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alexxx
11-25-2007, 03:21 PM
Hi, Im currently working on an essay for my IB coursework:

"How does Ibsen use the play to explore free will and determinism?"

And i dont have many ideas for paragraphs. So if anyone could offer any quotes or ideas, that would be greatly appreciated.


Alexxx :thumbs_up

Helly
08-12-2009, 11:46 AM
Hey Alex,

My name is Helen and I am doing my IB World Literature on a similar topic to yours. Mine is on Free Will and Determinism in A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen and L'etranger by Albert Camus. Did you manage to write your essay on it? Is there any advice/quotes you can help me with with regards to A Dolls House! I really am stuck!

I would be soo greatful!!

Let me know,

Helen xx :D

Gladys
08-12-2009, 05:43 PM
Mine is on Free Will and Determinism in A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen and L'etranger by Albert Camus.

Both Nora and Mersault act courageously, if recklessly, with a conscious and sustained disregard for social norms and conventions. Both decide for themselves based on the present, the here and now. Both act outrageously from the viewpoint of their communities. Mersault is driven by rational despair; Nora by a search for what is true and authentic. Mersault sees no point in living a lie; Nora rejects living as a doll for father and, later, husband.

Both existentially choose, and fashion their lives accordingly, rejecting the spineless self-deception of the world around them.

Helly
08-13-2009, 07:03 AM
Thanks.

But, how does that link to free will and determinism?

In A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen it is Nora's free will that enables her to depart from the House. It is however deterministic that Helmer finds out about the debt because Krogstad had decided to tell him therefore there was nothing Nora could od about it, correct? What do you think of these two ideas?

In L'etranger by Albert Camus however I have no ideas about how free will and determinism are demonstrated. Any idea?

Thanks for this help,

Helen xx

Gladys
08-13-2009, 11:42 PM
In A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen it is Nora's free will that enables her to depart from the House. It is however deterministic that Helmer finds out about the debt because Krogstad had decided to tell him therefore there was nothing Nora could do about it, correct? What do you think of these two ideas?

Let's agree that by determinism we mean that human choices and actions can be determined from external causes; and by free will that human choices and actions are determined by internal causes within an individual's control.

The radical choices of Nora and Mersault determine arise unexpectedly and with little or no input from external causes. A more deterministic Nora would have remained, at least to some extent, in society's ethical straight-jacket, but she left home, husband and children! A more deterministic Mersault would have considered the medium or long term impacts of his action, but he takes 'no thought for the morrow'. Such choices can hardly be explained by external cause.

'That Helmer finds out about the debt' does not determine his reaction to it. He, himself, does. While external constraints are always with us, the characters of Ibsen and Camus are free to act in more ways than one. And these characters are able to postpone acting long enough to consider the consequences of a choice.

Helly
08-14-2009, 10:10 AM
Ok, I think I understand what you mean.

So in L'etranger by Albert Camus it was Mersaults free will to shoot the Arab. However it is deterministic that the court case etc happens as that is beyond Mersaults control?

And in A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen it was free will of Nora to leave but pre determined by Krogstad that Helmer would find out about the borrowing, and therefore that is determinisitc as it is beyond Noras control?

Ahh I am so not getting this.

Could you put it in simple language?

Thanks,

Helen

blazeofglory
08-14-2009, 12:01 PM
I read this book several times and find it very inspiring.

Gladys
08-14-2009, 08:30 PM
Ahh I am so not getting this.

If you look up free will and determinism on Wikipedia, Helen, you will see that the concepts are murky and problematic. It's far from simple.

Wiki states, 'The question of free will is whether, and in what sense, rational agents exercise control over their actions and decisions'. Whether free will or determinism, depends on the writer's philosophical perspective rather than, as you suggests, the circumstances or external forces that impact on characters. As Hamlet says to Rosencrantz, "O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space..."

Both Ibsen and Camus seem to embrace a free will view of human decision making. Both have endowed all their characters with free will. I suspect there is little or nothing of a determinist philosophy in either book.

Nevertheless, philosophical debate on free will or determinism can be complex. Thomas Hobbes, for instance, claims that 'a person acts freely only when the person willed the act and the person could have done otherwise, if the person had decided to'.

Helly
08-15-2009, 05:34 AM
Ok, cool thanks.

Just kind of wish I hadn't picked that title now!

Helen xx

Gladys
08-15-2009, 06:53 PM
Just kind of wish I hadn't picked that title now!

