Nora's Freedom in The Doll House
Nora is initially introduced as a macaroon-loving, naïve individual constantly trying to please her husband. However, when the audience discovers that she borrowed the funds that allowed her and her husband to travel to Italy for a year in order to save Torvald from certain harm, Nora demonstrates that she is actually a much stronger character than originally portrayed. However, the real problem lies with the way in which she burrowed the money. In order to get the cash, Nora forged her father's signature. As a result, she is in debt to the man who leant her the money, Nils Krogstad.
Within the context of modern times, Nora's crime appears almost daring and creative, rather than completely criminal (Egan 67). In comparison, Torvald's reactions to Nora's crimes seem almost cruel and unimaginative. When he scolds Nora's father for a similar failure to secure proper signatures and condemns Nils for doing the same, he appears to be an unsympathetic individual. He scolds people and judges them for their actions without considering why the may have done what they did.
Furthermore, the household in which Nora and Torvald live in is completely patriarchal, again demonstrating Torvald's limited imagination. He gives Nora very little power and very little credit, when she appears to be much more imaginative than him. Within the house's walls, all items exist for one purpose: to entertain Torvald. Also, Torvald appears to lack the understanding that other people may be interested in other things, and that there are people on this planet who should be considered within the same class as him.
The play was initially seen as an attempt to express the conflicts of women, and most certainly those who were treated more as their husband's belongings than human beings. When considering the context of the times in which the play was written, one needs to consider that when Nora slams the door at the end of the play (what critics have famously called the "shot heard round the world") the slam created a much louder ruckus during the nineteenth century than what it does in modern times. More than likely, the audiences who first digested this play were probably not completely supportive of Nora's decisions. Michael Meyer says:
No play had ever before contributed so momentously to the social debate, or been so widely and furiously discussed among people who were not normally interested in theatrical or even artistic matters (61).
While some viewers of the play initially sided with Torvald, it becomes apparent by the end of the play that Torvald is too snobbish and self-absorbed to even recognize why Nora decides to leave him. The only thing he can picture Nora achieving is death (Chamberlain 15). Torvald's focus on his social standing limits his perspective, and because his perspective is so limited, he is completely blind to this fact. Nora, however,...