For me, “A Doll’s House,” by Henrik Ibsen, raised many questions about what it takes to work a marriage and why development is essential for every individual. The play focuses on patriarchal male figures and the oppression of women in the 1800s. It expresses how women weren’t capable of much other than housekeeping, mentioning their “duty” was to take care of their family before themselves.
My opinions and feelings towards the characters fluctuate throughout the play. At first, I was aware of Nora being a somewhat brave character, someone who took a risk to save her husband’s life, but as the play developed, she was portrayed as this naive and childish character. “Come here. Now I will show you that I too have something to be proud and glad of. It was I who saved Torvald’s life.” (A1. P13). It’s immature of Nora to prove herself to anyone or explain she has been through difficult times by telling them her most confidential secret. I think she might so desperately want to prove herself because she has been looked down upon for a long time. Reading through Nora’s character in the play, I realized that some of the things she says or does are infuriating. “You must be a very poor lawyer, Mr. Krogstad.” (A1. P26). She is not witty, confident in herself, or convincible; I say this because she often sobs or stutters as she presents her argument. My detestation towards Nora grew tremendously in Act 2; she overreacted to the most invaluable circumstances and became more stubborn as the play continued. “…but you could just as well dismiss some other clerk instead of Krogstad.” (A2. P36). It’s surprising that Nora only cares about herself and is ready to sacrifice anyone for the sake of her stability. Coming towards the end of Act 3, it was startling to find myself quite proud of Nora as she made a brave decision to leave Torvald. I completely agree with her because it is important to discover yourself before helping others, she finally stepped up for herself, and I am delighted with her conclusion.
Opposite to Nora’s naive character is Torvald, an arrogant and oppressive male who cares about nothing but his reputation and career. He constantly referred to Nora as a helpless little girl, his dearest treasure (A3. P60), that shouldn’t do anything but look after the family. “Miserable creature — what have you done?”(A3. P65). I think he tremendously overreacted when he became aware of Nora’s deeds; she was right to do what she did as she had good intentions. “a hypocrite, a liar– worse, worse — a criminal!” (A3. P66). Torvald cursed at her repeatedly but just a few minutes later had a change of heart and pretended to be the sweetest husband ever. I think he is helpless without Nora.
Nora and Torvald did not have a successful marriage as neither of them understood each other. People need to realize that women have passions too, everyone has a different way of living life, and some might choose to take other paths instead of being housewives. In the end, “A Doll’s House” is one of my most disliked plays; while reading it, I felt as if I were analyzing and solving a family dispute and playing the role of a therapist.