Don't despair. In the witching hours, I realised that the Thomas Hobbes definition of 'free will' has interesting application to both the Ibsen and the Camus.

Nora and Torvald Helmer are locked in a determinist mindset, living society's image of them until the impact of Mrs Linde's 'No, Nils, you must not recall your letter'. With eyes opening, Nora learns the stark truth about Torvald's sham morality, and can act freely for the first time in her life! So the doll escapes the straight-jacket of her upbringing and her 'marriage'.

Mersault acts with existential freedom unlike Raymond, for instance, who is locked into cultural habit. Mersault is unencumbered by his past or society's hypocritical values; he lives in the moment. Raymond thrives on pride, shame and guilt; driven by the past (for Mersault, a bygone fantasy) the predictable Raymond cannot act freely in his world.

nickname0811
04-16-2010, 02:28 AM
Well I want to mention some of important stuff on Act 3.
Definitely, Act 3 was really interesting...:D I am doing my discussion thread now. Because I don't want you to think that I am copying others thoughts after I participate the discussion tomorrow in class.

Throughout the book, There are alot of scenes that shows Torvald treating Nora as a doll. I guess that's why it relates to the title. When Nora and Torvald finished their dance and came downstairs, Mrs. Linde was waiting for them. And she said she wanted to wait to see Nora in costume. And Torvald was removing Nora's shawl and said, "Take a good look." I mean seriously this is ridiculous. Torvald doesn't treat her as a wife, but as a doll. He undressed her clothes without asking her permission and told someone to take a look? This guy just makes me really mad. Also, since the dance of tarantella represents Nora's psychological mind, she seems to be more calm and relax later. She just gave up on the letter from Krostad. Because Torvald said "the performance may have been a bit too naturalistic... she made a success, an overwhelming success." So by looking at this quote, I realized that she is more clam than she used to be. Because her dance movement used to be really violent, which symbolized that she had a confusion in her mind. Also, this thing relates to the [I]Yellow Wallpaper[I]. Because that girl who crawled around the room like crazy later on kinda gave up on it and relax after she believed she acheived something. So I guess it's kind like a same thing. It's really cool how this book relates to a lot of different books that we've learned. Also, I thought Torvald's hand position is pretty significant. Because throughout the book, his hand position is someway pressing Nora's body. For example, putting his arm around her waist was mentioned pretty much every where. So he is basically limiting her capacity and position.
And the candles were mentioned again. I guess it has a same role as the lamp from Act 2. Because Torvald said, "Why's it dark here?" and then he lighted candles. So basically candles are foreshadowing what's going to happen next.

Sorry, I am throwing a lot of stuff at the same time. Because I am writing this thread and reading at the same time. So.. haha

There is another scene makes me really mad, Torvald said "now my little Lark is talking like a human being." What is that supposed to mean. He considered her as non-human being before? He is really pissing me off.. I think that I should stop reading any of victorian-type of novels. Because this is ridiculous.

Also, there is another scene that shows Torvald expecting Nora to be a doll. I think he believes that Nora is a doll and she has to be perfect as a doll. And the way he described Nora was pretty creepy. But he said " I place the shawl over those fine young rounded shoulders over that wonderful curving necks." I also noticed that Torvald is obsessed with the costume. It's like the same thing as if you have a doll, you want to dress it up. When Nora and Dr. Rank talked about other party, Torvald said " find a costume for that!" So that was another scene that shows Torvald treating Nora as a doll.

Also, Dr. Rank's letter and everything about him is relate to Dr. Jeckyll or Mr. Hyde. I mean they are the same person. However, I think he is more likely Dr. Jeckyll at the beginning considering the fact that he has a good reputation in the society. And this is really scary. Because Dr. Jeckyll was so weak for a long time and when a few days before he completely shut him down, he looked so delightful and healthy. And the way Nora described Dr. Rank was so similar to that.

And also, she is rejecting herself as a doll by showing Torvald off that she is grown up and she can't be his doll anymore. I've seen a lot of scenes that shows Nora is very immature and childish in Act1; however, she is very mature and grown-up metally in Act 3.

And finally, I really like the ending! :D

Gladys
04-16-2010, 05:37 AM
Great to see someone posting on Ibsen!


There are a lot of scenes that shows Torvald treating Nora as a doll. I guess that's why it relates to the title.

Also, most Ibsen plays focus on the nature of house and home.


