A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, is a well written play portraying women's struggle for independence and security in the nineteenth century. The drama revolves around Nora, a traditional housewife, who struggles to find a way to save her husband's life while battling society's norms. Her decision to forge a check to help her husband, Torvald, went against the patriarchical laws of that time: her plan was to borrow money and save her ill husband's life. Krogstad, the antagonist, discovers her deceit and threatens to expose her lies. As a result, the protagonist is torn between telling the truth to her husband or attempting to cover it up to save her marriage. In the following analysis, I'll discuss Torvald and Nora's relationship and Torvald's general view of women. In addition, I will evaluate his attraction to Nora, focusing on his attitude on treating like a doll, or a child. Lastly, I'll discuss how and why Torvald spoils Nora by giving her what she wants.
Torvald and Nora's relationship appears to be more of a
father-daughter relationship rather than a traditional husband-wife relationship. He spoils her, and further, finds reason to rain affection on her: "He goes up to her and takes her playfully by the ear." Torvald views the effeminate, dainty Nora as a child, and refuses to take her seriously. His view was very much like male dominant view of women in that era: women were innocent, naiive, little "skylarks" and "squirrels" who were helpless and vulnerable. Torvald also believes the measure of a women is her man and he reinforces that view when he toys with Nora, "There you are. [Gives her money] Do you think I don't know what a lot is wanted for housekeeping at Christmas-time?" This example illustrates his control over Nora. Despite her asking for money, Torvald playfully lectures her, but ultimately hands her the money and fulfills her desires. His playfulness is another facet of the dominant male symbol, playing games with a women's mind to prove his...
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