A Doll's House: Nora's Quest for Justice

Topics: Love, A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen Pages: 9 (3692 words) Published: March 28, 2002
Nora's Quest for Justice
In Henrik Ibsen's, A Doll's House, Nora struggles to achieve justice and her rightful place as a woman, mother, and wife, despite the hardships and mistreatment of her husband Torvald and her father. Throughout Nora's life, she has faced hardships in order to survive as a normal person because of the mistreatment she received from the two men in life she ever loved; her father and her husband. The mistreatment of Nora's father and husband has caused Nora to become and be an extremely weak individual. Nora is fearful to live the way she wants to because she no longer has an identity of her own. Despite the hardships and mistreatment Nora encounters, she still has extreme hubris. She wants everyone to recognize and believe that she is living a joyous and wealthy life. In search for Nora's rightful place as a wife, mother, and woman, she must also search for her quest for justice. "[… ] When her image of herself and her domestic life is shattered she does what she feels she must to become a true person." (Clurman154) Nora encounters many struggles in achieving justice and finding her rightful place in society. Throughout Nora's life, she has been mistreated and viewed as a doll not as a human. "Nora's father, it transpires, an irresponsible spendthrift, brought her up with no sense of social obligations or serious thought for the morrow, while her husband, finding her a delightful companion like this, did nothing to repair the omission and treated her with a playfulness of a teen not a mother." (Beerbohm147) As a result, Nora realizes that she has been mistreated and treated unfairly. "Nora, however, protests that she has been treated unfairly in being denied the opportunity to participate in her marriage and in society as an informed adult." (Gosse219) Torvald and Nora's father both viewed Nora as if she could not make decisions on her own. "The transformation from her carefree days as a girl to marriage meant no more to her than a change from a small doll's house to a larger one." (Salome226) In the play A Doll's House, Nora is not oblivious to her mistreatment; she soon becomes very much aware of it. Nora states, "I was simply your little songbird, your doll […]" (Ibsen230) Nora has never been taken seriously; not by her father and now not by her husband. They do not take her thoughts or her comments in to any considerations what so ever; she is in a sense a child to them not an adult. "It soon becomes evident that Nora has never been taken seriously, but rather has been treated like a delightful child, first by her father and then her husband." (Gosse219) Nora strictly plays a role of a wife and mother; being submissive to her husband "she could influence home policies and decisions only indirectly by suggestions to her husband." (Hardwick241) "Torvald alternately indulges and admonishes his wife in the manner of an authoritarian parent." (Gosse219) Torvald questions Nora about buying macaroons and tells her not to eat them and that she is going to ruin her teeth with them. "[…] His little sweet tooth, his little squirrel, she with her flaunting of macaroons, her petty ways, answering to an image he has made for her." (Gray1429) Nora's purpose in life is to serve, live, and be happy for her husband and her children's sake. Archer's perception of A Doll's House and his view of women is closely related to Nora. "A woman cannot be herself in the society of to-day, which is exclusively a masculine society, with laws written by men, and with accusers and judges who judge feminine conduct from the masculine standpoint." (Archer1) Torvald and Nora's father have taken away her identity and left her with no power over herself. Therefore, Nora is a very weak mother, wife, and woman. She is very weak and vulnerable because she is scared to live the way she wants to because she has no identity of her own. "Nora does not profess to be an intellectual companion to her husband, even if...
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