The Masquerade In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1014 words - 4 pages


   In A Doll House, Ibsen presents us with Torvald and Nora Helmer, a husband and wife who have lived together for eight years and still don't know each other. This rift in their relationship, caused in part by Torvald's and Nora's societally-induced gender roles and also by the naivete of both parties to the fact that they don't truly love one another, expands to a chasm by the end of the play, ultimately causing Nora to leave Helmer. Throughout most of the play, Ibsen continually has his characters prepare for a masquerade ball that takes place at their friends' house.

We are first introduced to the ball in Act Two. "...[T]here's going to be a costume party tomorrow evening at the Stenborgs'... Torvald wants me to go as a Neapolitan peasant girl and dance the tarantella that I learned in Capri,"(Ibsen 74) Nora says in a conversation with her friend Mrs. Linde. Ibsen has embedded quite a bit in these few lines. First of all, the whole "costume" theme is a metaphor for the "costumes" and "masks" that both Nora and Torvald wear in their everyday lives, making it ironic that Nora would need to dress up at all; she is already in costume. Aside from the problems in their marriage, Ibsen has also slyly revealed to us the infrastructure of the Helmer marriage; Nora does as Tovarld says. Nora is going as what Torvald wants and doing what Torvald wants her to do. This point is further reinforced in the next two lines. In response to Mrs. Linde's question, "...[A]re you giving a whole performance?" Nora replies, "Torvald says yes, I should."(Ibsen 74) Again, Nora's opinion never enters the picture. Her life revolves around Torvald's demands.

 

In the same passage, Ibsen also plants a bit of irony. Seeing Nora's tattered and worn dress, Mrs. Linde remarks, "Oh we'll fix that up in no time. It's nothing more than the trimmings-they're a bit loose here and there. Needle and thread? Good, now we have what we need."(Ibsen 74) Nothing could be further from the truth. Nora's dress is a metaphor for the facade which Nora imposes upon herself every day, which is literally falling apart at the seams. Something as simple as a needle and thread cannot hold together that which is ready to burst apart. Ibsen reveals Torvald's attitude towards the matter later, through Nora: "...Torvald can't stand all this snipping and stitch ing."(Ibsen 76) Read metaphorically, one can conclude that Torvald would rather not have to see, or worry about, things which are going wrong with his marriage.

 

In preparation for Nora's dance at the party, we again see Ibsen showing us Torvald's and Nora's roles. "I can't get anywhere without your help."(Ibsen 91) "Direct me. Teach me, the way you always have."(Ibsen 91) Nora's lines reflect the "costume" that Torvald expects her to wear (and which she wears obligingly), that of the meek, subservient, childlike wife.

 

After the masquerade ball, the costume is finally described as being Italian and...

Find Another Essay On The Masquerade in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

The Theme of Escape in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1150 words - 5 pages Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, a tragic play set in the late 1800’s, is one women’s realization of her life as merely that of a doll living out her life as an object in a world dominated by the males around her. Ibsen points the reader in the right direction to the deeper meaning of the play in the title. The title “A Doll’s House”, a metaphor, causes the reader or watcher of the play to think what deeper meaning lies ahead. The play takes...

The Theme of Feminism in Henrik Ibsen’s "A Doll’s House"

2867 words - 11 pages This paper will analyze the theme of the dependent women in this play. In order to do this I will discuss the following subject area. These subject areas are: female passivity; her economic and social dependence, and her dependence through her children. In A Doll’s House, Ibsen argues that a dependent woman will be passive and unwilling to speak her mind. She will not try to understand the abstract reality of life, unless it contain to her...

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

963 words - 4 pages What comes to mind when the word morals is said? Whose morals should be followed, individual or group? In A Doll House, Ibsen portrays the protagonist, Nora, to follow the morals of her husband, Torvald. Four key aspects that help Nora decide to change her mind and make a decision to leave Torvald. These include the constant change of nicknames, the questioning of her own independence, the questioning of Torvald's love, and the realization...

