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The Lie In Ibsen's A Doll's House

1852 words - 7 pages

The Lie in Ibsen's A Doll's House

 
   An action or statement that may be considered a lie to some may, in fact, not be considered, a lie to others: it might simply be considered, omitted information. The lie might seem to have an evil intent when first heard, but the true intention behind it may have been for helpful purposes or for protection.  In Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, a lie was created to help and protect a loved one - yet it resulted in a catastrophic act.

 

The character Nora lives her life, in one sense, as a complete lie. She never thought for herself or had her own opinions. Nora's father would tell her "what he thought about everything" leaving her no "opinion but his" (Ibsen 428). If she did have an opinion of her own, she keep quiet, knowing he would not have agreed. She played his "little doll" until she moved in with Torvald, her husband. She felt as though she "was passed from Papa's hands into...[Torvald's]" ( Ibsen 428). Now she played the role of Torvald's "little doll," pretending to take on his views of everything. By going from her father's views, to Torvald's views, she has been lying to herself.  The same form of lying or omitting the truth can be found in Kate Chopin's fictional story, "The Story of an Hour."  Mrs. Mallard had been lying to herself for years.  She was married to her husband for years thinking "she had loved him--sometimes.  Often she had not" (Chopin 297).  If she would have been truthful to herself, and fessed up when she realized she did not love him, the rest of her life would not have been lived as a lie.  The truth could have set her free from her unwanted marriage and she could have done what she really wanted to do in her life.  Mrs. Mallard's feelings can be compared to Nora's feelings in A Doll's House.  Both ladies lived their lives lying to themselves and doing things to please other people.

 

Nora is also involved in so-called lies that affect Torvald.  She plays "'...larks and squirrels' for the benefit of her insufferable husband" (Hurt 436).  She pretends as though she enjoys being called these degrading names by her husband, all to please him.  By not taking the issue upon herself to tell him the names make her feel like a "doll," she may be considered a liar.  Torvald, in a sense, lies or omits the truth from Nora in the same way.  He does not know if Nora likes these names.  He could be referring to her by these words because he believes she likes the attention.  They may believe they are making each other happy, like Shakespeare says in "Sonnet 138," "O, love's best habit is in seeming trust,.../Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,/And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be" (Shakespeare 343).  If someone sees the name calling as a harmful game, then Nora and Torvald would both be omitting the truth.  Both of them would be lying through the eye's of someone who viewed the name-calling as a sense of happiness for one another. By referring to Nora as...

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