Because Torvald said "the performance may have been a bit too naturalistic... she made a success, an overwhelming success." So by looking at this quote, I realized that she is more calm than she used to be. Because her dance movement used to be really violent, which symbolized that she had a confusion in her mind.

Nora only becomes calm after Torvald reacts angrily to Krogstad's letter.


Also, this thing relates to the Yellow Wallpaper.

Neither yellow nor wallpaper are in the text!


Also, Dr. Rank's letter and everything about him is relate to Dr. Jeckyll or Mr. Hyde. I mean they are the same person.

Nora misjudges both Torvald and Dr. Rank, who is more pathetic than evil and debauched like Mr Hyde.


And also, she is rejecting herself as a doll by showing Torvald off that she is grown up and she can't be his doll any more.

Nora's long-standing misjudgement of Torvald is all important. She is not so much grown up as needing to spend the next year or more to grow up, at long last.

OrphanPip
04-16-2010, 07:27 AM
Also, Dr. Rank's reputation can't be all that good in the community, Nora knows from the beginning that he has Syphilis. Aside from what we can conclude about Rank's character given he is wasting away from disease, it gives us a clue about Nora being less naive than she really appears.

Gladys
04-16-2010, 06:38 PM
Also, Dr. Rank's reputation can't be all that good in the community, Nora knows from the beginning that he has Syphilis. Aside from what we can conclude about Rank's character given he is wasting away from disease, it gives us a clue about Nora being less naive than she really appears.

Is Rank's syphilis congenital? I seem to recall that his father had led a dissolute life. If so, what are we to make of Dr. Rank's character?

OrphanPip
04-16-2010, 11:09 PM
Is Rank's syphilis congenital? I seem to recall that his father had led a dissolute life. If so, what are we to make of Dr. Rank's character?

Even if it were acquired at birth there is still a symbolic significance to his wasting away from disease. In fact, I might even venture that it might be more significant if the disease was inflicted on him with no fault of his own. He is corrupted in a medical sense just as the society Nora lives in is corrupted.

He's troublesome though, he seems to just be a standard representative of the society, respectable on the outside and corrupt on the inside (and in private given he flirts with a married woman). However, it's hard to be too judgmental of him because he's unfortunately dying and he is, in a way, kind to Nora.

Gladys
04-18-2010, 04:24 AM
He is corrupted in a medical sense just as the society Nora lives in is corrupted.

Ibsen perhaps saw Nora, Rank and Torvald as victims of corrupted Norwegian society, subsisting in a doll's house. Certainly Mrs. Linde and Krogstad are society's victims. What's needed in Norway is a stocktaking, followed by a new start, and Mrs. Linde and Krogstad show the way.

For me a highpoint of A Doll's House is the decision by Mrs Linde, of all people, to let Krogstad's exposé lie in the Helmer letterbox.

OlutomilolaAsa7
04-19-2010, 12:27 AM
Even if it were acquired at birth there is still a symbolic significance to his wasting away from disease. In fact, I might even venture that it might be more significant if the disease was inflicted on him with no fault of his own. He is corrupted in a medical sense just as the society Nora lives in is corrupted.

Thomas C. Foster mentions Ibsen's A Doll House in his own book entitled How to Read Literature Like a Professor. In a chapter of the book that specifically addresses the significance of diseases in novels, Foster suggests that Ibsen included a character of great value to his main players with a scandalous disease, contracted at birth, to illustrate the abiding themes of "intergenerational tensions, responsibilities, and misdeeds" (Foster 221). I also think OrphanPip's idea of Rank's disease relating to society is a key factor in his having a scandalous, incurable (at that time) disease that causes him to waste away and die. Dr. Rank, being a doctor, is the character that readers are least likely to suspect as a syphillis victim. His contracting it, but not at the consequence of his own but his father's actions, represents the decay of the society in which A Doll House is set. In this society the sick are sent to heal the sick, and the secret infirmity is one that can be passed from generation to generation, which highlights a long-standing societal ill. Syphillis is considered an STD today, and, judging from what we know of Rank's father's track record, his father's contracting the disease sexually and passing it to him is a plausible story. The contracting of an STD in modern times is a common thing, but in literature a disease resulting from relations between a man and woman suggests a problem in the way men and women relate in society. Rank's disease could be a physical manifestation of the same problem in Torvald and Nora's home: a flaw in the way men see and use women. This is the bigger picture I think Ibsen was trying to illustrate, the disease acting as yet another illustration of a bigger problem: that society's view of women and how such a deluded view led to the poisoned minds (and bodies) of men.

