Henrik Isben's A Doll's House Essay

961 words - 4 pages

In Henrik Ibsen’s play, “A Dollhouse”, we learn of a woman who has been repressed almost her entire life. Nora Helmer was treated like a little girl not only by her father, but by her husband, Torvald, as well. Her life is compared to that of a doll’s in the play. In order to get what she wants she dresses and acts as to please Torvald. The two other principle characters in this play, Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde, help to portray the characters of both Torvald and Nora. More specifically, Dr. Rank can be contrasted with Mr. Helmer, and the same can be done with Mrs. Linde and Nora. This not only allows the reader to understand the characters, but to help bring out one of the central themes of the story: the repression of the woman.

Nora Helmer is portrayed throughout most of the play as a young-hearted, naïve housewife. Mrs. Christine Linde, on the other hand, although around the same age, seems far more mature. She visits Nora unexpectedly and explains to Nora her hardships. It is evident from the first act of the play that Christine has had far more experience with life. And, she even tells Nora that she “knows so little of the burdens and troubles of life” (1.156). This large contrast in character is useful to accentuate Nora’s childlike characteristics. Mrs. Linde is far more independent, and so it is easy to see how contingent Nora is on her husband. Mrs. Linde has lost her husband and is left nothing, where as Nora is constantly nagging her husband for more money, and acts as the totally helpless wife, and Torvald’s doll. This contrast leads up until the very end of the novel, where Nora finally sticks up for herself and takes control of her situation. And it is here that Nora begins to resemble Mrs. Linde; she shows strength. Mrs. Linde took a hold of her life and so perhaps it is by this example that Nora does the same. Therefore, it is evident that Mrs. Linde was an important character in the story because she may have been part of the driving force that pushed Nora to take action towards her independence.

Mr. Rank, on the other hand, is helpful in understanding Mr. Helmer. Through out the play Torvald plays a very controlling husband, who treats his wife like his little “doll”. He likes her to dress up and makes her dance for him. And if she does this he will reward his “sweet little spendthrift” with treats like little allowances (1.47). Mr. Rank, on the contrary, is in love with Nora, and treats her as more of an equal. He can have conversations with her, and talks to her with more dignity and respect. We see this...

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