This essay sample on A Dolls House Analysis provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen Analysis
In contrast to other static characters such as Mrs. Linde, the dynamic Nora Helmer shut the door to her home and marriage and scandalized a number of 19th century men and women when she fled at the end of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Dolls House”. Even after she portrayed her leaving to be the result of her husband’s demeaning authority, some might deem the act not to be entirely to ‘find herself’ per se, but to avoid poisoning her offspring by her moral sickness, as Helmer brainwashes her with the idea that she is no longer fit to bring up children of an impressionable, pliant age. However, with further analysis of Nora’s character in contrast to others in the book; enhanced by themes and symbols, it becomes clear that it was very much so, an act of empowerment.
Nora walks out of the house she once entered knowing she didn’t know much, but by the time of her epiphany she wanted to change that. She wanted to be abreast with the happenings of the world she and the rest of the female gender were secluded from. All her life, she had been under the thumb of a man telling her what and what not to do, authorizing and analyzing her every move. Nora’s life however, ignored her potential. She realized she did not need to fit a certain mold just because of her gender though Society thought otherwise.
Dolls House Analysis
Henrik Ibsen uses symbolism in the form of the Christmas tree in the beginning of the book to portray Nora to be a decoration in Torvalds life, something most women were in their respective households. They are objects of beautification and ornate desire and is ironic that when Nora’s life is turned upside down, the tree is stripped of its ornate decoration, foreshadowing Nora eventually leaving Torvald, leaving him without his.
However, Nora to some extent did fit the specifications of a woman when she thought love could abolish idea that forgery was still a crime. She also failed to economize as the reader sees at the very beginning when she tells the porter to “keep the change”.
For this reason, Torvald considers her to unfit to mother a child. “I shall not allow you to bring up the children; I dare not trust them to you.”
Nora is indoctrinated with the idea that she is like an infectious disease that her family will contract proving how impressionable she, like any other woman is. Family was considered to be absolutely everything in Ibsen’s and Ibsen uses characterization to enhance this themes as he shows Ms. Linde to be the ideal woman who succumbs to societal norms and Nora to eventually break out of her gender role.
A number of men pigeonholed every woman to be a frivolous spendthrift that knows not the value of money. “That is like a woman! […] You know what I think about that. No debt, no borrowing.” It is ironic that Nora should defy Torvald and complements the theme of gender roles in 19th century society. Torvald associates women with ‘naive, credulous’ money-borrowers.
To put things in perspective, Ibsen took a woman; a fragile, tender female who was apparently only beneficial for domestic chores and left her in a tight situation to fend for herself and her actions. He made people question the current social norm and created an exceptional scenario where a woman like Nora could excel. Nora’s power struggle is evident, having been under the force field of a man more than once. “Surely you can understand that being with Torvald is a little like being with papa.”. This analogy suggests that as a woman, she’s always had someone to answer to. Like every woman in Nora’s time, the social norm was that they had to be taken care of and put under the surveillance of a man. The same idea is employed when Nora has no access to a lot of household objects such as the letterbox. Had Nora have been a man, she would have been granted the countenance to open up anything anywhere, be it a letterbox or the oven. However, considering her fragility and feminity, she is deemed unsuitable for the great task of checking the mail, something that requires the immense skill only her husband acquires.
It took Nora a compromising situation to lead her to the solution that eventually gave her empowerment.
Consider the title “A Dolls House”, Ibsen’s clever use of symbolism portrayed Nora to be the porcelain doll that needed to break out of society’s mold as well as her cage or as we know it, Helmer’s household. A porcelain doll is an object of perfection, it has no physical flaws and is purely controlled and made to function as per the needs of its owner. Similarly, a cage is a restricting object that is opened and closed when and if the owner wants it to be.
Helmer is also familiar with social norms that dictate how to be a man. He often belittles his wife to little forest animals and songbirds; sugarcoated aliases. “Is it my little squirrel bustling about?” he frequently says, using diction that would state he is superior to “little” Nora. In the end, he considers her to be the loose brained, uneducated woman society thinks she is and justifies to readers why most men, inclusive of him agree that a woman needs to handle supper as opposed to bonds and shares. Mrs. Linde righteously states “Someone to work for and live for — a home to bring comfort into.”
However brutal it may seem to women in today’s world, In Ibsen’s time, it was protocol for a man to put himself first. “No man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves.” Women knew it was a way of life. Nora, Ms. Linde and every other childbearing female was expected to surpass their personal desires for the more holistic ones, such as their families.
Matrimony trumped a degree, the only thing pertinent to a successful woman was the status of her husband’s social value and the only category that needed to be satisfied for a man to be happy was societies opinion of his wife.
Helmer considered it disgraceful that his wife should even merely think of leaving their home. He is a man of morale and principle and in the beginning of the book, Ibsen uses foreshadowing to unravel the way Helmer would react to Nora’s scandalous wrongdoing when he tells her how he detests borrowing and debt. Being the typical 19th century man he is, this idea is reinforced when he accuses Nora of not understanding the world she lives in.
Torvald, a symbol of society, could not comprehend Nora’s plight for experience and highlighting another pertinent theme of family values. There is a sense of hypocrisy as Torvald turns his back on his wife but she must always remain loyal to him and their children. “Do I have to tell you that? Isn’t you most sacred duty to your husband and children?”. The correlation between the variable ‘woman’ and ‘independent’ was non-existent, self-actualization was merely a concept because it didn’t need to be a reality. “I have other duties just as sacred. […] Duties to myself.” After being accused of not knowing her primary duty, motherhood, the thought that Nora believed to have other aspirations other than putting together a flavorsome supper and making sure her floors are clean was completely scandalous.
This would hold no truth in today’s Norway as more women refute the idea of being like Ms. Linde and decide to be more like women such as Nora. There needs to be a sense of fulfillment and it’s what Nora strived for; a respectful social standing and a mental outlook that could compare to that of a man. Nora fought her own internal uprising to assure herself of the rights that should be God given. Another symbol used to portray this is the Tarantella that Nora viciously performs is a representation of her own fight for freedom. “Nora, darling, you’re dancing as if your life depended on it!”. It is ironic that Torvald encourages her to perform this sensual and liberating dance and later realizes that much like the fierceness she performed with, she obtained the fierce courage to leave.
In conclusion, women in the time of Henrik Ibsen were caged; they were confined to the four walls of their well kept home, with no money in hand. Made to believe they weren’t fit to get an education, made to believe there was no need for one as long as they had a man in their lives. She made slow and steady progress on her road to empowerment and this comes from the fact that she was aware of her potential. After realizing her husband is nothing more than a hypocrite and realizing that by herself has been able to pay back almost all of what she owes, she embarks on the journey to fulfillment and empowerment.
In contrast to Ms. Linde and to the shock and horror of her “morally aware” husband Torvald, paid no attention to society, paid no attention his ideologies and instead, followed the road less travelled, eventually leaving a trail for more women to follow.