Doll's House Criticism essay

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The title of the play itself seems to be filled with a lot of drama, just like a kid is when playing with dolls. The title may suggest that the owner of the house is a doll or possesses similar characteristics to a doll. When we read the play, we understand that the wife, “Nora”, thinks of her late father, her husband, and her children to be like her dolls. “He called me his doll-child, and he played with me just as I used to play with my dolls. And when I came to live with you…” (Ibsen, 1994) She assumes that she was her dad’s doll and her husband takes her as his doll too. Her children are her dolls that she plays with to make her happy. “And you have always been so kind to me. But our home has been nothing but a playroom. I have been your doll-wife, just as at home I was papa’s doll-child; and here the children have been my dolls. I thought it great fun when you played with me, just as they thought it great fun when I played with them” (Ibsen, 1994). This is a play about a man and his wife – how they have lived with each other for eight years but without total honesty and understanding of each other. “We have been married now eight years. Does it not occur to you that this is the first time we two, you and I, husband and wife, have had a serious conversation?” (Ibsen, 1994)

Several major changes have taken place in Nora’s character based on this play. One of the major changes that are inevitable is the breakup of her marriage. “As I am now, I am no wife for you” (Ibsen, 1994) Towards the end of the play, in act three, the whole truth is out and everything seems to have been going out of hand. The husband, “Helmer” receives a letter from “Krogstad” – a former employee who he had fired some days ago apparently for fraudulent activities. The letter informs him of how “Nora” owes him money together with the forged signature of her late father. This seemed to have been very disturbing on the image of “Helmer”. He wondered how things shall progress should he give “Krogstad” his job back. He even forbids his own wife to raise their children since she would become a bad influence. “But I shall not allow you to bring up the children; I dare not trust them to you” (Ibsen, 1994).

“Nora” is so ashamed that she wants to leave the room when another letter arrives addressed to her. It was from “Krogstad” but “Helmer” being so mad at his wife, decided to read the letter anyway out of anxiety. The letter suggests that “Krogstad” has forgiven “Nora” and that he wants her to cancel the balance she owed him. It makes her husband very happy that his image was now protected and safe. He even forgives his wife entirely and wants everything to change for good. Upon receiving this sudden change from her husband, “Nora” is so mad at him that during all the eight years all he cared about was his image and ego: when he saw everything was crumbling upon him, he decided to isolate himself from the wife but when everything is well, he suddenly wants her back. “Nora” vows to never want any relations with his husband and even returns the wedding ring back. “There must be perfect freedom on both sides. See, here is your ring back. Give me mine” (Ibsen, 1994). “No. I can receive nothing from a stranger” (Ibsen, 1994).

The other change that is observed in “Nora’s” character is the fact that she is changing from being a spendthrift into a more responsible person. She is quoted to have been a waster back when she was in high school. “Nora, Nora, haven’t you learned sense yet? In our schooldays you were a great spendthrift” (Ibsen, 1994). Her husband still thinks of her as a spendthrift but she does not let him know that she has changed and that she is becoming more responsible. “Yes, that is what Torvald says now. (Wags her linger at her.) But “Nora, Nora” is not so silly as youthink” (Ibsen, 1994).

Another change in “Nora’s” character is the change from a peaceful and happy life to that full of insecurities and stress. From the beginning of the play, “Nora’s” life is so sweet with peace. She interacts with her husband, as well as with her children quite well. They joke with each other and also dance to occasions to keep their life happy. However, some insecurity of her past mistakes is making her become restless and is now haunting her and she is trying to live with it. “Nora, you must tell your husband all about it” (Ibsen, 1994).

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