Gladys
04-19-2010, 01:01 AM
This is the bigger picture I think Ibsen was trying to illustrate, the disease acting as yet another illustration of a bigger problem: that society's view of women and how such a deluded view led to the poisoned minds (and bodies) of men.

If the play before, Pillars of Society, and the play after, Ghosts, are any guide, Ibsen's target is wider than society's deluded 'view of women' and includes the petty-minded mediocrity of those with power and the appeasing behaviour of underlings, whether through ignorance (Nora) or through collusion (Dr Rank).

captlillyhook
04-19-2010, 04:29 PM
Hey...I'm not really answering the original question or responding to another comment. These are mostly responses to a post on another thread that I moved here because this thread actually concerns A Doll House.

(This first comment is in response to someone mentioning that the play being set at New Year's was ironic)

Personally, I find the fact that it takes place at New Year's quite straightforward and not exactly ironic. The closing of the story fits perfectly with the idea of a new year. Nora leaves on New Year's to start over again, and New Year's is a chance for everyone to start anew. In fact, her declarations to Torvald are almost reminiscent of a New Year's Resolution. I think New Year's is the absolute ideal setting for the novel.

captlillyhook
04-19-2010, 04:30 PM
(This comment is in response to someone discussing the use of clothes in the play)

The clothes also interested me in the play.

I agree that the clothes further the image of Nora being a doll played with by a controlling husband. I mean, her husband even orders her costume for a party. I think it's fascinating that it arrives tattered; it as almost like it has been played with too roughly by a child, possibly shaken about and ripped because of rough overuse. Torvald at times reminds me of that creepy boy in Toy Story who plays a bit to rough with his toys; while he is not violent with Nora, he uses her as a doll and does whatever he wishes with her. Perhaps if she stayed with him long enough, he might have gotten a bit nastier; his nasty side is hinted to when Nora mentions that he did not tolerate her old friends.

I also find her shawl very interesting and might use it in my World Lit. Paper. For a play with such few props, ones that are noted more than once are most likely important. It even is mentioned being used in actions in a play that involves very little stage direction. Nora seems to shield herself with the simple shawl. It is one of the few things that she takes out of the house with her. The shawl has done a better job of protecting her than her over-bearing husband.

captlillyhook
04-19-2010, 04:30 PM
Okay, this will be my final post for the day...and this one is of my own inspiration.

Krogstad. What a character. Ask anyone and they'll tell you that I'm pretty quick to defend most villians in novels. I am the girl in English who likes the characters that everyone hates...and I'm quite sure that this general rule applies to A Doll House as well.

At first I was rather disgusted by Krogstad. He is a very slimy character that is a bit difficult to swallow, somewhat like cough medicine. Then as the play progressed, little bits of information were given about him. Turns out that Krogstad isn't too much different than Nora, the heroine. We see his sins first hand unlike with Nora whose "sins" we just hear about in her conversations. However, both characters have the same motivation - their family. I think it's unfair to hate Krogstad when he is just doing what he has to to helps his kids. He's desperate and does some not so nice things...however, the same goes for Nora. She lies and manipulates, and, in the end, she leaves her family. True, I made that sound a whole lot worse than the play does, but it does need to be noted that she does those things.

Does anyone else have comments about Krogstad?

Gladys
04-20-2010, 12:34 AM
her declarations to Torvald are almost reminiscent of a New Year's Resolution


The shawl has done a better job of protecting her than her over-bearing husband.

Having read all but his early plays, I'm convinced that nothing in an Ibsen play is merely incidental. He weaves an intricate, iridescent spider's web.


I think it's unfair to hate Krogstad when he is just doing what he has to to helps his kids. He's desperate and does some not so nice things...however, the same goes for Nora. She lies and manipulates, and, in the end, she leaves her family.

I agree. Society traps and deals harshly with both of them. Krogstad forges for his family just like Nora but, unlike her, he is punished and disgraced. However, Ibsen shows us Krogstad through society's eyes!

mummu:)
04-20-2010, 01:32 AM
Now that we are currently studying A Doll House, I want to discuss the symbols that I found in Ibsen's play.

