Burning Down The Doll House Essay

1187 words - 5 pages

'Til death do us part.' Well, not always. Everywhere one looks the violent shredding of a family is shrugged off like the daily weather, and the treasured marriage vows have become nothing but a promise made to be broken. Going against all the odds a woman faced in the late nineteenth century, Nora went behind her husband's back, borrowed a large sum of money, forged her father's signature, and went on to pay it off with hopes of Torvald never hearing of it. The play A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, is a prime example of a relationship that was terribly structured. The marriage of Torvald and Nora Helmer had many problems, because of the slamming door, and all that went before it; I think most readers would identify with Nora. To keep their nuptials alive and growing it must hold true to three qualities: loyalty, love, and trust. With the incorporation of these qualities any marriage would work.Neither Nora nor Torvald had dependence in themselves enough to truly open and become loyal to one another. Torvald was the owner of what he believed to be a perfect dollhouse. Nora's domineering father first controlled this dollhouse, and once Nora was married, the titles and deeds to this dollhouse were handed over to Torvald. Nora is frequently equated with her father and the frequent references to him suggest that Nora does wish that she were like her father "HELMER: Very like your father. NORA: Ah, I wish I had inherited many of Papa's qualities." Torvald feels that Nora should not be like her father and insults his character. "HELMER: My little Nora, there is an important difference between your father and me. Your father's reputation as a public official was not above suspicion. Mine is, and I hope it will continue to be so as long as I hold office." Nora explains to Christine why she can not tell Torvald that it is not bad to be like her father. "NORA: But surely you can understand that being with Torvald is a little like being with Papa---". Before Nora leaves, she tells Torvald, "I've been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa's doll-child. And the children have been my dolls in their turn... That's what our marriage has been." Torvald's belief in the importance of independence is also emphasized when confronted with Nora's pleas to change his mind about Krogstad's dismissal. "HELMER: Do you suppose that I am going to make myself ridiculous before my whole staff, to let people think I am a man to be swayed by all sorts of outside influence?" When Nora reveals her crime to Helmer, the audience expects to see a grateful and understanding husband, but instead is greeted with a spiteful and unappreciative man who does not see the true purpose of Nora's deed. She refused to be a doll, and would alternate personalities between 'Torvald's little skylark,' and 'Nora the intelligent and strong woman.' A balance of loyalty between man and wife that is needed in any marriage was certainly not reached, but this was not the only factor that...

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