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A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen

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Essay title: A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen

A doll house by Henrik Ibsen is a modern drama whose characters fail to

understand who they really are. The theme of self-discovery can be viewed throughout

the entire play. Nora’s character plays an important role in self-discovery. She is a

dynamic character who proves at the end of the play that she accept and discovers who

the true Nora is.

The play begins with a direct emphasis on Nora and her husband (Torvald)

relationship. One can easily assume that their relationship is based on material things and

status. It appears that money is the one thing which is keeping their marriage what is

considered to be happy. Throughout the first act Torvald immediately begins referring to

his wife with childlike names. In the first opening lines he refers to Nora as “my

squirrel.” Throughout the play, Torvald continues to uses nick names such as “little song

bird”, “skylark”, “odd little one” and many more belittling names. The usage of the above

nicknames shows that Torvald feels superior to Nora. He wants to keep her small and

under him. For this reason, he continues to refer to Nora in this manner throughout the

play. Torvald and Nora’s relationship can be viewed at first as a happy and pleasant one.

At the same time one may view their relationship as that of the ordinary. Torvald does

not see Nora as an equal. He fails to realize that she is a woman and not a child. He

continues to speak to her in a childish manner because he views her for her appearance

and not for who she really is. It is clearly presented that Torvald takes his position as

being superior because he feels that Nora is dependent on him. He believes she is

narrow minded and ignorant because she is a woman.

In the first act it is also indicated that money plays an important role throughout

the play. Nora proves to be an insensitive and self-centered woman when she is visited by

her old friend Mrs. Linde. Her first ignorant questions were whether Mrs. Linde husband

left her any money or children. Mrs. Linde states that she was left penniless and that she

has struggled. Nora being the self-centered person that she is begins bragging of her good

fortune and forgets to acknowledge Mrs. Linde struggles. The above scene provides a

vivid understanding of the type of person Nora is sought out to be at first. The scene

proves that Nora is indeed self-centered, ignorant and immature. Her journey to self-

discovery will not only change her but will allow her to develop as a mature character.

As the play progresses Nora’s character begins to undergo a visible change. She

begins to go from an immature, self-centered person to a woman who is beginning to gain

a sense of maturity. She is no longer viewed as an insensitive person. This change is

demonstrated when Nora reveals her secret to Mrs. Linde. Nora explains that her life has

also had its share of hardships. Nora secretively took out a bank loan. In doing so, she

went against her husband because she knew he was against loans. Although, Nora went

against her husband her act is viewed as a selfless one because it was done in order to

save her husbands life. Nora’s action shows that she is caring and is capable of doing


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