The Dollhouse

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Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House revolves around the complex relationship between Torvald Helmer and his wife Nora. They live a comfortable life and appear to be very happy together until a mistake from Nora's past returns to haunt her. Nora expects Torvald to save her from harm at all costs, and when he fails to do so it changes the dynamics of their relationship forever. Nora's character undergoes a complete transformation, and the comfort she once found in her marriage to Torvald no longer satisfies her. The validity of their marriage and the love they supposedly share comes into question as Nora and Torvald deal with this crisis. Nora feels their whole marriage has been a sham, whereas Torvald contends he truly loves her and is desperate to save the marriage. To save his marriage and prove he truly loves Nora, Torvald must decide how he can transform himself to fulfill her new needs and decide if he is willing and able to make that transformation. From Torvald's actions before the crisis it is apparent that he adored Nora and the tricks she would do for him. Torvald seemed to enjoy chiding Nora for doing things which he forbade, such as eating macaroons and being frivolous with money. He always had a means of controlling Nora, usually by making her perform for him to get money. He would call her by pet names and make her act like "his little squirrel," all the while asserting his place as absolute ruler of the household. These actions gave Torvald a sense of security and power, while relegating Nora to a lower status in her own home. Torvald goes even further in the scene where they are in bed together, when Nora tells Torvald to go away and he responds, "What do you mean? Nora, you're teasing me. You will, won't you? Aren't I your husband?" (101) Torvald defends how he treated Nora later on in the play by saying he took care of her out of love, and saying they simply filled their respective roles in the household. Nora sees it differently, pointing out to...
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