The Disguise of Reality through Appearances in Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s Hosue”

Categories: Henrik Ibsen
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Henrik Ibsen’s play, “A Doll’s Home,” is a story of realization. It follows a series of occasions in the Helmer home. Numerous themes are explored in the story. One of the central styles that is highlighted in the story is how looks disguise truth. The characters and events in the play all hide the truth beneath looks. The story handles the concept that appearances alone do not define who an individual truly is. Appearances and reality are not constantly the very same.

Sometimes, appearances and reality describe opposite things. This was clearly apparent in the story.

The title of the play fits the style. Since all the characters in the play appear to be like dolls. Their actions are dictated by what those around them inform them to do. Dolls are dressed and had fun with. Their actions are controlled by their owners. This is the same for the characters in the story. Each of them is driven not by the reality of occasions however of their desire to job another personality to hide who they really are.

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Each of the characters camouflaged reality by their appearances and actions. A few of them attempted to accept their existing lives as the truth.

Later on, they realized that their lives did not specify who they really were. Nevertheless, every one of the characters in the story were exposed to be someone very different from what they first seemed. The appearances of the characters deceive readers as well as the other characters.

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For instance, Nora first seemed ridiculous, self-centered, and shallow. She appeared to be the normal other half who worries about things that have no great significance. She seemed to be someone who considered cash and material things as the most valuable things in her life.

It is in the First Act of play where Nora seems the materialistic and shallow other half that she is. In the very first act, Nora states, “Yes, Torvald, we may be a wee bit more reckless now, mayn’t we? Just a tiny wee bit! You are going to have a big income and earn lots and great deals of money.” It appears kind this line that cash matters quite to Nora. However, as the play advances, Nora’s personality and mindset seem to alter. She appears to discover her real self as the play moves closer to the end.

Readers get to see that Nora slowly appears to be intelligent and motivated, in contrast to how she first appears in the story. By the end of the story, Nora is shown to have realized who she really is. She is shown to be an independent thinker. Leaving her husband to discover more about herself is clear indication that she is simply not who she first appeared to be. From the materialist woman who was totally dependent on her husband, Nora emerged to be a strong-willed woman who wants to live a life that she herself controls. Torvald first appears to be the ideal husband.

At the start of the play, Torvald seems to be the strong, hardworking, and loving husband. Most women would want a husband like him. He fulfills his fatherly duties by providing the needs of the family. He loves his wife and seems to be very sweet to him. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that what Torvald appears to be is not who he really is. Towards the end of the play, Torvald is shown to be a man whose main concern is the preservation of his reputation. His fear that Krogstad would expose the scandal is not rooted in his fear of what will happen to his wife.

Instead, he fears the thought of what the scandal will do to his reputation. At the end of the play, Torvald is nothing close to what he first appeared to be. He is revealed to be a coward and a selfish man. Krogstad is another character whose appearance does not do justice to who he really is. The first parts of the play characterize Krogstad as the enemy. He seems to be the villain who has nothing more on his mind but revenge. However, this appearance shadows Krogstad’s real character. He is not the vengeful person that he first appears to be.

He is sympathetic and merciful. The climax of the play is the resolution of the identity confusion that the characters experience. Nora is revealed to be intelligent and brave. Torvals is shown to be a selfish coward and a sad man while Krogstad is shown to be an earnest and devoted lover. The difference in the appearances and the realities that exist in the Helmer household stems from a singular point. The difference can be traced back to Helmer’s desire to live a life based on a certain image that he has created.

His desire to live this life leaves no room for the other characters to explore their own identities. Furthermore, Torvald’s devotion to this image hinders the creation of genuine happiness within his marriage and within his household. It is Torvald’s control over his home’s appearance that suppresses the reality in his house. As the end of the play reveals, this control over appearances and suppression of reality has led to the breakdown of his marriage and ultimately, of the image of a household that he had created.

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The Disguise of Reality through Appearances in Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s Hosue”. (2016, Aug 19). Retrieved from

The Disguise of Reality through Appearances in Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s Hosue”

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