Society is made of two major different social-economic classes; the poor/destitute and the rich/privileged. Each of the group is ever in conflict with either the other class or with one another. The gap between the poor and he rich is very wide and continues to widen in different societies; communist and capitalist. Dolls house is a multi-prolonged battle: privileged against destitute, destitute against privileged, and privileged against privileged.
Ibsen reflects the societal social-economic division and how the privileged takes advantage of the disadvantage. Ibsen also attempts to depict the conflict that arises from the interaction between the destitute themselves and how they try to overcome the challenges they are facing. Ibsen identifies with the Marxist theory; in the sense that he presents characters from every social-economic level together and tries to compare the outcome of their relations (Wright, 2005). The Dolls House is full of conflict in which characters try to maintain their social and economic status for the privileged and the destitute tries move to conquer the obstacles they face. At the beginning of the play Ibsen presents the two married couples, Nora and Torvald who are not rich; they only have money to take care of the basic family needs. For example, when Torvald gets sick and the doctor recommends that he take some time off to Italy, Nora is forced to borrow money from Mr. Krogstad, a rich man to take the family to Italy. Later the conflict emerges between Krogstad and Nora about the repayment of the loan she took with forged documents. Ibsen presents this destitute versus privileged conflict between the two characters, Krogstad and Nora. Torvald and Nora are not privileged as Mr. Krogstad, and they do not have any extra money to spend on luxury. The conflict between Nora and Krogstad intensifies when Krogstad plans to blackmail Mr. Torvald to gain control of the position as the manager of the bank.
Ibsen depicts how characters try to elevate themselves from the oppression and challenges they face. Torvald tries to move to the next level of the privileged when he becomes the bank manager. Nora on the other hand also tries to come out of the oppression she is subjected to by Torvald. Torvald treats Nora as a child who only needs toys; she is more like a doll to Torvald. Nora and Torvald are married couples, but their relationship is more of a father-daughter relationship. Torvald does not consider Nora his wife; there is no respect between the two. Torvald dictates what he wants Nora to do, and she addresses her the way he wants and Nora has nothing to say. Ibsen depicts the subjection the destitute are subjected to by the privileged. Torvald is working and provides for the family; although, they are from the same social-economic level, they are in conflict with control. Nora tries to come out of the oppression she has been subjected towards the end of the play where she refuses to forgive Torvald and moves out of the house living him with the children. Torvald has taken advantage of the situation that he is the one providing for the family; therefore, whatever he says should be followed. He calls Nora names that demean her; for example, he calls her my little squirrel (Ibsen, 1890:1565). Additionally, conflict also emerges between the Nora and Mrs. Linde, her friend. Mrs. Linde tries to explain her miserable situation that her husband past on and left her with nothing to take care of her children, but Nora, on the other hand, does not consider her situation seriously; instead she boasts around how she and her husband will have a lot of money because Torvald has gotten a job as the bank manager. Nora is from the middle class, and Mrs. Linde is from the lower class; she has no job, and she has come to Nora to help her secure a job.
Ibsen has presented the destitute in conflict with the privileged. Mrs. Linde is a representation of the destitute, and she is in conflict with Krogstad, who represents the privileged. At the part at Helmers house, Mrs. Linde reveals the reason she left Krogstad; so that she could be with a richer man to help her take care of her children and the family. Ibsen depicts the oppression the privileged subjects the destitute to get their services. The privileged will only associate with the destitute if there is something they will gain; for example, in the case scenario of Mrs. Linde and Krogstad, she agrees to get back with Krogstad so that he could help her take care of the children. Ibsen reveals the immorality that exists in the society through the conflict scenario of Krogstad and Mrs. Linde. Mrs. Linde is a married woman with children, and she has lost her husband yet she still engages in immoral acts.
Ibsen has also presented the conflict amongst the privileged. Krogstad and Torvald are in conflict over control and management of the bank. Mr. Krogstad writes the ablackmail letter to Krogstad to blackmail him so that he can indirectly use Torvald to continue his corrupt activities of giving out loans with illegal documents. Although, the conflict is resolved with Mrs. Linde convincing him to stop the blackmail, he nearly succeeded because when Torvald gets the letter he says that they have to do what Krogstad wanted.
In conclusion, The Dolls House is indeed a multi-prolonged battle where different social-economic classes are in continuous conflict with one another. Ibsen presents us with the characters who are involved in the conflict for their interest.
Ibsen, Henrik. Doll's House. Vol. 1. Scribner & Walford, 1890.Wright, Erik Olin. Approaches to class analysis. Cambridge University Press, 2005.
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