Out of everything we have read in class this year, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is not my favourite. This is not to say it was a bad play, it wasn’t. If anything, I found it great but very unsettling. From the very first sentence on the first page to Nora slamming the door on Torvald in the last, I couldn’t shake the odd feeling of the play. Both Torvald and Nora’s characters annoyed the everliving daylights out of me at the beginning of the play. Oh my gosh. I had never been so annoyed by two characters so much in my life. When we first started reading, I genuinely wanted nothing more than for them to stop talking. Every time Torvald started his sentence it felt like nails on a chalkboard. Plus, the casual objectification of his own wife definitely threw me off a bit. But I think it was more the way he spoke to her in general. He treated her as though she was a child, and was incapable of understanding things on her own. For example, when Nora is talking to Dr. Rank about his job and Torvald says
“I say, my little Nora talking about scientific investigations!”
And again when he says
“Now my little skylark is talking as though it were a person.” (pg.172)
Once again implying that Nora is something to be owned and possessed and that she is incapable of understanding complicated topics, such as a “scientific investigation”. Speaking of, Nora’s character was not much better than Torvald’s at first. When we read the first scene in the play she just irked me so much. I didn’t like the way she spoke or the way she acted so immature. Like she would do anything for just the smallest amounts of money. I believe that part of why Torvald treats her as a child is because she enables it. She always searches for his approval, and never stands up for herself throughout their marriage (at least not until the very end). This makes Torvald look as more of a father figure towards Nora, rather than a husband. The dynamic between them was more similar to that of a father and child.
The one thing I did truly enjoy in this play was Act 3. When Nora finally wakes up from the almost trance-like state she has been in for the past 8 years of her life, and she finally leaves Torvald. Trust me when I say I had been waiting for this moment since Act 1. The complete 180 flip of Nora’s character was something I didn’t really expect, but enjoyed a lot. I think it was the perfect ending to the play as it sort of leaves us with the question “What happens after Nora slams the door?” There have been many adaptations that all give a different answer, but I like the idea of the ending being left up to one’s imagination. While it was not my favourite thing we have read thus far. Overall I would say I pretty thoroughly enjoyed this play, it left me with some very mixed emotions and it was definitely something new for me.