Giant RRS: A Doll’s House Emily Chen, Jerry Chen, Giselle Balanza, Mardy Diaz Title: A Doll’s House Publication Date: December 1879 Author: Henrik Ibsen Nationality: Norwegian Author’s Birth Date/Death Date: March 20, 1828 - May 23, 1906 Distinguishing Traits of Author Henrik Ibsen was considered to be the founder of modernism in theatre and the father of realism. He grew up in a city dominated by lumberjacks; his father was a wealthy merchant, one respected in his city Skien. However, his good fortunes took a turn when his father’s business collapse, forcing him to move out of his county. During this period of time, Henrik spent the majority of his time as a playwright; he was involved in the production of 145 plays. Though the plays were insignificant, the experience provided Ibsen a foundation to his lucrative writing career ahead. Ibsen died by multiple strokes, and upon his deathbed, his last words were “On the contrary.” His legacy as one of the greatest playwrights continued to be flourished in his native country, Norwegian. Ibsen was also a visionary; his production of A Doll’s House shows his critical thinking. He criticized the martial roles of women in society, and scorned against the common stereotypes of women during the late 18 century. Believing in women equality, Ibsen continued to write plays portraying the evil of society, and he continued to fight for women. th
Setting of Work A Doll’s House takes place inside the household of Nora Torvald and Helmer Torvald. They live inside a comfortable and spacious apartment with their children and housemaids. After Helmer fell ill and required medical attention, Nora took her family to Italy, where they are staying now, in order to save the life of Torvald. Inside this household, Nora spends time working off her loan by shutting herself inside, copying papers for low wages. As the Christmas season comes around, Nora and Helmer finds themselves capable of spending more this year with Torvald’s new job position. However, Nora and Torvald do not live together but they live in lies and stereotypes. Nora is considered to be Helmer’s little doll…[he] would play with [her] just as [she] played with her dolls.” (65) This shows how inside the household, although the two couples live together, they are not in union with one another. The majority of the play takes place inside the home where Nora contemplates about the mistakes and crime she has committed, praying that a “wonderful thing” was going to happen once her secret has been revealed. Brief Plot Synopsis
The play opens with Nora coming home from her shopping trip and telling her husband Torvald about the many products that she bought. However, Torvald, clearly disinterested, scolds Nora on her spendthrift behaviors but gives her money later when she becomes saddened at his criticisms. At this time, Torvald leaves to talk with Dr. Rank while Nora meets with an unknown caller, who turns out to be Mrs. Linde, Nora’s childhood friend. Mrs. Linde tells Nora of the hardships that she faced after her husband died three years ago and asks Nora if she can find a job at the bank that her husband works at for her. Nora agrees and tells Mrs. Linde of her secret: she has borrowed money in order to pay for the trip to Italy that saved Torvald’s life. After the two discuss this issue, Krogstad enters, asking to see Torvald, and Dr. Rank exits from Torvald’s room to join the ladies in waiting for Torvald. When Torvald enters, he approves Nora’s request for a position in the bank for Mrs. Linde. Then the characters all leave the stage except Nora, who stays home to play with the children. Krogstad comes in, interrupting their play, and requests Nora to ensure that he does not lose his job at the bank. Nora refuses to agree to the request, and Krogstad threatens Nora with the forgery that Nora made on the bond. After Krogstad leaves, Nora meets with Torvald again and asks him to not relieve Krogstad of his position. However, Torvald refuses, calling Krogstad a liar and showing disgust for him. When the second act opens, Nora asks the nurse about her children and ponders about whether she should stop taking care of the children in fear of corrupting them. At this point, Mrs. Linde enters and sews Nora’s dress for her while the two talk about Nora’s bond, but exits when Torvald comes in. Nora begs Torvald again to keep Krogstad at the bank, but Torvald becomes displeased and asks the maid to send the letter of dismissal to Krogstad, leaving Nora distressed and frustrated. When her husband leaves, Dr. Rank meets Nora and tells her of his impending death and declares his love for Nora. Visibly displeased, Nora dismisses Dr. Rank, although she promises to tell her husband of Dr. Rank’s death when it is confirmed. Krogstad now meets with Nora and requests her to ask her husband to give him a promotion at the bank. Nora informs him about the impossibility of this task, and Krogstad threatens her with telling her husband about the bond. Nora tries to fight against Krogstad by saying that she might kill herself, but Krogstad still stands his ground. In the end, Krogstad puts a letter containing information about the bond in Torvald’s mailbox and leaves. After seeing this action, Nora becomes frantic and pleads Mrs. Linde to help her retrieve the letter. Mrs. Linde promises to talk to Krogstad but asks her to delay her husband from opening the mailbox. When Torvald comes home, she asks him to reteach the Tarantella dance that she will perform at the Christmas party to her and successfully detains him from seeing the letter. In the opening of the third act, Nora and her husband are attending a ball upstairs while Mrs. Linde waits for Krogstad in the Helmer’s house. When Krogstad meets Mrs. Linde, she proposes that they rekindle their past love and get married again after ten years. She claims that the two are both missing something that the other can fill and that they should partner up to fill each other’s void. Krogstad agrees happily and asks Mrs. Linde if she wants to retrieve the letter that he sent to Torvald for Nora’s sake. However, Mrs. Linde believes that the two should confront each other about this issue and asks Krogstad to leave it in the letterbox. Krogstad then leaves the house before
