A Doll's House
Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House centers around the life of Nora and Torvald, a young married couple from Norway with three small children. In the play, Ibsen takes the readers into the home of Nora and Torvald, allowing them to view the couple's relationship over a three-day period. Nora's introduction occurs in the first scene with a childlike enthusiasm for life and love of her husband and family. Later, when Torvald makes his entrance he appears as the doting yet somewhat condescending husband, who vividly displays a misogynistic attitude towards Nora, therefore, suppressing her ability to function in society. On the exterior, Nora and Torvald's relationship appears perfect; however, the unveiling of Nora's many deceptions and Torvald's overbearing control eventually lead to the destruction of their marriage, the onset of her independence, and the beginning of her transformation from a girl to a woman.
Nora's transformation from "girl to woman" begins through her defiance to Torvald's control. To illustrate, Torvald forbids Nora to eat her favorite treat, the macaroon, bringing his domineering nature to light; however, she does not abide by his rule. Exemplifying his authority and her deception, Torvald asks, "Not even munched a macaroon or two?" and Nora responds, "No, Torvald, I assure you, really"(Ibsen 1329). Though Torvald prohibits Nora's consumption of the macaroon, she defiantly indulges herself supporting her silent declaration of freedom. Torvald's control extends through his need to believe Nora cannot take care of herself as critic Carol Tufts explains, " . . . but most of all [Nora's] innocence' and helplessness'which fed [Torvald's] grandiose sense of self-importance, [provide] him with the constant attention and admiration his narcissism [requires]" (154). Torvald's self-absorption allows the readers to envision his obsession with appearances and need for dominance. In addition, his pet names for Nora exemplify his...
Cited: Baruch, Elaine Hoffman. "Ibsen 's Doll House: A Myth for Our Time." Yale Review: A National Quarterly 69 (1980): 374-87.
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll House. Trans. Rolfe Fjelde. Literature of the Western World Eds. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. 5thed. Vol. 2. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001. 1322-73. 2 vols.
Tufts, Carol Strongin. "Recasting A Doll House: Narcissism as Character Motivation in Ibsen 's Play." Comparative Drama. 20.2 (1986): 140-59.
Wilkie, Brian and James Hurt. Literature of the Western World. 5th ed. Vol. 2 Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 2001.
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