1). Candle: I think of the candle as a passage of time. At the beginning of Act II, the setting has changed where the christmas tree is out and the candles on the tree are droopy and old. The melting candles remind me of the timer with the sand that falls from one sphere into the other when flipped. The candles represent the lapsing time that Nora has until "something extraordinary happens." At the end of Act II, Nora says she has 31 hours left. The candles foreshadow the time until her 31 hours is up--I am thinking it as to do with suicide or her leaving the household. Something else that we touched on in class was how the candles now show how initially, it seemed pretty on the outside, but on the inside, it is not as good as it seems--a parallel to the Victorian lifestyle potrayed in this play. However, for the candle, I think the time symbolism fits better than the Victorian representation.

2). New Years: The play takes place around Christmas Eve, Christmas, and therefore, the approaching new year. I find this ironic because close at the end of Act III, Nora leaves Helmer because of her realization of his selfishness and realization of the flaws with the society. I think setting this play during New Years symbolizes the transformation of the new life that Nora will be living--representing the development of a new lifestyle that finally departs from the Victorian society.

3). Clothes: I may by stretching this one, but I think for some of the scenes, the clothes can be seen as symbols. Nora's costume ties in with "Doll House" title. As we read Act III, Nora begins to reference to her relationship with her father and Helmer as herself being the doll and playtoy to her husband and father. The whole costume and dress up aspect further emphasizes how Nora is the doll that is dressed up by Helmer. This also shows how the husband during this era was in complete control of the house and how the wife was completely submissive and was only a trophy to the husband.

Any other thoughts, comments, arguments? Please feel free to share! I would love to hear your input

Gladys
04-20-2010, 04:38 AM
I think of the candle as a passage of time.

Candles in 1870's Norway were just a form of lighting and, of course, Christmas tree decoration. As lighting, they would have provided a natural measure of passing time. I doubt that Ibsen intended anything symbolic here. 'The Christmas Tree is in the corner by the piano, stripped of its ornaments and with burnt-down candle-ends on its dishevelled branches' indicates that this has not been the joyous Christmas that Nora long anticipated.


The play takes place around Christmas Eve, Christmas, and therefore, the approaching new year...I think setting this play during New Years symbolizes the transformation of the new life that Nora will be living

The Christmas season apes the mood of the play. Christmas Eve is a time of hope and anticipation (Nora finally pays off her debt to Krogstad), Christmas Day a time of celebration (but not for Nora), the New Year a time for a new start (for Nora...and for Torvald?).


Nora's costume ties in with "Doll House" title.

The obsession with clothes is Torvald's.

Fire101
04-20-2010, 08:54 PM
Also, in my version of the Ibsen's play, the title is A Doll House (not possessive). Throughout the play, Nora is shown to be very similar to a doll by the fact that she was always dressed up into different costumes and forced into different activities such as dancing. Nora herself reiterates this connection when she states, "He (Nora's father) used to call me his doll child, and play with me as I played with me dolls. Then I can to live in your (Torvald's) house." From the passage it is apparent that Nora lived an inferior life where she was always controlled by a man. Similar to dolls, Nora was powerless to do anything herself and was always expected to receive permission of the owner of the doll house she lived in. Thus it is significant that the translator made the the title non-possessive as it demonstrates that due to Nora's inferior status in society, she was not able to be in possession of a house. The doll, Nora, was merely a toy whose actions, clothes, etc was to be completely controlled her father or husband. However, even though Nora was expected to be a doll by society, Nora had other desires for herself. Nora was becoming self aware and desiring independence from the doll house since her early marriage: "I locked myself in and sat writing every evening till late in the night. Ah, I was tired so often, dead tired. But still, it was wonderful fun, sitting and working like that, earning money. It was almost like being a man." Even though it was the man's duty to work and bring home money, Nora took up the responsibility of taking and paying back her loan in order to save her husband's life. Through this process, she was able to discover something new about herself. She learned that she enjoyed working, gaining money, and having responsibilities outside the home. She did not want to be an inferior doll be instead she wanted to be of an equal status to a man. Little by little, Nora was becoming self aware and independent which allowed her to "take off [her] doll's dress" and finally leave the house in order to fully discover herself.
Through the title and the play, it is apparent that both the translator and Ibsen are expressing their concerns about the position of women in society. Both the translator and Ibsen demonstrate that women have an inferior role in society which took away their independence. However, Ibsen expresses the new yet slow societal changes occurring during his time period. Even though women were still seen to be properties of males, women had different opinions and there was a rise in women's movements during the late nineteenth century. In his play, Ibsen embraces these new ideas and portrays women's rights to individuality.
What do you all think?

