A Doll's House: a Marriage Revealed

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Ashley Farrell
Course Section 026
A Marriage Revealed

In the play A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibson, Torvald and Nora have an unacceptable marriage that only leads to problems. The marriage, and the household, is overrun by male dominance that prevents Nora and Torvald from complete love and marital respect. Relating to the play’s name, Torvald treats Nora, and even his children, as his dolls, expecting them to be as he wants. As the play progresses, we see the truth of the.

The play was set in the late 1800’s, so in this time it was customary for the man to be the provider and the woman do what she is told. However, Torvald took it to the next step in believing that Nora and his kids were there for him to dictate in every way. Nora doesn’t help the situation as she has become fully dependent on Torvald, just as she was with her father. Torvald seems to take this to his advantage and uses her for whatever he wants or needs, right down to whom she is supposed to speak, and what she has to tell Torvald. After Krogstad confronts Nora about putting in a good word for him, Torvald comes in and begins to question Nora about it, at a point in which they exchange these words:

HELMER: Nora, Nora, and you could fall for that? Talk with that sort of person and promise him anything? And then in bargain, tell me an untruth? NORA: An untruth--?
HELMER: Didn’t you say that no one had been here? (wagging his finger) My little songbird must never do that again. A songbird needs a clean beak to warble with. No false notes. That’s the way it should be, isn’t it? Yes, I’m sure of it. And so, enough of that.

As it can be seen, Torvald puts the hold on Nora that she can only have certain relations, and if he asks of something she must tell him everything. This kind of hold can make any serious matter somewhat tense, or even awkward, which is why their marriage lacks anything beyond light and playful.

Torvald refers to Nora with nicknames such as “squirrel” and...
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