It is completely fair to say that Henrik Ibsen uses A Doll’s House to challenge the ideas of love and marriage. In the play, the two main characters, Nora and Torvald ,are going through a marital struggle. Ibsen uses their relationship to distinguish between true love and marriage.
At the start of the play, the Helmers appear to be very happy in their marriage. They portray the perfect marriage when we are first introduced. They have it all; a lovely home, are financially stable and have 3 beautiful children. They are a couple to be envious of. Both Nora and Torvald believe they really are in true love and that their marriage is completely legitimate. Not only do they believe that they ...view middle of the document...
For example, he forbids Nora from eating sweets because he does not want her teeth to become rotten. He says to her, " Surely my sweet tooth hasn't been running riot in town today has she?". He continues to pester her after she denies it several times. This shows how shallow he actually really is. If Torvald really loved Nora, he would not care about petty things like that. If he truly loved her, he would not care if her teeth were ruined. He likes Nora for her looks and beauty, not her personality or character.
Nora’s feelings towards Torvald are more about dependence than about love. Nora agrees with everything Torvald tells her. "Yes, whatever you say, Torvald" She needs him to fend for her, and depends on him for money. . " Ten...Twenty...Thirty...Forty. Thank You Torvald; that will keep me going for a long time!’’ Besides money, Nora depends on Torvald to be an almost father figure. She wants him to teach her. Nora begs Torvald to help improve her dancing. "Criticise me, and correct me as you play.’’
At the end of the play, Nora finally realises this. She had never loved Torvald, and he has never loved her back. She finally tells him, " I can't help it. I don't love you anymore" Unlike Torvald, Nora knows this marriage was a fantasy, the core of the relationship was an illusion. ‘’You have never loved me. You have only thought it pleasant to be in love with me.’’
Another way in which Ibsen critiques love and marriage in a Doll’s House is through the inequalities, the dishonesty and lack of communication between Nora and Torvald. HE shows that marriage is not easy, as The play centers on the dissolution of the marriage that doesn't meet these standards.
At first the Helmers seem happy, but, over the course of the play, the imbalance between them becomes more and more apparent. It is evident that Nora is subjected to Torvald having the upper hand in their marriage, emotionally and economically. The weight of power in their marriage is hugely uneven. Torvald will never view Nora as an equal to him. He calls her silly nicknames ‘’my little squirrel’’, scolds her like a child ‘’my little songbird must never do that again.’’ , and views her as his possession. Nora and Torvald operate within their marriage according to the rules Torvald has set forth; ‘’I should not think of going against your wishes.’’ It is clear that Nora has no explicit power in the marriage, and may not have an input into important decisions. ‘’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?’’ Torvald and Nora do not know how to work as equals and this adds generously to their dysfunctional marriage.
Dishonesty plays a huge part in their marriage. Nora is consistently dishonest with Torvald as she is keeping a marriage-threatening secret from him. This is not a way a good marriage should be. Nora has never been honest with Torvald about her forgery...