Gladys
04-21-2010, 12:56 AM
Even though women were still seen to be properties of males, women had different opinions and there was a rise in women's movements during the late nineteenth century. In his play, Ibsen embraces these new ideas and portrays women's rights to individuality.

I am reluctant to agree. This play is more about men and women trapped in a society lacking integrity. Mrs Linde lets the letter lie, Krogstad is redeemed, Rank succumbs, and Nora boldy acts. The big question at the end of the play is: What of Torvald?

OlutomilolaAsa7
04-21-2010, 12:48 PM
This post is of my own inspiration in looking back on Act III of A Doll House.

This Act, besides being the final Act of the play, has alot of significance as it is the first time that Nora, Torvald's doll, is removed from the room she occupies for most of the play. In her stead, Mrs. Linde becomes the leading female figure of the room, and readers are given the opportunity to learn more about her and her connection to the haunting Krogstad. It is clear from the beginning that Mrs. Linde is a lot more independent than Nora, as life has taught her to be, but it is interesting to find out that her independence goes back further in her history. Through the dialogue that Mrs. Linde has with Krogstad - in which she reminds an accusatory Krogstad that "we couldn't wait for you, Nils; you had such a long road ahead of you then" (Ibsen 95) - it becomes clear that she made the decision to abandon her plans of uniting with Krogstad, despite her love for him, for her own sake and the sake of her family. Kristine's ability to make this decision stems from a knowledge, love, and respect for self that Nora does not have. We see this same self awareness in Nora's own mother figure, nurse Anne-Marie, who had to abandon her own daughter in the hopes of providing a better life for herself. Kristine's self-respect is something that Ibsen suggests will be carried into her final union with Krogstad - even when Krogstad asks her to give up her position, she sums up her stance in saying, "Anyone who's sold herself for somebody else once isn't going to do it again" (Ibsen 95).

The presence of such self-aware and strong-willed women around her makes Nora's ultimate transformation seem somewhat overdue and inevitable.

I wonder what could have been Ibsen's motive in having these women around Nora. Even though they reaffirm the existence of the societal ideals that constrict Nora, both Kristine and Anne-Marie's lives and choices reflect the radical ideas that Nora herself professes at the play's end. Could Ibsen have allowed these women to be around Nora as catalysts for her change? To what degree does Kristine's presence around Nora, along with Nora's dialogue with Anne-Marie, influence her ultimate transformation from Torvald's doll to a real woman?

Also I wonder what kind of doll Ibsen envisioned Nora to be. A rag doll perhaps? I think maybe a marionette, as her movement and being under Torvald's control bring up visions of the Von Trap family and their yodeling marionette dols.... hmmmmmmmmm

Gladys
04-21-2010, 08:32 PM
... [Mrs. Linde] made the decision to abandon her plans of uniting with Krogstad, despite her love for him, for her own sake and the sake of her family. Kristine's ability to make this decision stems from a knowledge, love, and respect for self that Nora does not have.

To be fair to Nora, she married in circumstances decidedly more favourable than those confronting the young Christine Linde. And like Linde, the young, forging Nora risked much early in life for family.


The presence of such self-aware and strong-willed women around her makes Nora's ultimate transformation seem somewhat overdue and inevitable.

Nora's 'transformation' is triggered almost exclusively by the staggering shock of learning, after years of expectation, that Torvald was not going, was never going, to take the blame for her forgery. She learns that Torvald is not a sacrificial lamb; he's no Jesus Christ. Mrs Linde, in declining to retrieve Krogstad's letter, is merely the catalyst for Nora's transformation.


Even though they reaffirm the existence of the societal ideals that constrict Nora, both Kristine and Anne-Marie's lives and choices reflect the radical ideas that Nora herself professes at the play's end.

Nora's idea to forge her dying father's signature is just as radical, even though Nora scarcely perceived the risk. All three women are compelled to play the hand that life and society deals them. Through these women, Ibsen critiques the Norwegian society he had recently abandoned.


Also I wonder what kind of doll Ibsen envisioned Nora to be.

