A Doll House contains many examples of irony, in many different forms. The main characters, Nora and Torvald, are mostly involved in this. Many of the examples of irony in this play, but not all, are types of dramatic irony. Dramatic irony usually refers to a situation in a play in which a character's knowledge is limited, and he or she comes upon something of greater significance than he or she knows. During the play, the majority of the dramatic irony displayed is between Nora and Torvald, with Torvald being the character whose knowledge is limited.
In the beginning of the play, when Mr. Krogstad is threatening to tell Torvald of Nora's secret, Nora pleads with him and asks him not to. She says to him that "It would be a rotten shame. That secret is all my pride and joy - why should he have to hear about it in this nasty, horrid way
hear about it from you" (). This is an example of irony because her "pride and joy" is something that her husband would completely disapprove of.
Torvald advises Nora to have "No debts!" and to "Never borrow!" because "There's something inhibited, something unpleasant, about a home built on credit and borrowed money" (). Despite Torvald's teachings, she has borrowed money, and it is her pride and joy. She gets satisfaction out of the fact that she was able to borrow money, since women are not allowed to, and that she has been capable enough to save and work for enough money to be able to make the payments on her loan. What makes it even more blissful for her is that she knows this helped save her husband's life.
The most joyful thing in Nora's life is something her husband disapproves of. What makes this even more ironic is a statement Torvald makes to Nora after discovering her secret. He says to her "Oh, what a terrible awakening this is. All these eight years...this woman who was my pride and joy...a hypocrite, a liar, worse...
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