Analysis of Doll House Play

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Mrs. Mary Rorke

English 102

1st Nov. 2005

"A Doll House"

A critical Analysis

When Nora slammed the door shut in her doll's house in 1879, her message sent shockwaves around the world that persist to this day. "I must stand quite alone", Nora declared after finding out that her ideal of life was just a imagination of her and that all her life had been build up by others people's, specifically her husband and her dad ideas, opinions and tastes.

Nora is the pampered wife of an aspiring bank manager Torvald Halmer. In a desperate attempt to saves her husband's life Nora once asked for a loan so she and her family could move somewhere where her husband could recover from his sickness. Giving the circumstances she, as a woman of that period, by herself and behind her husband forged her dad signature to receive the loan. Now, Nora's lender (Mr. Krogstad), despite her paying punctually, uses that fault as a fraud to pressure her so she could help him to keep his job in the Bank where her husband is going to be the manager. Nora finds out that Torvald would fire Mr. Krogstad at any cost. At learning this, Nora trembles for she knows Mr. Krogstad will tell everything to Torvald. She remains confident; however that Torvald will stand by her no matter what outcome. His reaction though is not what she expected and therefore here is when she realizes that she "must stand quite alone" and leaves her husband.

From the time A Doll's House was performed for first time (1879) till now, there have been all sorts of interpretation and critics about its message. According to Mr. Mayer's files critics considered that the A Doll's House message was that "a marriage was not sacrosanct, that a man's authority in his home should not go unchallenged". Another similar critics' interpretation is also stated in Mayer's file that profiles the play as a women's right play. Other critics support and agree with what Ibsen stressed as the main theme of the play stated as "...the need of every human being, whether man or woman, to find out who he or she is and to strive to become that person (Mayer, 35).

Though it seems that Ibsen tried to solve women's problem it has not been the all purpose. Hence, the last interpretation seems more suitable since Nora stands for herself to find out who she really is without having her husband to decide and think everything for her, and by doing so let Torvald analyze his life so he can also find what he really is, and what he really wants for life because as far as we can see he as Nora is also lost on the ideals of life. In her dialogue with Torvald:

When I was home with Daddy, he told me all his opinion and so they become my opinions too. If I disagreed with him I kept to myself for he would not have liked that. Then I came to your house – You arranged everything according to your taste, and so I came to share it – or pretended to. When I looked back on it now it seems to me I've been living here like a pauper – just a hand-to-mouth kind of existence. It's your fault that nothing has become of me.(p1136)

She blames Torvald for the useless of her life and therefore not having a meaning of a mature human being with capabilities of thought and own decision, and not about having certain rights that her husband has limited her. There are several scenes where this immature image is portrayed. As Karen Ford (a critic of A Doll's house film, which is the identical representation of the play) notes the scene where Nora is playing with her children and throwing snowballs introduces us the notion "that Nora engages with her children in a manner not consistent with that of a mature and matronly mother"(3). Another scene where this is visible is when she secretly eats one of the macaroons. First of all the way Torvald ask her whether she eat the macaroon or not and afterwards her response with a lie, again shows the patriarchy type of relationship they have.

Nora and Torvald's...
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