The Price of Freedom in A Doll's House
Freedom is something that people in all times, places, and experiences have sought after, often against great odds and at a great personal cost. But, in the struggle for freedom, every person gains a sense of true self, if they believe that the freedom which they are fighting for is just. In almost all plays, every character has something threatened which is important to them and which they consider worth fighting for. In Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll House, every character suffers a disaster or mistake which causes them to lose some of their freedoms. However, in the quest to regain their freedoms, every character in a way gains more freedom than they thought possible. Nora suffers the most of all of the characters during the play's duration and she has the most to gain and the most to lose. Each character suffers in some way, which allows them to grow and become a stronger character.
Nora is the most important character in the play. Attentions are focused on what she feels and how she interacts with the other players in her doll house. Nora really is nothing more than a doll for most of the play, and gradually we see her gain strength and determination, as well as a realization that in order for her to be truly free she must flee her gilded birdcage. She has been nothing more than a doll most of her life, and she realizes that when she confronts her husband. "I've been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa's doll-child" (Ibsen 1136). She made herself conform to the role that society had cast her into.
"Patriarchy's socialization of women into servicing creatures is the first
major accusation in Nora's painful account to Torvold of how first her
father, and then he, used her for their amusement... how she had no right
to think for herself, only the duty to accept their opinions. Excluded from meaning anything, Nora has never been subject, only object" (Johnston).
She came to the realization that she had never really lived life for herself; she lived vicariously through others. She had everything the way she thought she wanted it to be and everything was just the way she thought that it should be. However, she dared to go outside the normal bounds of socially acceptable things for women to do when she went and got a loan from Krogstad so that they could travel south to Italy in order to save Torvold's life. She loved him with a passion so intense that she never considered what she was doing to be wrong.
"When a woman loves as Nora loves, nothing else matters; least of all,
social, legal or moral considerations. Therefore, when her husband's
life is threatened, it is no effort, it is a joy for Nora to forge her father's
name to a note and borrow 800 cronen on it, in order to take her sick
husband to Italy" (Goldman).
She loved him so much, or rather she thought she loved him...