Honors English 10
A Doll’s House
In Henrik Ibsen’s, A Doll’s House, he investigates typical roles of women in the nineteenth century. Torvald Helmer is married to Nora Helmer and from the outside view of society they are the perfect example of a nineteenth century marriage. Nora is submissive to her husband and obeys all of his commands it seems. Through perseverance and aid from Mrs. Linde, Nora gathers enough confidence to leave her family and husband. In A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen pointedly captures the unfavorable role of women in Victorian society through his symbol of a doll, played out in Nora.
Nora gets a loan from Krogstad in order to save her husband’s life. Even though Nora cannot afford the loan she sacrifices for her husband because of his deathly sickness. In order to pay off her loan she does various jobs in secret without Helmer’s knowing. This is when she starts to gain confidence and independence from the traditional role of a women in this time period. Around this same time her old friend Mrs. Linde arrives at her house looking for work after the death of her husband. Nora believes she has lived the superior life and does not see that now Mrs. Linde is free from a husband she didn’t love. Mrs. Linde had formally loved Krogstad and had to leave him because he would not have been able to support her family. Her previous marriage had been a lot like that of Helmer and Nora. Krogstad puts an ultimatum on Nora’s loan and finds her out for forgery. In order to protect his job in the bank Krogstad blackmails Nora with a letter to Torvald, manager of the bank, telling the truth of her actions. Krogstad sends the letter to Torvald, but to delay him Nora pleads him to help her with her dancing and goes to a party. During this time Mrs. Linde convinces Krogstad to send a letter saying that Nora’s debt would be forgiven along with her crime of forgery. Helmer is furious with Nora and does not try to help her but instead criticizes her. Although after receiving the second letter he says they are saved and rejoices, Nora finally realizes that he does not love her and she leaves him and her kids and returns back to her family.
Divorce in this period of history was very looked down on. At the time of this play people left outraged because of Nora’s defiant actions. Society is the puppeteer and many families in this time in history are puppets. Society had brain washed people to believing what made a good marriage was money and physical relations. This along with lack of education caused many couples to not discuss their problems and led to shallow relationships. So Nora’s actions obviously go against the social norm society has placed.