A Doll’s House
In the book, ‘A Doll’s House’, the author focuses on the main protagonist, Nora, and the predicaments she undergoes to save her family and her husband’s image. She is not happy in her marriage with Torvald but she does not realize it until towards the end of the play. The author has also used Nora and other characters such as Krogstad to bring out Torvald’s egocentric nature and sense of pride. At first, this does not seem to affect Nora as she enjoys the financial security from the husband. However, there is a twist of events towards the end as the lawyer reveals Nora’s secret to the husband whose reaction opens her eyes. She realizes that she does not want to hold on to the marriage any longer, thus, leaves him to discover herself. Nora undergoes a lot in her life with her father and husband, which propels her to make the difficult decision to discover herself first.
The author clearly depicts Nora as a good and responsible citizen. She is committed to helping her husband out of his illness. She goes as far as borrowing money to ensure he does not succumb to the illness. She gets into an argument with the lender Krogstad who blackmails her because she keeps the matter away from the husband (Isben, 2009, pg 41). Similarly, the citizenship of Nora is depicted as she finds work in order to pay Krogstad the money she owes him. She does not give thought to the option of getting the money from her husband; instead, she works to raise the amount.
In the book, Dr. Rank, a friend of Nora’s husband falls in love with her and with a few months to live, cannot have her. She also happens to be married thus, limiting his chances (Isben, 2009). This is ironical since on the other hand, her husband only loves her because of her physical looks and does not give her the respect she deserves. He goes as far as telling her about his illness and his expected death. Isben, (2009) states that, “There is a big black hat-have you never heard of hats that make you invisible” (p. 96). Rank uses the words ‘big black hat’ to refer to his inevitable death.
Nora referred to the revelation of her secret by Krogstad as a ‘wonderful thing.’ This meant the calamity that would befall her if her husband realized she had borrowed money and that she secretly worked to pay it off. Ibsen (2009) states that, “Yes, a wonderful thing! – But it is so terrible, Christine; it mustn’t happen, not for all the world” (p. 75). She described to Christine the magnitude of the dilemma she was in by referring to it as a wonderful thing. She needed her friend to help her stop Krogstad from revealing the information to Torvald, fearing his reaction to the issue. Her intelligence is also signified where she convinces Christine to talk to Krogstad without directly asking her.
The author also shows how Torvald has treated his wife, Nora as a child with no equal right to him. Towards the end, Nora shows her disapproval towards the treatment by her father and the husband as a child. Ibsen, (2009), states that, “I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was papa’s doll-child; and here the children have been my dolls” (Pg 107). The word ‘doll-child’ has been used to illustrate a child. It was used as a pet name by Torvald, though she also played along by acting as one.
In the book, the author successfully uses metaphor and irony to emphasize the main themes. The turn of events at the end as Nora leaves the husband, shows the importance of self-discovery to avoid frustrations by spouses and the community at large. Nora has also been able to show the importance of citizenship by working hard to pay off her debts. She realized that she could also work to earn a living for herself rather than depend on her husband for everything. As depicted by the author, self-dependence helps give confidence to people. Nora was able to leave her husband and spare herself further frustrations because she realized she could manage on her own.
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Kittanning, PA: Arc Manor LLC, 2009. Print