A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen brought up different social issues, for example, the traditional roles of women and men and the expected responsibility in marriage through characters Nora and Torvald. I am intrigued by this story because I can gain a perspective from Nora, who was in a toxic relationship. Her husband controlled her life like a doll, and finally brave enough to stand up for herself and step out of the family and break free. Even though I pity Nora that she had to suffer from being controlled for eight years, I am proud of her growth and standing up for herself. But at the same time, I feel empathy towards Torvald and think it is unnecessary and selfish of Nora leaving the family. In this response, I will justice my reasons.
First of all, from Nora and Torvald’s marriage, we can see the importance of communication. Nora has never attempted to voice her own opinion through the eight years of marriage. Act one even indicates that Nora falls into society’s ideal expectation of men and women in a marriage, “And besides, just think how awkward and humiliating it would be for Torvald – to know he owed me something. It would upset the entire balance of our relationship; our beautiful, happy home would no longer be what it is.” (P.117). From that line, it suggests that her ideal home is Torvald being the dominant one in the family and that she does not want to change that at that moment, and that it was later on, she finally realized it was wrong, and she should be treated better. Therefore, I do not think it is fair to blame Torvald for controlling Nora because they are both blinded by society’s standards and do not think it was a problem.
Secondly, at the end of act 3, we can see the change of Torvald from being what society wants him to be to him realizing his problems and is willing to change for Nora and go against the typical men and women’s role in marriage.
“I would gladly work night and day for you, Nora- bear pain and hardship for your sake. But nobody would sacrifice their honour for the one they love.” (P.186)
“You talk like a child. You don’t understand the society you live in.” (P.185)
“I have the strength to be a different person.” (P.187)
Torvald is also a victim of falling into society’s norms, he never realized that he had a problem, but he has shown that he now realizes and is willing to change.
Furthermore, I think it is selfish for Nora to abandon her children. I understand that she has had enough of being trapped in the relationship, but if Torvald is willing to change, why wouldn’t she give him a chance and stay for her children. Imagine her children waking up in the morning and realizing their mother has abandoned them. I think that standing up for yourself is essential, but being a role as a mother is just as important as that. People may argue that she is unable to become a good mother because she will pass on her negative traits to her children, but I think she should have stayed and worked on improving herself and her marriage and taking care of her children at the same time.
To conclude, I do not think that Torvald’s fault leads to Nora leaving the family, and I don’t blame and even admire Nora’s courage in going against the social norms. In comparison, I believe that society’s expectation of men’s and women’s roles in marriage caused this and that Nora and Torvald are both victims of it.