Marriage Without Love in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House
In his play, 'A Doll?s House,' Henrik Ibsen shows a marriage built only on appearances, and not love. Both Nora the wife, and Torvald the husband, pretend they are in love throughout the story. However, love should be patient and kind, and their love is anything but that. Nora treats her husband as a father figure. Her feelings towards Torvald are more about dependence than love. Torvald treats Nora like a child or a pet. He gets very angry and frustrated with Nora, and he does not truly love her. True love is perfect, not angry, controlling, and dependent as Nora and Torvald are to each other.
Throughout the story, Torvald is constantly angry with Nora. He also tries to control everything she does. At the beginning of the story, Torvald accuses Nora of eating sweets. He says to her, ' Surely my sweet tooth hasn't been running riot in town today has she?'(Ibsen 874). He continues to pester her after she denies it several times. Later on Nora tells Kristine, ??. Torvald had forbidden them. You see, he?s worried they?ll ruin my teeth?(Ibsen 883). If Torvald really loved Nora, he would not care about petty things like that. If he truly loved her, he would not care if her teeth were ruined. He likes Nora for her looks and beauty, not her personality or character. Not only is he controlling of Nora, but also very angry towards her. When he finds out about her taking out a loan to save his life, he explodes on her. Torvald says to her, ? Oh what an awful awakening! In all these eight years- she who was my pride and joy ? a hypocrite, a liar ? Worse, worse ? a criminal?(Ibsen 916). Torvald does not truly love Nora if he can speak to her that way. Even after he says those things to Nora, Torvald continues to berate her. He says, ? You?ve wrecked all my happiness ? ruined my whole future.?(Ibsen 916). Torvald has no compassion for her. He does not care that she took out the loan to save his life. Torvald just wants to order Nora around. His love is not true, but it is an angry petty obsession.
Several critics also saw Torvald as controlling and obsessive. Each critic noticed the change in Torvald?s personality when something was not perfect in his home. Clement Scott said, ?Helmer is very angry indeed. He forgets all his affection and endearment; he can only think of his personality injury? (222). Scott also said, ?Helmer?s attitude towards his child-wife is natural but unreasonable? (222). Besides being angry towards Nora, Torvald is also controlling. Forbidding Nora from eating candy reveals Torvald?s controlling side. Edmund Gosse said, ? Her doctor and her husband have told her not to give way to her passion for ?candy? in any of its seductive forms?? (220). He forbids Nora from eating candy because he does not want her teeth to become rotten. This shows how shallow he is. Torvald is so obsessed with Nora being perfect, that he really is not in love with her. ? Helmer only...