Critical Analysis of "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was a controversial play for its time because it questioned society's basic rules and norms. Multiple interpretations can be applied to the drama, which allows the reader to appreciate many different aspects of the play. This paper examines how both Feminist and Marxist analyses can be applied as literary theories in discussing Ibsen's play because both center on two important subject matters in the literary work: the roles of women in a male-dominated society, and, the power that money has over people.
In Marxism it is believed that a person's thoughts, behaviors and relationships with others are all ...view middle of the document...
She even tells the tree delivery boy to keep the change from the shilling she gave him, which was double what he asked for.
Even though Torvald isn’t due to receive his raise for another few months, Nora insists that they can borrow until then, when before she and Torvald saved every penny, and they both worked odd jobs in order to get by. Now that her financial situation has improved Nora also seems more selfish, claiming that if something were to happen to Torvald after they had borrowed money, “it just wouldn’t matter” because the people they borrowed from are strangers. Now that she belongs to a higher social class she doesn’t care about her obligation to pay back her creditors; she is only focused on what she can extract from other people.
When Nora's old friend Mrs. Linde comes over, the first thing Nora mentions to her is Trovald’s promotion at the bank, and says that she feels so light and happy because they will now have "heaps of money" and not a care in the world . When Mrs. Linde replies that it would be nice to have enough for the necessities, Nora insists that it wouldn't suffice- she wants “heaps and heaps of money”. (1.117-119). Nora then reveals that Trovald had been ill and she borrowed money for a trip to Italy to help him recover. She goes on to mention that it was very difficult for her to scrape together money in order to pay the loan back, but it no longer matters—because now she is "free". She associates freedom with the acquisition of wealth, saying that having money is the only way she can be carefree and happy. By the end of the play, however, Nora realizes that even if she is able to be free of her debts, she is still financially enslaved to her husband, because as a woman she is completely dependent on him. She refers to leaving him as “a settling of accounts” (3.266), and in doing so she not only abandon's her marital vows but also her financial dependence because she discovers that personal freedom is not measured in economic terms.
Torvald, although a bit more careful about the spending, also is ruled by money and the status it earns him. He too equates wealth with happiness when he says "it is splendid to feel that one has a perfectly safe appointment, and a big enough income." (1.70). When Nora mentions that they can take a loan until his raise comes through, he is adamant in his reply that “there can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt.” (1.22). He had also adopted society's values that power depended on money, and debt, which was frowned upon, was considered a sign of moral degeneracy. The dramatic irony behind his words lies in the fact that Torvald would not even still be alive if his wife hadn't gotten into debt, but he does not realize this.
Torvald cares not only about money, but also about his social status and reputation as well. When he finds out that Nora borrowed money from Krogstad with a forged signature, his love for her is suddenly completely gone,...