Nora and her husband come in from the party. Mrs. Linde informs Nora that she has failed to retrieve the letter, then leaves the house. When the two are alone, Torvald shows the desire to spend time with Nora, but Nora tries to distract him from it by telling him to open his mails. Dr. Rank comes in and interrupts their conversation in order to tell Nora of the confirmation his death. After Dr. Rank leaves, Nora informs Torvald that Dr. Rank is about to die and that they should not be having fun themselves while their friend dies alone. Torvald agrees and opens the mails, discovering the issue concerning the bond. Enraged, he repudiates Nora with harsh words and tells her that she can’t take care of the children any longer. The maid comes in with a letter now, and Torvald reads the letter, which contains the bond that Nora forged her signatures on. Torvald exclaims that the two are saved and forgives Nora for the issue about the bond. However, Nora’s view of Torvald has completely changed due to this incident, and she leaves Torvald and his dollhouse in pursuit to discover herself. Brief Description of Characters Nora Helmer Nora Helmer is the main character of the play, as well as Torvald Helmer’s wife. In the beginning of the play, Nora appears to be a family-oriented mother and a loving wife. She is constantly being flirtatious with her husband and laughing at his attempts to scold her. Being known as just a pretty woman to society, most people think that she is “fit for nothing really serious” (Act I). However, she is quite deceptive in that she is able to forge her father’s signature in order to get money to pay for a trip that saves her husband’s life. When her secret comes out, she is betrayed by her husband and she comes to realize her worth as an individual. She does not want to be controlled and treated like a doll, nor live by the expectations of society. Torvald Helmer: Helmer is the husband to Nora; he is a clerk at a bank who has just recently been promoted to a lucrative position during the midst of Christmas. He is a man who cares about his appearances in the public, for he hires caretakers for his children despite having economic difficulties in the past. This shows how he is a man who lavishly spends on objects he deems appropriate and suitable for his appearances in society. However, he is also stingy and stubborn about giving money to his wife, Nora. He constantly tells her “no debt, no borrowing.” (2) His ideals about living in the 18 century shows that Helmer is a typical man who cares about economic prosperity and treats women as objects to be purchased and owned. Throughout the play, Helmer constantly regards Nora as his “little squirrel… little skylark.” (2) Through his callings to his wife, Torvald is not a man who holds respect for women, for he treats them like pets, giving only superficial and monetary love. Torvald is also selfish in his own interests, making sure he appears pleasant and wealthy in the public eye. When he learns about the secret Nora has been holding, he bursts out in fury, saying how Nora has “ruined all [his] future… all [his] happiness.” (62) Not once did Torvald stop and think about Nora’s position. This shows that he is man that does not love but a man full of ignorance after all that Nora has sacrificed for his sake. th
Krogstad Krogstad is the play’s antagonist who is both dishonest and unscrupulous. Since Nora borrowed a large sum of money from him in order to save Torvald when he was extremely ill, he uses Nora’s debt against her as a form of blackmail when he learns that he could potentially be laid off from his job at the bank. He is ruthless for telling Nora that she can’t do anything in her power to prevent him from blackmailing her because “A precious little pampered think like [her]” can’t frighten him (II,49). He is a man full of flaws because he was caught for forgery, which hindered his chances of landing secure jobs with respectable positions. When Mrs. Linde left him for another man in the past, he became a bitter man filled with unhappiness and moral corruption. When he rekindles his love with Mrs. Linde towards the end of the novel, he drastically changes into a happier man when they decide to tie the knot in marriage. Mrs. Linde: Mrs. Linde is a childhood friend of Nora who comes into the play during Act I as a widow begging for a job to earn her wages. She is the foil of Nora, for she is a character who understands about the necessary sacrifices and sufferings. After losing her husband, she has walked this society alone, without anyone to love, and has become independent of her actions. Her path of choice is “unspeakably empty. No one to live for any more.” (9) This shows that Mrs. Linde is a character that has had a hard past, but is willing to move forward in life despite her downfalls. Later in the play, the audience learns more about the past of Mrs. Linde. She is a practical person who sacrificed her love for Krogstad in order to support her two brothers and herself. She once loved Krogstad, but she