Secession from Society
"A Doll's House" by Henrick Ibsen has a central theme of secession from society. It is
demonstrated by several of it's characters breaking away from the social standards of their time
and acting on their own terms. No one character demonstrates this better than Nora Helmer, the
main character in the play.
During the time in which the play took place, the Victorian Era, society frowned upon
women asserting themselves. Women were supposed to play a role in which they supported their
husbands, took care of their children, and made sure everything was perfect around the house.
Women were supposed to be subordinate and financially dependent of their husbands and never
question their authority. One example of this is earlier in the play when Nora says "Torvald, I
can't do anything without you to help me." Also work, politics and the decisions of the
household were left up to the males.
Nora's first secession from society was when she broke the law and decided to borrow
money and forge a signature to pay for Torvald's sick treatment. In doing this , she not only
broke the law but she stepped away from the role society had placed on her. Of being totally
dependent on her husband. "You have completely wrecked my happiness and my future" That is what Torvald had to say about the whole situation. Nora proved herself not to be
that "poor helpless little creature" that Torvald implied.
Nora's second secession from society was shown by her decision to leave Torvald and her
children. Society demanded that she take a place under her husband. This is shown in the way
Torvald often spoke down to her saying things like : "worries that you couldn't possibly help me
with." , "Nora, Nora, just like a woman." Torvald almost considered Nora as...