Nora Morally Ambiguous Character Analysis

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In the play A Doll’s House, Nora initially appears as a happy and contented character who is satisfied with her role as a housewife. However, as the play progresses, it becomes clear that she is not just a silly girl as her husband and society perceive her to be. Nora takes out a loan to save her husband’s life, revealing her intelligence and abilities beyond wifehood. She also shows determination and courage by secretly working odd jobs to pay off the debt. Nora’s character becomes morally ambiguous as she breaks away from the expectations set by her husband and society. The blackmail by Krogstad and Torvald’s selfish reaction lead to Nora’s awakening and realization that she has been pretending to be someone she is not. She ultimately leaves her husband and children to find independence. Nora is a complex character who defies societal standards and expectations, making the play interesting.

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In the beginning of a Doll House Nora is perceived as a happy, full-hearted character. She responds to her husband teasing lightly and is excited about his new adventures. Nora doesn’t seem to mind her doll-like existence, in which she is coddled, pampered and patronized. But as the play progresses you begin to see her true colors. She demonstrates that she’s not just a “silly girl,” as Torvalds call her that she understands the details of business.

When she takes out a loan to preserve Torvalds health. Indicates that she is intelligent and possesses abilities beyond wifehood. Nora’s character becomes questionable when she starts breaking away from all the standards and expectations her husband and society had set up for her, this making her a morally ambiguous character. Early in the Helmers’ marriage, Torvalds got sick from overwork. Doctors prescribed a trip south to warmer climates as the only way to save him.

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At the time, the Helmers didn’t have the money for such a trip. To save Torvalds’s pride, Nora borrowed money without his knowledge and funded a year in Italy. In order to pay off the debt, she’s been skimming from the allowance Torvalds gives her and secretly working odd jobs. Nora is especially happy about Torvalds’s new job, because now money won’t be a concern. By taking out a loan by herself shows that she knows how the business world functions and that she’s not just a “silly girl. Her description of her years of secret labor undertaken to pay off her debt shows her fierce determination and ambition. Furthermore the fact that she is willing to break the law in order to ensure Torvalds health shows her courage and love for him. That she would do anything for her family. Krogstad?s blackmail and the disturbance that follows do not change Nora’s nature instead they open her eyes to her unfulfilled and underappreciated potential.

She begins to inform Torvalds that she basically has been performing tricks for him during an argument. Nora comes to realize that in addition to her literal dancing and singing tricks, she has been putting on a show throughout her marriage. She has pretended to be someone she is not in order to fulfill the role that Torvalds, her father, and society at large have expected of her. Torvalds’s severe and selfish reaction after learning of Nora’s deception and forgery is the final catalyst for Nora’s awakening.

But even in the first act, Nora shows that she is not totally unaware that her life is at odds with her true personality. She defies Torvalds in small yet meaningful ways—by eating macaroons and then lying to him about it, for instance. She also swears, apparently just for the pleasure she derives from minor rebellion against societal standards. As the drama unfolds, and as Nora’s awareness of the truth about her life grows, her need for rebellion escalates, culminating in her walking out on her husband and children to find independence.

As you can see Nora play many characters throughout the play which makes it difficult for the reader to realize her true intentions. Nora was not only a housewife and loving a mother. She also showed us that she is an independent woman, when she took out a loan without her husband knowledge. Nora is also determined and motivated to protect her family. All of this shows that she is morally ambiguous character, you never know what to expect with Nora’s character, which also makes this play interesting.

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Nora Morally Ambiguous Character Analysis. (2016, Nov 07). Retrieved from

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