A Doll's House: Literary Analysis

Published: 2023-01-10
A Doll's House: Literary Analysis
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Company Psychology Law Civil rights
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1787 words
15 min read

A Doll's House is a literary piece by Henrik Ibsen who reviews every bit of feminism within the society. Ibsen challenges the social norms of a society that considers the feminine gender to be based around martial duties. A Doll's House includes various characters in a dialogue with various symbolic representations. The setting of the play is at a commoner's life which is revealed throughout the play as the plot from which various lessons can be learnt regarding feminism. Ibsen's work is unique in its use of realistic vernacular language that is understandable by every audience. The entire story is relatable while presenting a story of Nora, a married woman who fights for her independence.

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The main character in the play is Nora Helmer, who is perceived from the beginning as a flighty homemaker. Helmer does not value money to be a finite financial resource of human life (Rashid 482). She seemingly acts childish from the start in the first Act, and she becomes more annoying with her lack of adult worries. With time through acts, Nora's versatile sides are uniquely presented to the reader by Ibsen.

Her other sides are well presented during her conversation with Mrs Linde. It is evident that Nora is not concerned with financial issues when she gives an explanation to Linde regarding her husband, Torvald. She explains to Linde that Torvald fell in love with her because of her beauty and not monetary stances. When asked by Linde whether she discusses monetary stuff with Torvald, she stated that "When it doesn't amuse him any longer to see me dancing about, and dressing up and acting. Then it might be well to have something in reserve." The statement by itself reveals that Nora is real in her marriage contrary to what one would believe at the beginning.

It is realizable that Torvald was interested in her because of her looks and not her intellectual capacity (Yuehua 79). With time, it is self-explainable that for as long as their infatuation will fade, their marriage will also be fading. The beginning of the Act portrays Nora as Naive. However, with time, she states that she should be effortlessly seeking something to hold over her husband's head to strengthen their marriage each time. Furthermore, she was concerned about him being faithful to her. This turns the perception that she is naive to a knowledgeable and skeptical woman.

Ibsen stresses how honor could be more important than possessing integrity in reality. This is evidenced in another ingeniously scripted dialogue towards the play's end. Nora reveals all the secrets she has for Torvald (Roach 300). He is bold while saying that no happiness queries can be raised again but instead, only shreds, a show, and ruins.

He presents the male character in the play that differentiates him from the rest of the women who aimed for independence. Through their conversation, Nora gains the courage to declare her independent (Pittman, Frank and Kalman 145). It was always in her wants to see her miracles being honored. She is freed when Torvald talks about them too much every time until he assumes the crime she committed unto himself. She is seen as independent when Torvald tells her that she could no longer see the children.

Ibsen makes sure to wrap up Torvald's character towards the end of the narrative. He is compared to a gift with a pretty vain bow on its top. He performs unnoticeable things throughout the play, which are used to develop his husband role in the family. In doing so, Ibsen reveals the real stereotype of Torvald. In the beginning, he frequently uses demeaning pet names as well as repetitive implications of his power whilst with the family. He would portray the person he was while ruling the family and controlling its finances.

Ibsen uses the closing of the door by Torvald as a symbol of the separation of himself from the entire family. This is presented in Act 1 when he presents himself at stage directions. He isolates himself because of the feeling that he was more powerful than the rest of the family members. He also thinks to himself that his business was much essential to be mingled with that of the other members. He did not believe that Nora is or a high-enough status to be privy to his position in the family. His character is broken openly at the end of the play. His hidden narcissistic attributes are spilled out to be evident to Nora.

In addition to dialogue, Ibsen utilizes softer tinting approach of symbolism in the play. Symbolism is evident in the conveyance of the subtle nuances of the characters' real sides. Firstly, there is the French confectionary (Rekdal and Kjetil 152). That foreshadows Nora's feelings nuance behavior. It also represented the domestic life led by Nora and other characters in the play.

When her husband seeks information regarding candies during act 1, she does not accept the accusations of having purchased or consumed any. The result is a dramatic irony that is left for the readers to understand the underlying truth of Nora. As soon as Torvald leaves the house, she twists stories fast to the guests, Mrs Linde and Dr Rank (Rekdal and Kjetil 152). She softly talks about treating them but deep down she could not handle both situations at hand.

It was kind of secretive when she is determined to present herself as a humble wife but maintain her inner reality self. The French confectionery, therefore, symbolizes future deteriorations of their marriage that was exacerbated by the rebellious actions that sprang from her hiding of the reality in her.

