A Doll House, NORA comparison

Topics: Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House, Woman Pages: 5 (1780 words) Published: June 10, 2005
It is fascinating how a writer's personal beliefs, upbringing, and era can dramatically change a characters persona. One such character is Nora Helmer from a play called "A Doll's House". "A Doll's house" was originally written in 1879 by Henrik Ibsen. Henrik Ibsen was born in 1828 in Skien, Norway. Ibsen portrays Nora as a person with very low self esteem, untrustworthy, and self absorbed. During Ibsen's era women where subservient and listen to what they are told by the dominant man in their life. Ibsen's own views about women come through in this character. Even though Ibsen attempts to address women's rights, he fails women by portraying Nora as a selfish woman who ran out on her family to fulfill her own needs.

The play "A Doll's House" was written ahead of its time, addressing issue related to women's rights. Although Ibsen does attempt to tackle women's rights as a matter of importance, he fails to do so. By portraying Nora as an unintelligent, selfish person, Ibsen directly contradicts his own belief that women have rights. Throughout the 1800 and early 1900 hundreds women rights where completely ignored. "A Doll's House" was written during the movement of Naturalism, which commonly reflected society. Ibsen acknowledges the fact that in the 19th century the role of a woman was to stay at home, raise the children and attend to her husband, again showing his own ideals and nature. Nora Helmer in "A Doll House" is portrayed as a victim, instead of a strong independent woman. Nora is oppressed by a variety of totalitarian social conventions. Ibsen depicts the role of women as subordinate in order to emphasize their role in society for that era. Nora is oppressed by the manipulation from Torvald, and Krogstad.

Nora and Torvald's relationship on the outside does appear to be a happy one, but Nora is treated like a child in this relationship without her realizing it. As the play progresses she begins to realize and see how phony her marriage really is. Torvald sees Nora's only role as being the subservient in the relationship. Taking care of the children and being a loving wife. He refers to Nora as "my little squirrel", "my little lark", or "spendthrift". To him, she is only a possession, a show piece. Torvald refers to Nora by pet-names and speaks down to her as if she was a child. He thinks she is not intelligent, and can not think on her own. Whenever she begins to voice an opinion Torvald quickly drops the pet-names and insults her intelligence as a women through comments like; "worries that you couldn't possibly help me with," and "Nora, Nora, just like a woman". Torvald is a typical husband in his era and social class. He denied Nora the right to think and act the way she wished. He required her to act like an imbecile and insisted upon the rightness of his views in all matters. At no time did Nora make an attempt to correct Torvald behavior and thinking, instead choosing to run away and obey.

Nora is a self serving character in this play. Not only does Nora not stand up for her beliefs, but lies to cover up her misdeeds. Nora afraid of losing her financial security, her guardian, and family lies to save her husbands life in order to benefit herself. When she realizes that the marriage is not for her, she again selfishly packs her things and leaves. She goes through many changes and develops more than any other character. Nora, at the beginning and throughout most of the play is an "inauthentic character." An inauthentic identity is when a person believes their personality is identical to their behavior. However subconsciously they know it is not true. Nora was inauthentic because her situation was all she was ever exposed to. She is a grown woman that was pampered all her life by men. Nora was spoon-fed all of her life by her father and then past off to her husband. She acted as a servant and believed she was a servant and gradually realizing her behavior was not who she was. She believes in Torvald...
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