Critical Analysis: a Doll’s House

Topics: Henrik Ibsen, Marriage, A Doll's House Pages: 3 (966 words) Published: August 7, 2012
Critical Analysis: A Doll’s House

In the drama, “A Doll’s House,” playwright Henrik Ibsen seems to peer beyond the veneer and to examine the real motives for some marriages. Ibsen uses his characters’ interactions to showcase his commentary on matrimony. Torvald’s treatment of his wife, the character Mrs. Linde, Nora’s discussion with Dr. Rank, and the final conversation between the Helmers all seem to support the notion that the author is trying to get us to look deeper.

We meet our main characters, Nora and Torvald Helmer right away as they bicker and haggle over money and how to spend it. It is impossible not to notice the cutesy pet-names Torvald uses for Nora nearly every time he addresses her. While they seem a typical, doting, and certainly socially proper couple for the time period something just doesn’t feel quite right. Already, we can sense something missing. While Torvald speaks to her kindly, it is in a most condescending manner – never giving her credit as a valid or intelligent being. He treats her as if she is a young child, even restricting her diet. “Hasn’t Miss Sweet-Tooth been breaking rules in town to-day?” he asks her as he wags his finger (Ibsen 426). She is seemingly eager to play along with this little act, thin as it may seem. He asks her questions indirectly as if she were a pet – something you speak to one-sidedly, with no expectations for intelligent conversation: “Has my little Nora finally acknowledged that?” he asks her when she tells him that she can’t possibly think of a Christmas gift that would be special enough to give him. As a reader, one can see that there is perhaps a lack of the kind of deep love that one might at least idealize in a marital union.

Ibsen soon brings another character, Mrs.Linde, in to the story. We find out that she is widowed and was left nothing by her late husband. A husband who she did not love but felt obliged to marry as she had been seeking means to care for her mother and two younger...
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