borrowing Money From Krogstad
Though Nora is considered to be a typical woman in the nineteenth century, Nora’s secret was revealed in Act I, which challenged the basic qualities of a woman during this century. In Act I, it was discovered that Torvald became extremely ill, and the doctor advised Nora that the only thing that would save her husband’s life is to go south. In order to take such a huge trip, Nora would need 250 pounds, which is an amount they unfortunately did not have. Because of this, Nora had to take the risk of borrowing money from Krogstad, forging her father’s signature on the promissory note at the same time. During this time, it was revealed that a wife cannot borrow money without a husband’s consent, which further shows the inequality between men and women. Although Nora committed a crime, as she forged her father’s signature, Nora took pride in her actions, not only because she saved her husband from dying, but also because it was the first time Nora made a big decision without consulting her husband. Not only did Nora take pride in this, it showed how courageous she is, as she is willing to break the law in order to save Torvald.
In the beginning of the play, Nora was seen as a woman who depended on her husband in all aspects of her life, whether it was financially or socially. Whether it is receiving allowances from Torvald regularly, or making sure Torvald does not see any sewing in the living room, Nora always kept Torvald in mind. However, as the play progresses, it is discovered that Nora is not as dependent as she is thought to be. In Act I, Mrs.Linde accused Nora of being a child, and not “incapable of anything serious”, but as mentioned, it is discovered that Nora took matters in her own hands, and was able to take out loans, in order to save her husband’s life, which shows that she is resourceful and smart. Throughout the play, Nora works hard to ensure that Torvald does not find out the truth, despite all of Krogstad’s threats. However, all secrets eventually come to light, and Torvald ends up reading Krogstad’s letter, which reveals the whole truth regarding the loan. At first, Nora contemplated taking her own life, stating, “Never to see my children again either–never again. Never! Never!–Ah! the icy, black water–the unfathomable depths–If only it were over! He has got it now–now he is reading it.”
Biggest Risk in Life
This quickly changed after Nora realized that Torvald only cares about his reputation, exclaiming, “Yes, it is true! I am saved! Nora, I am saved!” After this point, Nora realized what her marriage is all about, but even worse, what her marriage has always been. In Act III, Nora took a complete turn, from being suicidal to taking matters into her own hands. At this point of the play, Nora realized that she has always been treated like a “doll-child”, not just by her husband but also by her father, stating, “I have existed merely to perform tricks for you, Torvald. But you would have it so. You and papa have committed a great sin against me. It is your fault that I have made nothing of my life.” Nora decided to take the biggest risk of her life, to leave her husband and kids despite what others may think of her, in order for her to understand and discover her self-identity. Although Nora initially wanted her secret to remain a secret, the truth coming out symbolized as a catalyst for Nora to realize how her life turned out, and to finally take matters in her own hands.
Social Issues in the Play
In A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, there were many characters who took a significant risk, regardless of the consequences. The protagonist, Nora Helmer, initially was portrayed as a dependent, money-loving wife, but as the play continued, a different side of Nora was seen. It was discovered that Nora borrowed a large amount of money and even forged her father’s signature in order to keep her husband alive. With this comes major consequences, as she is lying to her husband and everyone around, but most importantly, she was breaking the law at the same time. By the end of Act III, Ibsen illustrates Nora as a strong, independent woman, whose only desire is to find her real identity. After many years of marriage, Nora realized that her husband along with her father only saw her as a doll-child, someone they can control and use as a trophy, however, Nora soon found out that woman is not who she truly wants to be. In order to find her true self, Nora took the risk of breaking away from her husband and kids, despite what the consequences are, such as ruining not only her reputation, but her whole family’s reputation. A Doll’s House is a dramatized play, which illustrates the inequality roles between men and women in the nineteenth century. Ibsen shows through the character of Nora, that although society has its norms and expectations, it is still important to find one’s worth and identity, despite the judgements you may receive.