Drama Essay English 102 Essay
Drama Essay English 102
In A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen Nora (protagonist), lives a lifestyle that complies with the social standards of a typical wife during the late nineteenth century. She follows a patriarchal lifestyle in which her husband, Torvald Helmer (antagonist) is dominant. Furthermore, she doesn’t see that her marriage to Mr. Helmer is an illusion. Tarvold belittles and disempowers her throughout the play. However, at the end of the play she is no longer blind and sees that Mr. Helmer only cares for himself.
Ibsen provides a clear example of Nora’s disempowerment in her lifestyle as a woman during the late 19th century. In 1879 women were not allowed to sign a contract for a loan without a male cosigner. Mrs. Helmer needed to take out a loan to pay for Tarvolds trip to Italy due to is illness at the time. Nora didn’t want her father to know about the loan because he was “on his death bed” (840). She didn’t want Mr. Helmer to know about the loan, because he wouldn’t take the money, he didn’t want to be in debt to a woman. Therefore she took the contract and forged her dieing fathers signature
Another example of Nora’s disempowerment that Ibsen provides the audience with is Nora’s marriage to Torvald. First, he constantly belittles her by calling her pet names of insignificant animals such as squirrel or songbird (823). Another example is Mr. Helmer not allowing Mrs. Helmer to eat macaroons, which he claims are bad for her teeth. In
addition, when he suspects her of eating a macaroon he treats her as if she was a child (825). An example of Tarvolds feeding off of Nora’s helplessness is when she practices the Tarantella but she acts as if she doesn’t know what she is doing and desperately asks Tarvold to teach her. However in reality she was stalling him from checking his mailbox in which lies the letter from Krogstad stating the details of Nora’s forgery (859-860).. Although Nora is constantly disempowered and belittled by Tarvold, she is very submissive to Tarvold and believes that her marriage is a success.
Although Nora is constantly disempowered and belittled by Tarvold, she is very submissive to Tarvold and believes that her marriage is a success.
Although Nora is blind, because she doesn’t see that her marriage to Torvald is an illusion. At the end of the play Nora finds out what kind of person Mr. Helmer really is. After Torvald opens and reads the first letter from Krogstad he is astonished and the first words that came out of Nora’s mouth after Tarvold “flings open the door” “I won’t let you save me” (870).
She is expecting for him to defend her because she committed a crime. However, it is the opposite he belligerently insults her and continually carries on about himself and his reputation. In addition, even when she implies suicide “When I’m gone from the world you’ll be free” (871), Tarvold implies if it was beneficial to him, he would let her do it; however, it doesn’t so she shouldn’t. After Tavold reads the second letter he quickly “forgives” Nora because the letter states that Krogstad will disregard the fraud and he will not file any charges. The second letter was written thanks to Mrs. Linde, who suggested that he still keep the letter stating the forgery and write a letter stating that he will disregard the forgery. The reason that she wanted the first letter to
reach Mr. Helmer is because she wanted the truth to be known. However it’s too late because Nora finally “opened her eyes”.
After seeing Torvalds reaction the blind, submissive, powerless, Nora understood that Mr. Helmer only cares about himself. Therefore, she opened her eyes and changed to the complete opposite of the Nora that the audience met in the beginning of the play. Nora went from being submissive to unyielding. Instead of keeping to herself she began to voice her opinion.
For example “For eight whole years – longer in fact since we first met, we have never talked seriously to each other about a single serious thing.” (873) Not only does Nora finally see what her marriage is really about, she also decided to leave Torvald forever. Clearly showing power and independence Tarvold begs her to stay and use the children as an excuse. However Nora responds by stating that the maid knows the house and the children better then she ever did.
After reading this play I believe that the second translation (A Dolls’ House) is better then the first (A Doll’s House). Because, the first translation means singular, in reference to Nora. However, the second translation means plural in reference to both Nora and Tarvold. In my opinion both Nora and Tarvold are both, being dolls, victims of society and social standards.
They followed a patriarchal rule within their family, which met with the social norms during that time period. Where Tarvold is the dominant, bread winner, husband and Nora is the submissive, entertainment, wife. If their social standard of society during that era, are now looked upon as immoral and wrong, does that mean that the people of the next era will look at our social standards of society and social norms and as immoral and wrong?