The plays we read this year – Oedipus, Antigone, and the Merchant of Venice are all plays that raise questions about society. Before reading the play, A Doll’s House, I was confused by the name of the play. I had completely no idea what the play is about, however, because of the confusing name of the play, it intrigued me more than the other plays did.
A Doll’s House, a thought-provoking play written by Henrik Ibsen, precisely describes the role of women in society. In the play, Nora, the housewife, always listens to her husband, Torvald. She does everything she could do to make her husband cheerful. She listens and obeys all his commands. This demonstrates the “expected trait” of women at the time of the play. Nora sacrifices herself for Torvald by borrowing money from Krogstad for Torvald for travelling to Italy to cure his sickness. She takes responsibility for everything because she uses to love him. On the contrary, Torvald thinks that everything Nora does is inevitable, and he is not grateful for that. He even prioritizes his reputation before Nora’s life. In Act III, which is the climax of the play, when Torvald finds out Nora lies to him and borrows money from Krogstad, his first reaction is to blame her for doing that and worrying about his reputation instead of asking Nora and try to understand the situation. His attitude changes significantly after Krogstad returns the IOU contract. “…Shame, shame!” (act III), he thinks what Nora does is a shame, despite the reason that action is to save Torvald’s life, to cure his sickness. From this scene, we can see the sacrificial role of women. Women are like a doll, a toy in play, when their owner is happy, it is treated nicely and respectfully; when their owner is in a bad mood, it is treated like a punching bag, who bears all his temper.
One of the themes that derive from A Doll’s House is the influence of being honest with each other in a relationship. The conflicts in the play are all aroused by deception. Yet, the truth is always going to reveal itself. In Nora and Torvald’s relationship, deceit is a dominant part of it. Nora lies to Torvald and when the truth reveals, everything is irreversible. It reminds me to stay honest in every kind of relationship. No matter if it is romantic, family, or friends, being truthful to each other is essential.
Compare to Oedipus, Antigone, and the Merchant of Venice, which are the plays we read this year, A Doll’s House is the most straightforward, and the easiest to understand. The language in the play is informal with a simple and realistic plot. It is one of my favourite literature out of everything we read this year.