terminated her love in order to help her family financially. Thus, Mrs. Linde is a character who has experience suffering, but she is capable and independent enough to move on in life despite her rough past. Doctor Rank Dr. Rank is a friend of the Helmers’ who is a foil to Torvald. When Dr. Rank discovers that his disease is getting worse and that he will die soon, he confesses his love for Nora and claims that he would “gladly give his life for [Nora]” (II, 39). In comparison with Torvald, Dr. Rank loves Nora wholeheartedly. He loves her for who she is and not the role she plays. While Torvald values his reputation and appearance over his love for his wife, Dr. Rank will do anything in order to save Nora. The contrast between the two men emphasizes Torvald’s selfishness and his poor choice of priorities. Three Children and Nurse Anne, the Helmers’ nurse, serves as a source of knowledge about children for Nora because she has experience taking care of children. When Nora discusses her desire to leave the children in fear of corrupting them, she claims that “young children easily get accustomed to anything” (II, 29). This offhand comment by the Nurse has affected Nora in a negative way, unbeknownst to the Nurse. Nora hypothesizes that her children will forget her if she leaves long enough, and the Nurse’s words only strengthen that hypothesis. Nora’s interaction with three children reinforces how Torvald regards her as a doll. When she plays with her children, she calls them her “nice little dolly children” (I, 19). The name that she gives her children shows that she regards her
children as her dolls and her playthings, though with more love than Torvald regards her. The parallelisms between the situations reinforce the idea that Nora is but a doll to Torvald. Symbols Christmas Tree The Christmas tree acts as a symbol for Nora and the emotions that she experiences throughout the play. In the beginning, when Nora first brings the tree home, she orders that “the children do not see it until this evening, when it is dressed” (I, 4). In this case, the tree is similar to Nora is that they are both decorations in the house that cannot be seen by others until they are dressed. This situation concerning the tree parallels a later incident when Nora refuses to show Torvald her dress until the actual party. Nora is really just a doll in the house that Torvald plays dress up and other games with. Torvald regards her as a mere decoration that needs protection and shelter instead of his equal or his wife. The second instance in which the tree is mentioned is when it is “stripped of its ornaments and with burnt-down candle-ends on its disheveled branches” (II, 29). The state of the tree now reflects Nora’s turbulent emotion and her distress due to the confrontation with Krogstad. In addition, the tree does not have any ornaments on it, which foreshadows that Nora will strip herself of her ornaments in the future. She will not play dress up and dollhouse with Torvald anymore as she comes to realize her role as a doll and a decoration instead of a person and a wife in Torvald’s eyes. Lastly, the absence of the Christmas tree from the play’s setting signifies Nora’s departure from Torvald. When Nora finally leaves Torvald, the room becomes “Empty [because] She is gone” (III, 67). Nora realizes her role as a Christmas tree, a decoration, in Torvald’s house and how meaningless that role has been for her. She is unable to express her own opinions, and she simply follows her master’s orders. A life spent this way is bland and uneventful, and Nora refuses to live this way any longer. Therefore, she refuses to stay in this house any longer and leaves Torvald in an attempt to discover herself or find her own personality. Key: The symbol of power shown through the key to the letterbox portrays how dominant men are to women during the late 18 century. Failing to hold the power to the “key that opens the letterbox,” Nora is considered powerless and second to that of men. (67) The symbol of the key, a object that holds the potential to unlock something greater, is the power that Torvald posses. When Nora tried and failed to pick the lock open with her hair tie, it shows how much power and control Helmer has over Nora. This relates back to the stereotype of women in the late 18 century being completely powerless and unable to have any jurisdiction in a marriage. Thus, the key to the letterbox is a symbol of Torvald’s dominance over Nora, holding the power to do whatever he pleases and having complete control over his wife like his own property. th
Another symbol that is portrayed in this play is the children. The children of Nora are portrayed as her love and as her fear simultaneously. In the play, the children bring joy and happiness to Nora. She is willing to sacrifice her debt to buy them clothing items, for they are “adorable little creatures.” (15) Also, Nora plays with her children by crawling on all fours and giving them her attention. However, once Krogstad steps foot into her house, the children no longer becomes loving adorable beings, but something she tries to avoid desperately in order to not “poison the house from her crime.” (37) Thus, the children are the symbol of Nora’s love and fear, for she loves them with all her heart but realizes how her crime can affect her children as well. Though she will continue to love them and continue to cherish them as her creation, Nora can no longer raise them knowing that she is a criminal and does not have the capability of raising them. Therefore, the children are a symbol to Nora’s passion for them and her inadequacy to bring them up righteously. Macaroons