The Plot in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1725 words - 7 pages The play A Doll House (1879), by Henrik Ibsen, has a realistic feel that compels the reader to identify with the main characters and the situation that they find themselves facing. The wife, Nora, is in all but one scene, and nearly all the scenes occur in a single room. She is the main character, and it is her unraveling and self-discovery that the reader is spectator to. Act I begins by introducing Nora Helmer. She enters the room...

Themes and Symbols in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1482 words - 6 pages “I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home I was Papa’a doll-child” (Ibsen 1491). Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House tells a story of scandal and deceit set in the Victorian era. Nora Helmer is married to Torvald Helmer and she feels more like his toy than his wife. Nora had to have Torvald to be able to do anything, because of when she lived. Nora borrows money behind her husband’s back (which is illegal at this time) and tries to cover up...

Rights of Women in the Nineteenth Century and in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1095 words - 4 pages Henrik Ibsen, who was born in Norway but made his name internationally, was a painter as well as the one of most famous playwrights during the period of Realism. Ibsen’s plays are well-known by the themes of domestic and political issues and conflict in nineteenth century. Scholars call it “Ibsen’s problems play” (Henrik Ibsen, 650). In addition, in Ibsen’s plays, the general topics that are usually discussed are hypocrisy of the society,...

Societal Views of Women in the Victorian Era in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

898 words - 4 pages Societal Views of Women in the Victorian Era in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, creates a peephole into the lives of a family in the Victorian Era. The play portrays a female viewpoint in a male-dominated society. The values of the society are described using the actions of a woman, Nora, who rebels against the injustices inflicted upon her gender. Women’s equality with men was not recognized by society in the...

Significance of food items in August Strindberg’s Miss Julie and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1559 words - 6 pages Title: Significance of food items in August Strindberg's Miss Julie and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House.The relative importance of the theme of food varies in the different spheres of literature. In nineteenth and twentieth century literature the culinary habits of the characters generally emphasised on their social standing and racial identities,...

Reasons for Nora Helmer to Stay in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1061 words - 4 pages In "A Doll House" Ibsen made a very controversial act, by having Nora leave her husband and her family. After first reading the play I thought that what Nora did was the right thing to do. But after thinking about I now realize that wasn't the right thing to do. Yes, Torvald was not the best husband in the world, but Nora should have considered that before she married him. To turn your back on your spouse is one thing, but to turn your back...

A Feminist Literary Stance, Roles of Women in Henrik Ibsen’s Play A Doll’s House and George Eliot’s Novel Middlemarch

1599 words - 6 pages A feminist literary stance, roles of women in Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House & George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and George Eliot’s Middlemarch are based on events from their personal experiences. The events that lead Ibsen to feel the need to write A Doll’s House makes his approach on the feminist stance a bit more unusual from other writers. Ibsen shows his realist style through modern views and tones...

Henrik Ibsen's A Doll’s House

1388 words - 6 pages A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is a realistic drama that explores how the imbalanced treatment of women can dictate who they become. Nora Helmer embodies the need for evolution in regards to women and their roles within the family. The importance of this play, which was written in 1879, is still relevant in the modern world. This play helps to bring attention to the characters people play as a result of their circumstances. The...

Similar Essays

Facades In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

1309 words - 5 pages When a young girl plays with her doll house, she imagines a make-believe world full of enchantment. However, little does she realize the false and unattainable image of perfection that lies before her. With every miniature doorway and elaborate bookcase, the doll house disguises reality with a mask of flawless excellence. Similarly, Henrik Ibsen describes many appearances in A Doll House as mere façades of deception. These images...

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

1354 words - 5 pages Everlasting First Impression: Misleading First Impressions of Characters in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House A character’s introduction reveals the personality, attitude, and physical features of that individual. This first impression sets the emotional reaction to that character when ever he or she appears in the story. The certain mannerisms the author makes a character use, and the way others treat and react to the new character, demonstrate...

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay

1527 words - 6 pages Societal appearance and acceptance is an utmost characteristic an average individual tends to underestimate. It may seem as if individual morals go against the social appearance, but in value, individuals perceive a need for an appearance to convey a sense of belonging. Within two diverse yet similarly realist drama's, A Doll’s House and Death of a Salesman societal appearance’s stands above all else. Henrick Ibsen's A Doll's House embarks on the...

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Essay 1055 Words

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...