I think simply a plaything, a bauble, a toy.

speakup
04-21-2010, 10:00 PM
In the copy of A Doll House that our class used, the translator Rolf Fjelde makes an interesting point in the forward: "It is crucial...to note that whereas the play begins with Nora, and in time Torvald appears, after the action has run its course Nora withdraws, and the play ends with Torvald. The balance is significant" (Fjedle 24). Fjelde points this out in his attempt to discount the general notion that A Doll House (which is how he has translated the title) is a feminist play. He instead argues that the play is about the revolution of the marital relationship between husband and wife. So where Nora has to strike out on her own in order to discover herself, Torvald has to lose Nora in order to realize that all of his notions of marriage and their relationship is strictly based on societal expectations and constraints. In class today, we discussed passages that exemplified the new role of men and women versus the traditional role of men and women. Although there are plenty of passages that show the traditional and new role of women, there isn't too much about men. However, towards the end of the play, when Torvald is pleading with Nora to stay, he tells her, "I have the strength to make myself over" (Act III, line will vary based on text). This statement shows that to a degree, Torvald is willing to actually work to make Nora stay, although whether his promise would have held true or not is debatable, and is never realized. He also asks her, "But couldn't we live here like brother and sister--" (Act III), which further implies his willingness to change in order to make her stay. In class we discussed that although the relationship between brother and sister is not equal, it is more equal than the relationship between father and daughter or man and wife. In fact, the relationship between man and wife is expected to be more of a father daughter relationship. Torvald blatantly states this when he is "forgiving" Nora for committing forgery: "For a man there's something indescribably sweet and satisfying in knowing he's forgiven his wife--and forgiven her out of a full and open heart. It's as if she belongs to him in two ways now: in a sense he's given her fresh into the world again, and she's become his wife and his child as well. From not on that's what you'll be to me--you little, bewildered, helpless thing." (Act III). Therefore, when Torvald is asking Nora to live with him as brother and sister, one could interpret it as him making an attempt to concede some sort of power to her, but again, whether he actually would have is never shown. Although Ibsen does not give much instruction as to what the role of the "new man" should be in his play, he recreates the role of the man through recreating the role of the woman. It is implied that when Nora asks Torvald to sit down and talk about the situation, that if their relationship was more equal, Torvald would listen to Nora and talk it over with her. Also, when Torvald finds out about the letter, instead of throwing a temper tantrum, a more appropriate response could have been to talk about the situation with Nora and decide how to resolve it (which would be completely opposite of what Nora expected as well--considering she expected Torvald to take all of the blame and be her knight in shining armor). I do agree with the translator in that the play is about redefining the marital relationship, and not just the woman's role, but I think Ibsen focuses on the woman's role more than the man's because the woman is the victim, and therefore must stand up to her oppressor. I'm really not sure if this provides much insight at all, but I’d like to come back to it.

I would also like to discuss the role of Mrs. Linde in Act 3. First of all, she frustrates me a great deal. Although I realize that the truth would not have come out so soon without her, and she probably had the best intentions when asking Krogstad not to recall the letter, I think she should have had more regard for her friend's right to tell her husband about her own affairs herself. In a sense, Mrs. Linde is almost playing with Nora like a doll. Really, the end is completely based on Mrs. Linde's request for Krogstad to let Torvald read the letter, and if she hadn't, things would have continued on. Granted, Nora and Torvald's relationship would have deteriorated and eventually the truth would have come out, but I still don't feel like it was Mrs. Linde's place to make that decision for Nora. I also think it is significant that Mrs. Linde makes this decision, because it shows that Nora truly has no control over her situation at all, at least, until she takes control of it in the end by leaving. I also understand that in order for Nora to leave her husband and shock the audience at the end of the play, Torvald had to find out one way or another. And I guess it really just required someone else to tell him, because Nora probably would have kept the lie going because she really did not realize how bad her situation was until the "great miracle" of Torvald taking the blame didn't happen. So I am talking in circles, but I am still perturbed by Mrs. Linde's actions against her supposed "friend." It also annoys me that she went off with Krogstad, who is definitely the slimiest character in the play and the most manipulative. To a degree, I think Torvald is unaware of how cruel his treatment is to Nora, because he is true a product of society, but Krogstad is all too aware of what he is doing. Although Krogstad reveals early in the play that his reputation was ruined for committing forgery, just as Nora did, I think Krogstad probably did it more out of a grab for power and money that in an effort to protect his family. I believe Nora is vindicated in her forgery because of its intention. When she is talking to Torvald in the end about her confusion about life's moral questions she says, "I just know I see them so differently from you, I find out, for one thing, that the law's not at all what I'd thought--but I can't get it through my head that the law is fair. A woman hasn't a right to protect her dying father or save her husband's life! I can't believe that" (Act III).

fs9221
04-21-2010, 10:28 PM
The entire last part of act III is about Nora's progression toward self-awareness and her expressing this to her husband.

