IndependenceMost of us live a life where we do what we want and when we want without anyone telling us how to live our lives. This wasn’t the case in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, where he illustrates to us how one woman lives a life through her father and husband. Throughout the play we see how a once childish like woman gains her independence and a life of her own. Ibsen shows us a very realistic play that demonstrates how on the outside Nora and Torvald seem to have it all.
While in reality their life together is simply empty until Nora stands up for herself and starts to build her own life. Nora Helmer was a fragile character that relied on her husband for her own identity. This dependence has kept her from having her own personality in so many different ways. Throughout the story Nora portrays the perfect housewife who stays at home to take care of her family and please her husband.
From early childhood Nora has always held the opinions of either her father or Torvald, only hoping to please them. Nora’s upbringing was so easy that she only needed to make a cute noise and someone would come running over to serve her. It’s no wonder that when she got married that Torvald followed the same routine. Ibsen even states that, “she was merely a doll, a plaything, passed from papa’s hands onto Torvald’s” (1610). I believe that these actions made her look extremely infantile, showing that she had no thoughts of her very own. Since Torvald and Nora’s father had mistreated her from the beginning, she is completely secluded from the society and thus possesses no experiences at all. Through their everyday conversation, Nora and Torvald reveal that they have a relationship full of meaningless talk and games. “Is that my little squirrel rummaging around”, Torvald questions Nora. “Yes!” (1569) she answers, running up to Torvald like a puppy. Because of her childish attitude, Torvald must have assumed that Nora was always happy and carefree. What reason would there be for meaningful conversation if she never obliged? Their relationship consisted of nothing truly real. Everything they talked about or enjoyed together was fun, games, and for show. Often times Torvald would even scold Nora like he would a child and wave his finger in disapproval. “Surely my sweet tooth hasn’t been running riot in town today, has she?”(1571) Then, Nora would respond as a young child would face punishment, “You know I could never think of going against you.” Then Torvald responded, “No, I understand that; and you have given me your word” (1571). I believe much of their marriage was ruined by their childish behaviors and antics; never telling each other the truth, living lies, and playing foolish games with each other.
Together they didn’t communicate feelings or love through their relationship. Torvald however, did give Nora money and things she asked for, but he did not give her the respect and devotion she needs. Torvald loved the idea of having a wife, but he did not sincerely love Nora for the right reasons. He loved her for the tricks she could do and her charming good looks. He would often show her off to Mr. Rank or at the balls. Yet throughout all these actions, Nora believed that he loved her for her, until the end when he finds out that she lied to him. “Oh, what an awful awakening! In all these eight yearsshe who was my pride and joy – a hypocrite, a liar – worse, worse, — a criminal! How infinitely disgusting it all is! The shame!”(1610) she then knew that he only viewed her as a problem, and that her marriage was meaningless. This is the first time that Nora actually realizes that their marriage had been fake and had the guts to stand up for herself. “We have been married now eight years. Doesn’t it occur to you that this is the first time we two, you and I, man and wife, have ever talked seriously together? You never loved me. You’ve thought it fun to be in love with me, that’s all” (1612). The ending of Nora and Torvald’s marriage was expected. True love, honesty, and communication are all needed to make a real marriage work, without these ingredients a marriage simply cannot work. Nora and Torvald had to learn this before they could commit themselves to any human being. Nora had to understand that she cannot rely on Torvald for her identity the rest of her life. Torvald also had to understand that Nora was a person and he had to treat her as an equal in order for their marriage to work. Nora states, “That in order for this marriage to work, you and I both would have to transform ourselves to the point that – Oh, Torvlad, I’ve stopped believing in miracles” (1616). Before they could give each other to one another, they first had to understand and know themselves before this could ever happen. Even though their marriage was shattered, both Torvald and Nora had to experience what they did to then grow and become truly independent as themselves. Because they had not done this, Nora knew that she had “been living here with a stranger, and that I’ve conceived three children” (1615). Marriage is when two people become one, and if those two do not have any identity to bring to that marriage, then they do not successfully unite to make one.
Nora was ready to give up and start a new life for herself, where she could live for herself. She was ready to shed her doll’s dresses and leave the doll house so she could establish an identity of her own. At first he only viewed Nora as a fulfillment for his need for a wife, but when she left he finally realized that he really did need her. “Empty! She’s gone. The greatest miracle–? (1616) This was the beginning of Nora’s new start as herself.
Cite this Women Live in Play “A Doll’s House”
Women Live in Play “A Doll’s House”. (2019, Jan 10). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/women-live-in-play-a-dolls-house/