The macaroons that Nora eats without Torvald’s knowledge is a symbol for Nora’s secretiveness. Before going to see Torvald, she makes an effort to “put the bag of macaroons into her pocket and wipes her mouth” (Act I). This shows that she is trying to hide the fact that they were in her possession in the first place. She is not allowed to buy macaroons because Torvald wants to keep her spending limited. Her secretiveness represented by the macaroons is also applicable to her choice to keep quiet about forging her father’s signature. In order to keep Torvald happy, Nora tries to conceal the problems and bad situations that could possibly upset him. New Year’s Day New Year’s Day acts as a symbol of renewal and self-realization for Nora. Although her and Torvald are both looking forward to this day as a start of a new and improved happy life, the play takes a turn when Nora’s secret is revealed. Seeing how quick Torvald is to be unappreciative of her thoughtful actions, Nora finally says “Goodbye” and “goes out through the hall” with “the sound of a door shutting” (Act III). With the new year, Nora is ready to start an actual new life where she lives by her own rules and is no longer Torvald’s doll. Motifs Wonderful things The second motif that can be seen in the play is Nora’s expectation that a “wonderful thing” was going to happen after the secret about her borrowing money from Krogstad has been revealed. (25) During the first conversation between Nora and Mrs. Linde, Nora tells Mrs. Linde that she expects this “wonderful thing” to happen when Torvald finds out about what she has done to save his life. In the end, she says to Torvald that for them to be back together as a couple, the “wonderful thing” has to happen. The “wonderful thing” is a motif that highlights Nora’s longing for Torvald to love her fully that he is willing to sacrifice himself for the both of them. Nora wants Torvald to profess his love profoundly and live their life together despite the crime. However, the “wonderful thing” does not happen, for Torvald is an ignorant and stubborn man who cannot see
reason before his eyes. Thus, the motif shows that the relationship between Helmer and Nora is superficial, for Torvald only sees Nora as property to be owned and something to give him pleasure when he demands. Letters The motif is letters is the most prevalent one throughout the play, and its reoccurrences play an integral part in moving the plot forward. The letter that Krogstad sends to Torvald is probably the most important one in the play, as it reveals Nora’s secret that she has kept for ten years. In order to “have complete understand between [Nora and Helmer],” “this unhappy secret must be disclosed” (III, 52). The letter clears up the deception between the married couple and drives Nora to a complete understanding of her own situation. After seeing Torvald’s reaction to her secret, Nora comes to the understanding that Torvald does not love her as much as she with him. Additionally, the letter reveals Torvald’s true colors and his placement of honor above love. The letter enables Nora to discover the truth about their marriage and end her miserable years with Torvald. Another letter of importance is the one containing Krogstad’s repentance and the bond for Nora’s loan. When the maid gives the letter to the Nora, Torvald rudely takes it and opens it while claiming that he “scarcely have the courage to do it [because] it may mean ruin for both of [them]” (III, 60). Helmer’s reaction to this letter shows that he is but a coward who only cares about himself and his appearance. He only concerns himself with Nora because being with her will make him seem like an honorable and respected man and not because he truly loves Nora as a person. Shocked at Torvald’s indifference to her future, Nora learns that deception will only lead to misunderstandings and confusion for a married couple and reveals her independent self to Torvald by leaving him to his own device. Money and Banking The motif of money and banking is used to show that true and genuine happiness cannot be simply bought. Nora and Torvald are looking forawrd to the luxuries of having a higher pay with Torvald being promoted at the bank. Nora excitedly exclaims that they Torvald is “going to have a big salary and earn lots and lots of money” (Act I). Nora also says her husband’s life-saving trip to Italy was only made possible because she was able to get enough money. The Helmers believe their lives and reputations are fully dependent on their financial and economical situations. This leads to their belief that without money, the difficult outcomes make it nearly impossible to be content with life. Clothing Clothes are central in the play because it was the only constant item throughout the entire playwright. Clothes reflect Nora’s adversity and tribulations. When she dances the Tarantella, she is dressed in a glamorous ball gown that Torvald forced her to wear in order to indicate the idea of wealth and high standing within society. Nora wears a facade, mainly forced upon her by her husband, in order for society to depict the Helmer’s as a family who comes from affluence. Torvald dresses her up and manipulates Nora like a his own personal dll in order to put on a show for others to
