Imagine that you were hiding something, something that you don’t want anyone else to know. In order to keep it hidden, you act like nothing is wrong, and you go on with your normal life. That is exactly what Nora Helmer does in the play, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. For
most of her marriage, Nora has been pretending to be someone she’s not. She conforms to Torvald’s beliefs because she doesn’t want him to stop loving her. At the end of the play, Nora realizes that all she is, is a doll in his house and questions whether Torvald really loves her or not.
In the beginning of the story, Nora seems happy. She responds affectionately to Torvald’s
teasing, speaks with excitement about the extra money his new job will provide, and takes pleasure in the company of her children and friends. She does not seem to mind her dolllike existence, in which she is treated as inferior.
As the play progresses, Nora reveals that she is not just a “silly girl,” as Torvald calls her. The many years of secret labor put into paying off her debt she obtained by illegally taking out a loan to save Torvald’s life, shows that she is understands the business details related to it, and that she is intelligent and independent and much more than a “doll” to play with. Nora defies Torvald in small yet meaningful ways; by eating macaroons and then lying to him about it, for instance. She also swears, apparently just for the pleasure she derives from minor rebellion against societal standards.
Krogstad’s blackmail and the trauma that follows do not change Nora’s nature; they open her eyes