Ibsen's Doll House

Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

Many of the things that the characters do in A Doll's House seem to make sense in the situations they are in. For example, Nora's actions to hide her lies from her husband and to confide in her female friend all seem very regular. Even Torvald and Nora's marriage does not seem that unrealistic until the end. However, the situations they are in are not very realistic. For example, a lot of the story centers on Nora's lie and her forgery to take out the loan. It may just be that the story takes place in a very different time than today, but this whole line of thought seems very made up. The fact that a trip to Italy would be considered so important to saving Torvald's life is doubtful. Also, it seems odd that Krogstad would help Nora. Although he is using it to blackmail her now, it is not easy to understand why he would have helped her in the first place. He does not seem like a friendly man and, at the time that this play takes place, women did not have a lot of means to pay back loans. Yet another unrealistic part of the play is when Nora dances the Tarantella. This part seems to be added by Ibsen for dramatic effect and to show that she is out of control with worry. In the end of the story, we also see Torvald make very unrealistic moves. Torvald is at first angry when he thinks his reputation will be ruined, but then wants to act like nothing has happened when it all blows over. It is very unrealistic to think that he can take back his actions and words and to return to the playful manner he and Nora had before.

2. Ibsen has many symbols throughout the play. The Christmas Tree seems to symbolize Nora, since it is all for looks and appearance. It also starts to look bad near the end of the play when Nora starts to fall apart. The many presents might symbolize the things that the family does not see and are like Nora's secret. Dr. Rank helps as a character in the conflict, and represents what happens when parents make bad choices. The fact that he is dying because his father was a bad person might represent what Nora's choices might bring to her children and family. The locked mailbox is symbol for Nora's true self. Once Torvald opens it and reads the letter he will know who she really is. Nora's change of clothing is like her change from her old self to her new self. Finally, when Nora slams the door at the end of the play she is closing the door on her old life and her old self, leaving all of it behind.

3. Nora does bring about some of her own problems by lying to Torvald, even though she feels like it will save his life. The fact that she has been lying to her husband for so long cannot lead to anything good, since their whole marriage is based on a lie. Despite this, she is not really a victim and does not deserve the harsh treatment Torvald gives her when he finds out the truth. I think that Ibsen wanted to show Nora as a victim who only found out the true nature of her husband because she had to make a tough choice. Personally, I think that Nora was a victim of both society and her own poor choices; she tried to fill the accepted role of wife and mother but did not uphold that role by lying and trying to protect her husband.

4. The Helmers each have a role that they play out over and over again because it seems to make them comfortable. Nora acts like she is a child and lets Torvald feel that he makes all of the decisions and is in complete control. It seems like Torvald believes that their roles are correct. That might be…