Ibsen presents a dramatic irony in part of the story in a way that the audience is placed in a position of dismay as they are only partially presented with information. The readers ought to fill the gaps by themselves with a form of non-verbal communication, which cannot be revealed or interpreted from the play.

Once at the house, Ibsen describes a situation of arms being full of gifts after which the stage directions do not present Nora handing any bags or wiping her mouth. In contemporary society, it would be queer to have the thought of an individual sneaking some macaroons from their accomplices. Ibsen presents it in an outlandish law that is a depiction of later disintegrations within their marriage.

Ibsen presents the feminine gender in the form of symbolism in a special way. In doing so, she presents how manipulative women are as soon as they get to know of interest from a man (Kowalski 13). In their manipulative actions, they may lead themselves to objectivity and do anything to get what they want. This is evident in Nora's event with a doctor.

Nora becomes manipulative by asking the doctor of his thoughts on the stockings before pulling up her entire dress to show her leg to the doctor. When she finds a reaction from him, she proceeds to ask for sex in manipulative language. The scene is presented just after the reader understands the tight financial situation that Nora had been tied up to. In that case, the request for sex was to some extent exchange for monetary gains.

Another evident scene is between Nora and Torvald in the dining area when Nora is requested to dance the Tarantella. In the play, the Tarantella was a fast stepping and short-timed dancing activity that would let Nora dissociate from her unreal being (Mahaffey 55). The dance would expose her ill-mannered self-compared to the Victorian wife she presented herself to be.

Even though she involves herself in the dance, it is evident that she does it childishly to entertain her husband. To Torvald, watching her dance was a way of making him more attracted to her and desire her more. The dance would, however, be performed in tight times as demanded by Torvald since it would only be a way to bring more compliments for her slow but graceful movements. The scene can prove that Torvald is obsessed heavily with the family's reputation in front of an audience.

Every literary device used over the play is focused upon the promotion of a journey of Nora, a suppressed woman to her later independence. The various stylistic devices also present her final independence and lighten up the unforeseen expectations and demands that the society has for women. Mrs Linde acts as her adviser, and she is offered with succinct advice in her journey towards independence.

Her transformations through experiences were all her plans as well as some contributions from some friends of hers. Nora notices the unfairness of life to women as soon as she is narrated of the giving up of Linde's love. Upon a reflection of Nora's sacrifices for her family, she finds that she had already done the best for her and the husband. Every woman in the play was expected to make others a priority before them.

Ibsen goes further to argue that women should be left free to choose between various alternatives what they can find fit for them as they are not a minority to the society than males. Ibsen's wife was an avid feminist while he was an influential person who would use his writings to demand equality. By presenting the grievances of women, Ibsen successfully incites greater controversy of equality.

Ibsen's A doll's house is a three-act play significant in how it presents the fate of a married woman, Nora, the protagonist. Various styles and symbolic representations are evident in the play. Nora leaves her husband for complex reasons with various points hinted in the play. Torvald, the husband, was with her for her looks and not intellectual abilities

. With time, their relationship was bound to fade. His presentation was that of the roles of men in a family. However, Mrs Linde and Dr Rank come into advice Nora on what to do about their marriage and achieve her freedom just like they did. She follows the advice until Torvald surrenders telling her never to see the kids again.

Work Cited

Kowalski, Robin M. "Inferring sexual interest from behavioral cues: Effects of gender and sexually relevant attitudes." Sex Roles 29.1-2 (1993): 13-36.

Mahaffey, Vicki. "Portal to Forgiveness: A Tribute to Ibsen's Nora." South Central Review 27.3 (2010): 54-73.

Pittman III, Frank S., and Kalman Flomenhaft. "Treating the doll's house marriage." Family Process 9.2 (1970): 143-155.

Rashid, Sumaira. "The Financial Exploitation of Women in Plays of Ibsen: A Modernist Study." Research Journal of English Language and Literature 4.2 (2016): 480-485.

Rekdal, Anne Marie, and Kjetil Myskja. "The Female Jouissance: An Analysis of Ibsen's" Et dukkehjem"." Scandinavian Studies 74.2 (2002): 149-180.

Roach, Joseph. "Gossip Girls: Lady Teazle, Nora Helmer, and Invisible-Hand Drama." Modern Drama 53.3 (2010): 297-310.

Yuehua, Guo. "Gender Struggle over Ideological Power in Ibsen's A Doll's House." Canadian Social Science 5.1 (2009): 79.

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