A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is a a play about love, money and equality. These key themes seem to be reoccurring in much of classic literature that we are reading in grade eleven. As seen in other texts like The Merchant of Venice, there is many connections between love and money, and which is the “right” thing to choose.
When reading the play, I was surprised by many things, namely the dialogue and the ending. For these reasons, I found the play entertaining and quite interesting. The dialogue was the first thing that caught my attention. It isn’t written in a way where it seems that realistic, however it does a great job of expressing one of the key points of the play, that marriage is a two way affair and that equality is not always present. A great example of this is how Torvald talks to Nora like a child throughout the play. For example, on page 112 Torvald says:
“Can’t be denied, my dear little Nora. My spending-bird is sweet; but it uses up an awful lot of money.”
This quote shows how Torvald refers to Nora as childish or not very authoritative names. In this example, Torvald refers to Nora as “my dear little Nora” and “My spending-bird”, both of which make Nora seem inferior to Torvald. The peculiarity of this name calling is a very subtle way of foreshadowing the ending, because in the end, Nora ultimately leaves Torvald because of how she is treated by him and how their relationship seems artificial (they don’t really love each other).
The ending was surprising to me, and also quite powerful (and imaginably shocking to those watching the play when it first showed) because of the final dialogue between Torvald and Nora, and how Nora just left at the end of the play. When Nora kept mentioning “a wonderful thing” was going to happen, I was confused at first (mainly because the ending was spoiled for me, and I knew Nora was going to leave Torvald). When the “wonderful thing” was finally revealed–that Torvald would forgive Nora and see that she borrowed money out of love–, it made a lot of sense to me. I completely agree with Nora that the bond she took out was to save her husband’s life, and he should have thanked her rather than scolded her. Although, this makes me think, if most people in this time were raised like Torvald, how should he know any better? If Torvald was raised to believe that women cannot act without their husband’s permission, in his eyes, he was doing absolutely nothing wrong. This is also true for many modern day problems such as racism and still, sexism. People are raised to believe certain things and do not understand not all of it is right.
This message of the play is very powerful, and Nora leaving Torvald creates a strong impact on the reader, especially because on the surface they seem to have a loving, intimate, happy relationship. The shock of Nora leaving really makes the reader think about equality, and how things are not always as they seem on the surface. I enjoyed this play overall, and found it entertaining, and easy to read and understand, especially compared to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.