"What Does The Play "A Doll's House" By Henrik Ibsen Suggest About Self Fulfillment?"

1821 words - 7 pages

In the play 'A Doll's House' by Henrik Ibsen, the protagonist Nora Helmer eventually comes to the understanding that to become fully emancipated from her shallow life, she must leave her family and pursue her journey alone. Before this happens, she encounters numerous catalysts to this freedom. The relationship with her husband, Torvald Helmer, contributes to her growth and understanding of herself. Mrs. Linde is a representative of the restrictions society places on women, which in turn helps Nora break free of her past boundaries. Nora has a vision of what she wishes to become, these goals and realizations help her to disentangle herself of what she used to be.

Nora's husband Torvald is a constraint on Nora as a wife, mother and woman. The character of Torvald was absolutely momentous in the growth and maturation of Nora; in the beginning of the play, we see Torvald as the adoring, superior to Nora, the one that holds her back from discovering herself or living the life she wants to live, ironically by the end of the play we realize that without Torvald, Nora could not of advance to what she is to become. Torvald always called Nora by pet names and acted in a way to create a woman that was dependant on him, he was the typical man that wished to make his woman an object in his life. He fed her mind with notions about how a woman should act.

"HELMER: Nora! Nora! Just like a woman...

NORA: Very well, Torvald, if you say so." (Page 149)

This is a perfect example of how Nora constantly performed around Torvald, and with men in general. She backed down from what she was saying, the views she was about to share, she suppressed and kept inside. She always played the doll of her husbands castle, was constantly putting on a show of happy faces and love, when in reality she felt constricted around men. Nora's individual growth as a woman in a traditional society starts with a lie. She borrows money, with her father's forged signature to save her husbands life.

"MRS LINDE: Because a wife can't borrow without her husband's consent.

NORA [with a toss of her head]: Ah, yes she can - when it's a wife with a little flair for business a wife who knows how to set about it...

MRS LINDE: But, Nora, I don't see how -

NORA: There's no reason why you should. Besides, I never said anything about borrowing the money. There are all sorts of ways I might have got it. [Lying back on the sofa] I might have got it from some admirer or other - after all, I'm quite attractive..." (Page 160)

This is a paradigm of Nora starting to step outside of her "comfort zone" and starting on her journey to becoming independent from her husband. We see throughout the play that Nora does have detached thoughts from Torvald; she often insinuates that she is disobedient and is an...

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