“A Doll’s House” written by Henrik Ibsen is a play that raises questions about what a healthy relationship looks like. When analyzing Torvald’s and Nora relationship it resembles the relationship of a father and child because of the pet names, controlling behaviour, and comparison between fathers and husbands. I am disgusted by the relationship between Nora and Torvald but it also raises many questions.
Torvald treats Nora like a child and Nora’s actions subside to Torvald’s view of her. Torvald’s pet names for Nora like “sky lark” and “little squirrel” are very childish. They make Nora out to be so fragile and innocent. They prove that he sees her like a child that is incapable.
“My spending-bird is sweet but it uses up an awful lot of money. It’s incredible how expensive it is for a man to keep a spending-bird” (p.112).
In this particular example Torvald is referring to Nora as something that he owns and is responsible for. In the movie one scene that really stuck out to me was when Nora wants to convince Torvald for a favour she uses the pet names to her advantage.
“Your squirrel would run about and do tricks if you were nice and gave in to her” (p.146)
Nora states while acting like a squirrel. Similar to how a child will guilt their parents into buying them ice cream. The pet names and Nora acting like animals stuck out to me because I was disgusted by it.
The second thing that I did not like about the relationship between Nora and Torvald was Torvald’s controlling behaviour and consequently Nora’s need for Torvald’s approval. The main example of this is that he does not allow Nora to eat macarons because he does not want her to ruin her teeth. When he catches her eating macarons her response is
“it would never occur to me to go against you” (p.113).
Another example is when Nora says
“ I’ll think of something that will charm him, that’ll capture his approval” (p.119).
It revolts me that Torvald treats and sees Nora as a child. What’s worse is that she not only does not stop him from controlling her but gives into his ways by seeking his approval.
Lastly the most convincing piece of evidence that Nora and Torvald’s relationship is like a father and child is that Nora constantly makes comparisons between Torvald and her own father. When Nora comes to the conclusion to leave Torvald she says
“I’ve been greatly wronged Torvald. First by daddy and then by you”(p.182).
This comparison of Nora’s at the end of the play confirms that their marriage was never a true marriage. It was a relationship between a controlling father and an innocent child. I did not enjoy watching or reading this book because their relationship is sickening. However, this play does raise questions such as what does a healthy marriage look like?