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A Doll’s Hous and Nora

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Essay title: A Doll’s Hous and Nora

One critic put it best when she wrote, “Nora must walk the tightrope between what is right for her children and husband… and what is appropriate for her.” (Hunter) Through out the whole play, Nora always acts “appropriately,” but, not until the end does she act in a way that is best for her. The controversy that surrounded “A Doll House” made the play appear to be a radical comment on society that dealt with themes never before presented on the stage, until Ibsen came along. Although at first glance of the play, this theory seems to be up-held, upon closer consideration, it is quite obvious that Ibsen’s intentions were not to rock the social order of the day. Not only is Nora the perfect archetype of the housewife of the era, but Ibsen admits his motives for writing the play were not to answer “the women’s question,” and that the ending is not a comment on women’s independence.

Nora’s character is not only a seemingly normal housewife, who appropriately does not care for her own children, but she also perfectly portrays every aspect of what a woman of her stature should. Nora’s appearance is a key in unveiling Ibsen’s intentions for this character. In every rendition of “A Doll House” Nora is thin, put-together, and very classy. There is even a scene in Act 1 in which Nora convinces her husband that she has not eaten any macaroons, hence possibly damaging her girlish figure, and going against what Torvald has suggested for her diet. (Ibsen) If her character had the intention to elevate women, she would not be forced to lie to her husband about consuming sweets. In every outlet of her life, she doesn’t fail to uphold the image that people may have of a woman of her time. She is proper in her language, deliberate in her flirting nature, and very in-tune to what it is others want from her. And although a woman borrowing large sums of money with out her husband’s consent was completely un-heard of at this time, the way Nora handles it is in line with the times. She uses a man’s signature to make sure she gets the money.

One article refers to the virgin-like, image of perfection Nora portrays: “Like angels, Nora has no sex. Nora is like everyman.” (Templeton) There are no extraordinary traits to her at all. Even in time of crisis, she does not ask for help, as that may make her appear less-than put-together. Although, deep down Nora is longing for a different life, her faзade leads everyone in her life to believe she is perfectly happy. Not until the final scene does Nora, in any way, even attempt to challenge the society or its rules.

Ibsen was very deliberate in his making of Nora’s character. He created her to be a vision of a doll. Anyone who is looking down on her life is envious of the seemingly care-free existence she is living; and like a doll, she is simply a puppet, doing what others want of her through out almost the entire play. Ibsen added no dynamics to her personality that would contest the ideals for women of the day. Ibsen most likely created Nora like he did for dynamic irony at the end, so that when the apparently perfect wife leaves her husband it is even more shocking. Ibsen may have also written Nora as such because he did not know any other way a woman could be portrayed. He simply did what every other playwright of the times did, nothing dramatic (until the very end). Many critics have reviewed “A Doll House” and other works by Ibsen, and they have proven that he never meant to write a play about women’s rights. (Templeton) Ibsen himself said, regarding, “A Doll House”, “True enough, it is desirable to solve the women problem, along with many others, but that has not been the whole purpose.” (Dukore) People that claimed Ibsen’s purpose was to help elevate women have read way to much into the play and what Ibsen is doing.

If the point of the play is not to raise social issues, then the real question is then why did Ibsen include the radical note of finality that he did. Most likely, as Bernard Dukore suggested, playgoers of the day were not used to any kind

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