Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

1055 words - 4 pages

In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House the main character, Nora Helmer, shows us the story of a woman who has borrow money without her husband’s consent in order to save his life. Although this noble act would be admired by most, Nora has to keep it a secret from Torvald Helmer, her husband, as he would see it as a betrayal. The measures that Nora takes in order to keep the loan a secret, create circumstances that bring Nora—whose only duty is to serve her husband— to discover that her life can be more than just being an accessory to her husband. She becomes her own self. In her struggle to keep the borrowed money from her husband’s knowledge Nora begins a transformation from dependence of Torvald, to being self-efficient, self-worthy, and self-independent—qualities women of her time lacked of—because all, such as Nora never displayed a mind of their own. At the end, when Nora’s secret is revealed to Torvald and his reaction is to condemn her for borrowing the money, Nora realizes that she no longer fears her husband’s reaction; she is no longer worried of keeping appearances of what society says she should be as a wife, and mother. The secret that Nora tries very hard to keep hidden, gives her the opportunity to discover herself as an individual, and what she is capable of doing regardless the constraints of society.
In fact, Nora’s first display of self-sufficiency happened when Torvald “fell deathly ill [and] the doctors said it was essential for him to travel south” (799) At the time Nora and Torvald did not count with money to make the trip, and knowing that Torvald would never agree to borrow money, Nora “was the one who raised the money” (801) She ingeniously managed to convince her husband to travel South without having to confess to him that he was dying, or that a substantial amount of money was needed for the trip. As Nora puts it “a wife with a little business sense, a wife who knows how to manage” (801) and she did managed to save her husband’s life. It was clear to Nora that borrowing the money absent of Torvald’s approval would be a secret she would have to keep forever, at least she would have try. She could not afford to lose her husband to his “masculine pride” (802) Hence, she took clandestine action to save his life which began a downward spiral to her self-discovery, and to have appreciation for the actions she was capable of taking to save Torvald. But not only did Nora manage to get a loan behind Torvald’s back, she also arranged payments without him suspecting her. “[She] was the one most responsible too, every time Torvald gave [her] money… [she] never used more than half” (802) This shows that Nora was not as helpless as Torvald thought her to be. Stepping away from the role society said to be totally dependent on her husband, Nora unknowingly, was becoming her own individual by maintaining the loan a secret.
Women in Nora’s time were also dependent of their...

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