Themes of A Doll House
In Henrik Ibsen controversial play A Doll House there are many themes that are intertwined into the story of Nora, Torvald Helmer and Krogstad. Themes that if not looked for in a complex play as this would be over looked. These themes are the sacrificial role of a woman, gender, and the unreliability of appearance.
The first theme in the play is probably the most obvious because this is based completely off what Nora does in the play the theme is the sacrificial role of woman. Though Nora is economically advantaged in comparison to the other female characters in the play, she nevertheless leads a difficult life because of society dictates that Torvald be the marriage’s dominant partner. Torvald condescends to Nora and Nora must hide her loan from him because she knows that Torvald could never accept the idea that his wife or any other woman had helped save his life. During this kind of society it is illegal for a woman to get a loan without the permission of her husband. Nora’s abandonment of her children can also be interpreted as an act of self-sacrifice. Despite Nora’s great love for her children, she feels that if she had stayed and had them find out about her actions would corrupt the children and that is her greatest fear and in that she chooses to leave them.
The next theme in the play is gender; the play focuses on the ways that women are perceived in their various roles especially in marriage and motherhood. Torvald, in particular, has a very clear but narrow definition of woman’s roles. He believes that it is the sacred duty of a woman to be a good wife and mother. Moreover, he tells Nora that women are responsible for the morality of their children. In essence, he sees woman as childlike, helpless creatures detached from reality, on the other hand as influential moral forces responsible for the purity of the world through their influence in the home. Nora's description of Torvald suggests that she is partially aware of...
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