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A Doll's House by Henrik Isben

Characters Seeking Out Freedom in "A Doll's House"

In the play A Doll’s House, Henrik Isben brings out the character of Nora. Ruled her whole life by either her father or husband, Nora must question the foundation of everything she believes in when her marriage is put to the test. Having borrowed money from a man of bad reputation named Krogstad, and by forging her father’s signature, she was able to pay for a trip to Italy to save her sick husband, Torvald’s, life. Her husband was unaware of the loan and Nora led him to believe it came from her father. Since then, she has had to contrive ways to pay back her loan without her husband’s knowledge, growing particularly concerned with money and deceit. The main theme brought out in this play is that sometimes people seek outlets to freedom when they feel suppressed. This is supported through symbols and irony.

The title A Doll’s House has significant irony throughout the play. Torvald views himself as the dominant person in the house who has to think for Nora because she does not have a head of her own. Torvald’s pet names for Nora reveal that he does not see her as an equal by any means; rather, Nora is at times predictable and acts like a silly doll at times. Throughout the play, there are references to Nora’s father who treated her just like Torvald. When Nora was younger she only conversed with the servants. As an adult she mainly talks to her friend Linde and family physician Dr. Rank. She never felt she could talk to her father or husband because they never would listen to what she had to say. Nora’s quest for freedom was brought out in a conversation with Linde, “… it was a tremendous pleasure to sit there working and earning money. It was like being a man.” (Pg. 14) She had found an outlet to freedom while working to pay back the loan during a time when most women did not work outside of the home. Nora had the power in the marriage even though she and Torvald did not know this to be true.

The macaroons symbolize Nora’s rebellion and give a foreshadowing of what is to come. Dr. Rank says, “What macaroons? I thought they were forbidden here.” Nora replies, “ Yes, but these are some Christine gave me.” (Pg. 17) Nora...

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Category:   Plays

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