Characterization of Nora in a Doll's House, Act 1

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Is it right to say that something actually is what it appears to be? Although there is no answer to this question, most people would say that the image someone shows to the outside world differs greatly from his real personality. Indeed, in the real world people play different “roles”, throughout their lives and behave differently according to the situation they are involved in. In A Doll’s House, a realistic social drama play, the playwright Henrik Ibsen criticizes gender performativity and illusionary relationships, issues which were of major importance in the context of the Norwegian society of the 19th century. For this reason, the theme of appearance and reality is present almost in every part of the play and the impossibility of distinguishing between appearance and reality is obvious not only in the way characters are portrayed, but also in the plot. To begin with, the impossibility of distinguishing between appearance and reality is obvious in the way characters are portrayed. We see this in Nora and her unexpected actions at the end. At the beginning of the play Nora behaves like a typical upper-middle class Norwegian woman of the 19th century. Her role as a mother and a wife who is responsible for beatifying the image that her household projects to the outside world is obvious in Act I. Her naïve, childish and irresponsible character is clearly shown by the way she spends money, says utterly inappropriate things to Ms. Linde and manipulates Torvald through flirting. However, Nora’s “true” character is revealed in the end of the story when she suddenly realizes that all that time she had been in an illusionary relationship. Her decision to leave the house shows what a dynamic and determined person she actually is. This is made even more intense through the fact that the setting of the play is one room in which Nora spends all her time. Although people keep coming in or out, she always stays in there; in her “doll” house. Therefore, by slamming the door...
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