watch. Nora realizes this when she talks to Mrs. Linde and mentions to her that she wishes for “a time will come when Torvald is not as devoted to [her], not quite so happy when [she] dance[s] for him, and dress[es] for him, and play with him” (I,25). In the end, Nora changes into clothing fit for any ordinary woman as a indication of her freeing herself from Torvald’s control. Archetypes Giselle Nora has an archetype of being the innocent and naïve female character. In the beginning of the play, Torvald treats her like a child and she does not seem to see anything wrong with that. He calls her a “poor little girl” when she brings back memories of the hardships of the last holiday season (Act I). When Nora is playing with her children, she is crawling on all fours, being youthful, yet childish. Her reaction to Krogstad threatening to tell Torvald her secret is parallel to that of a child hiding a secret from his or her parents. Jerry In the play, Helmer Torvald is the archetype of selfish, greedy, and unloving man who cares only about himself and regards all women as property. Torvald calls his wife by these animalistic dictions, thus showing his dominance over woman and portraying his lack of respect for her as an individual. Torvald is selfish in that he “would [never] sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.” (72) This shows how Helmer is not a man with a genuine and loving heart, but a man who cares only about himself and his self interests. When having an argument with his wife about he borrowed money, Torvald continues to state how he is in complete ruins and never once mention the state of his wife, Nora. Thus, Torvald is the archetype of a stereotypical male living in the 18 century where men do not regard women as individuals but only as property to be owned; they lack the respect for women and fail to see them truly as equals. Though Torvald is in a marriage, he is not in love but only for the sake of appearances in public. Shown through his resolution after learning about Nora’s secret, Torvald will continue to cherish his own appearance in public by having Nora remain by his side. This shows how Helmer Torvald is an archetype of a selfish and egocentric man who disrespects women and continues to treat them as pieces of property in his possession. th
Mardy Ibsen develops her characters to either follow or go against certain gender roles prevalent in society during the time. Women, like Nora, is expected to be a traditional and subservient housewife, while men like Torvald is presented as an individual of power. Torvald explicitly mentions to Nora that she has “duties to [her] husband and your children" (III,87). Men were typically viewed as the main source of income for most families, therefore they are the head leader of the family. Both men and women embody different generalizations that contribute to gender roles. Allusions
The allusion to the Tarantella depicts Nora’s role as Torvald’s doll. When Mrs. Linde and Nora are speaking, Nora tells her that “Torvald wants [her] to go as a Neapolitan fisher-girl, and dance the Tarantella that [she] learned at Capri” (Act II). Just like a toy one can play with, Nora is allowing herself to be dressed up and do playful dances for an audience. This shows that the relationship between the Helmers consists of Torvald being superior over Nora. Not only does the Tarantella represent this, but it also conveys how isolated Nora is in her commitment to Torvald. The Tarantella is usually danced by two or more people, but Torvald pushes Nora to dance it by herself so he can focus and visually indulge on her alone. Themes Sexism: Another theme that can be seen in the play is sexism and how it shapes the life of late 18 century. The relationship between Nora and Torvald is dominated by the stereotypical belief that women are inferior to men, for they are property under the ownership of men. Throughout the entire play, Torvald does not address his wife by her name but by animal dictions. This shows that Helmer does not respect his wife as an individual and only consider her as a pet to be played with. Also, women in the late 18 century did not have the right to borrow money. This proves that women did not have jurisdiction over their own actions, making them submissive to the word’s of men. Women did not have independence over their actions, for they are to be loyal to their husband and children; their only place in society is being a mother caring for their children and fulfilling the needs of men. The fact that women also were not suppose to work shows that they are bound to men, dependent upon them financially. Thus, the theme of sexism highlights the inequality between men and women. Stereotypes and discrimination against women’s rights prove how unjustified society was during the late 18 century, for men dominated society. th
Pride Another theme is the detrimental effect of excessive pride. When Torvald focuses too much on his pride and his outer appearance, he loses sight of what is really important to him. Torvald regards Nora as his doll because he puts too much emphasis on his pride. Although he tries to convince himself that he loves Nora with all his heart, he cannot change his prideful nature. Although he tries to mend his relationship with Nora after showing her his superfluous concern with pride, the harm has been done, and Nora refuses to return after he breaks her heart. Deception Another theme emphasizes that lies and deception can cause problems and difficulties with personal relationships. Since Nora committed her fairly minor crime, she has been hoping that it would just be left in the past and never be brought up again. When Krogstad comes and threatens to expose her, she freaks out because she is afraid of how Torvald will react. Nora claims to love Torvald passionately and deeply, and she does not want to lose him because of an action she did some time ago. Nevertheless, when the truth comes out that Nora did in fact lie, her relationship with Torvald is torn apart.
