New Year's Changes In Henrik Isben's A Doll's House

1459 words - 6 pages

In Victorian England, women were expected to be undoubtedly obedient to their fathers, and later in life, servile to their husbands as well. They were normally forbidden to pursue a real education, and would often “devote themselves to their husbands' happiness” (Roland 10). Throughout history, women have had to make sacrifices for other people's feelings and lives. They have given up their own lives, freedoms, education, and careers due to their concern for others. A concurrent injustice occurs in Henrik Ibsen's play, A Doll's House. The play's characters, motifs, and symbols support it's theme; the sacrifices and decisions pushed onto women by society have hampered them from pursuing ...view middle of the document...

When her husband was sick, the doctors suggested to Nora that they move south until he recovered, but not to tell Torvald that he could die if he did not. (182). At the time, they did not have the money for this, and Torvald's morals are against borrowing any money (176). Without telling Torvald that his life depended on this trip to the south, she borrowed money from Krogstad, even though it is illegal for a woman to borrow without her husband's permission (184). Krogstad required Nora to have her father sign a bond as promise that she will pay the money, but she did not have the heart to ask her father because he will ask what it is for (194-195). This is because her father was sick as well, and she could not bare it if she caused him to worry about another person when he is on his deathbed. Therefore, Nora forged the signature so she can save her husband and spare her father (195). This act greatly compromised her reputation and is a large sacrifice to make.
Nora's desire to please others started with her father. She accepted the opinions her father told her because she did not want to displease him. The relationship a child
has with a doll is the same as the relationship with Nora and her father. She was simply his “doll child” (Ibsen 231). Nora makes many sacrifices for the sake of pleasing her husband, but this just helps her be “transferred from Papa's hands” to Torvald's (Ibsen 231-232). He “arranged everything to his taste.” She accepted them by means of which she is not certain: grew to his tastes or pretended. A child is what Nora has been her entire life, and her marriage to Torvald has been play (Ibsen 232).
Society says that men must be dominant in relationships, and Nora accepts this by following many of his orders. Sometimes she childishly hides disobedience, such as lying about having macaroons because Torvald has banned her from having sweets, and then blaming Mrs. Linde for bringing them (Ibsen 178). Childish nicknames such as “little squirrel”and “songbird” are given to Nora by Torvald (Ibsen 177). In addition to name calling, Torvald often condescends Nora, much like a parent would do. When asking Torvald for help on what to where to the New Year's Eve party, Nora claims that her ideas have been silly and insignificant, and he responds by asking if his “little Nora acknowledge[s] that at last” (Ibsen 197).
The motif of “the most wonderful thing,” appears in this play. The treatment Nora received from Torvald made her believe that she was an “obstinate little woman” that needs “someone to come to her rescue” (Ibsen 198). Nora's heroic perspective of borrowing money from Krogstad comes to an end when he discovers that she has forged her father's signature. He blackmails her into convincing Torvald to not replace his position at the bank with Mrs. Linde. If she fails to do this, he will make the community and Torvald aware that she is a criminal (Ibsen 195). Nora goes back and forth between...

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