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Nora As A Dynamic Character And Norwegian Marriage

1214 words - 5 pages

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, is a theatrical play that takes place in 19th century Norway. This geographical location is significant to the story, as Norway was the playwright’s native country as well as a region that was highly influenced by the Victorian period and its patriarchal tendencies. In A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen illustrates the Norwegian social issues that failed to recognize the potential of all its constituents, through the life of Nora Helmer. Ibsen characterizes Nora Helmer as a dynamic character that is initially childish but later becomes independent (defiant). Through the characterization of Nora, Ibsen demonstrates how the traditional Norwegian marriage was based on ...view middle of the document...

This quote reveals that Nora is desperate to prevent Krogstad from revealing Nora’s foregrey. Ibsen illustrates that all characters in A Doll’s House are concerned and motivated by money, thus illustrating the prominent role wealth played in their lives. Krogstad’s main concern is to keep his position to receive good pay.
Through Torvald’s diction, Nora Helmer is characterized as vulnerable and childish. A Doll’s House takes place during the Victorian era, a time when women were expected to maintain their duty as mother and wife. Women were also subjugated and considered inferior to men, which only reiterates the concept of male dominance in a marriage. Women served as an emotional and moral guidance to their husband and children. On the other hand male superiority was a strong proponent in marriage and Torvald Helmer is the epitome of that demeaning husband. Torvald gives Nora nicknames such as “my little lark”, “my little squirrel”, and “my child”, which evokes a fatherly relationship between Nora and Torvald. The undermining nicknames solidifies the control he has over her, rather than recognizing her true character. In addition, Torvald’s use of the possessive pronoun “my” is used to further emphasize how Torvald is controlling and possessive of Nora.
Torvald believes it is his duty to protect and please her like a father. As indicated in Nora’s monologue in Act III, a woman was transferred from the hands of her father to those of her husband. Both male figures failed to recognize women as individuals. Rather they treated their wives as dolls that existed for their entertainment. For example, Nora claims, “our house has been nothing but a playroom. Here I have been your doll- wife, just as at home I used to be papa's doll-child. And the children, in their turn, have been my dolls […] That has been our marriage, Torvald” (67). Through this quote, Ibsen is conveying to his audience that the Helmers' marriage is based on maintaining the dominance of the husband, which prevents Nora from expressing her true individualism. Ibsen does not suggest that there is anything inherently wrong with such duties. He does, however, point out the dangers of having an individual's life defined by society in a way that ignores their personal identity and journey.
After her monologue, Nora leaves Torvald and her children. Nora’s departure created a scandal in the Norwegian society at the time. It was a complete disconnect of traditional customs and teachings of that era. Ibsen did this to show Nora’s discontent. He wanted to point out how it felt to be treated like a...

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