Appearance vs Reality Another theme of the play is that appearances and reputations can be deceiving. It is fairly easy to put up a front and pretend like everything is okay, even when it is not. Nora and Torvald have mastered this art because they have never truly loved each other, but yet they are able to fool other people in society into thinking that they are a happy couple. When Torvald reads Krogstad’s letter regarding Nora, Torvald has no hesitation in making sure that people still think everything is fine, even though Torvald wants little to do with his wife. Appearances and reputations are a priority to the Helmers because of the importance of appearing that they are wealthy, as well as have a high status in society. Identity/Search for Self Individuals typically struggle in finding their true identity, therefore they must explore and experience their own unique path in life. Self-realization is a result of embarking on a journey to find yourself. Within this journey, there is a divide between one’s own desires and the expectation set by society. When Torvald informs Nora about his promotion at the bank, Nora reacts with false enthusiasm in order to match her husband’s excitement. Nora inadvertently conforms to Torvald and his expectations as she readily obeys his requests. Nora complies to Torvald’s wishes as it manifests onto her own, breaking down the line between her own thoughts and others’ beliefs. She states that “[She] must make up [her] mind which is right – society or [her]” (III, 82). Nora further fails to find her own identity because she doesn’t embrace her personal opinions since she choses to follow Torvald’s desires. As a result, her happiness is based on on what is dictated by society. Sacrifice Women are typically forced to sacrifice their independence due to their duties towards their families. Nora’s life has been a trail of sacrifices because of all the housewife duties she must fulfill. Her life becomes a constant battle for her own liberty, as her ability to discern her own self-sufficiency is lost in her commitment to her family. Despite this fact, Nora starts to recognize that as a human being, she is granted natural rights even if society says otherwise. Torvald tells her that "No man would sacrifice his honour for the one he loves” and Nora replies by saying that, "[Sacrifice] is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done" (III,87). She realizes that sacrifices within her marriage is not a requirement, but rather an action based on free will. Memorable Quotes “One day I might, yes. Many years from now, when I’ve lost my looks a little. Don’t laugh. I mean, of course, a time will come when Torvald is not as devoted to me, not quite so happy when I dance for him, and dress for him, and play with him” (Act I) “From now on, forget happiness. Now it’s just about saving the remains, the wreckage, the appearance” (Act III).
“I have been performing tricks for you, Torvald. That’s how I’ve survived. You wanted it like that. You and Papa have done me a great wrong. It’s because of you I’ve made nothing of my life” (Act III). “Free. To be free, absolutely free. To spend time playing with the children. To have a clean, beautiful house, the way Torvald likes it.” (Act 1) “But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves. It is a thing that hundreds of thousands of women have done.” (Act 3) “You have never loved me. You have only thought it pleasant to be in love with me...You see, there are some people that one loves, and others that perhaps one would rather be with.” (Act 3)
Distinctive Characteristics of the Work This play is out of its time. Henrik Ibsen was writing about the importance of gender equality and women’s rights during a time where women were expected to act inferior to their husbands and to men in general. The first performance of this play was in Copenhagen in 1879. It increased in popularity and created fame for Henrik Ibsen. A Doll’s House was noted as the “world’s most performed play” in 2006. The ending is considered an unspeakable action by a woman. Because Nora just walks out on Torvald, leaving her home and children as well, the ending is criticized by the fact that she thought her own freedom was more important than her motherly duties. “A Doll’s House” is a unique play where each character serves as an archetype. The characters all have different personalities what vary on a broad spectrum. This is an important factor because Ibsen uses this technique to represent various types of people in society. This is a well made play what has many underlying social themes.