This is seen in the passage when Nora says, " You don't understand me. And I've never understood you either--until tonight. No, don't interrupt. You can just listen to what I say. We're closing out accounts, Torvald... We've been married now eight years. Doesn't it occur to you that this is the first time we two, you and I, man and wife, have ever talked seriously together?" (Act iii 108-109).
I found this passage significant because it shows the shift of power that has occurred once Nora realized her position, and decided to change it. This is the first scene in which Nora truly stops listening to Torvald and makes him listen to her, showing that she is now a new woman and not the traditional housewife that she had always been.

Nora's entire life before her self-awareness can be seen as a doll's life in a doll house. The title A DOLL HOUSE is significantly different from other translations that say A DOLL'S HOUSE, because the prior one refers to the entire household as a place in which everything is just perfect and right. The latter one implies that Nora, or somebody else specifically, is like a doll, rather than referring to the entire place as one.

Gladys
04-21-2010, 11:58 PM
I found this passage significant because it shows the shift of power that has occurred once Nora realized her position, and decided to change it. This is the first scene in which Nora truly stops listening to Torvald and makes him listen to her, showing that she is now a new woman and not the traditional housewife that she had always been.

This seems to overlook the crux of the play. Nora, never for a moment doubted that her moral giant, Torvald, would take the blame for her forgery on his own shoulders. This was her greatest fear: her husband as selfless scapegoat. Had Torvald taken the blame, Nora would not have rebelled. When, to the contrary, Torvald blamed and was prepared to sacrifice Nora - who had forged selflessly for him - her moral foundations and certainties collapsed around her.

This play seems more about humans struggling in 'respectable' but degenerate society than about female emancipation.

Gladys
04-22-2010, 08:18 AM
I do agree with the translator in that the play is about redefining the marital relationship, and not just the woman's role, but I think Ibsen focuses on the woman's role more than the man's because the woman is the victim, and therefore must stand up to her oppressor.

If the play is about redefining the marital relationship, are Dr. Rank, Mrs Linde and Krogstad included merely as a backdrop for the married Helmers? I think not.


I am still perturbed by Mrs. Linde's actions against her supposed "friend." It also annoys me that she went off with Krogstad, who is definitely the slimiest character in the play and the most manipulative...Although Krogstad reveals early in the play that his reputation was ruined for committing forgery, just as Nora did, I think Krogstad probably did it more out of a grab for power and money that in an effort to protect his family.

Mrs Linde, like Ibsen himself, is appalled by Nora's rotten marriage and declines to act as accomplice to prolong this marital travesty.

You're hardly fair to Krogstad. Unlike Nora, we mainly see him through the eyes of his detractors. Krogstad is an abject and desperate man, spurned by his first love, imprisoned to save his family and long shunned by his own community. Nora unjustly despises him and his boss, Torvald, is an arrogant narcissist. Mrs Linde values Krogstad, her first love, aright!

Jeremydav
04-22-2010, 12:01 PM
Krogstad is far from slimy. I would call him rather tragic. The way he responds to his problems is the way that anyone else would have, one cannot help it in desperate situations.

poet_discussion
04-23-2010, 05:42 PM
HELMER. Nora--what is this? That hard expression--
NORA. Sit down. This'll take some time. I have a lot to say.
HELMER. (sitting at the table directly opposite her). You worry me, Nora. And I don't understand you.
NORA. No, that's exactly it. You don't understand me. And I've never understood you either--until tonight. No, don't interrupt. You can just listen to what I have to say. We're closing out accounts, Torvald.
HELMER. How do you mean that?
NORA. (after a short pause). Doesn't anything strike you about our sitting her like this?
HELMER. What's that?
NORA. We've been married now eight years. Doesn't it occur to you that this is the first time we two, you and I, man and wife, have ever talked seriously together?
HELMER. What do you mean--seriously?
NORA. In eight whole years—longer even—right from our first acquaintance, we’ve never exchanged a serious word on any serious thing.
HELMER. You mean I should constantly go and involve you in problems you couldn’t possibly help me with?
NORA. I’m not talking of problems. I’m saying that we’ve never sat down seriously together and tried to get to the bottom of anything.
HELMER. But dearest, what good would that ever do you?
NORA. That’s the point right there: you’ve never understood me. I’ve been wronged greatly, Torvald—first by Papa, and then by you.
HELMER. What! By us—the two people who’ve loved you more than anyone else?
NORA (shaking her head). You never loved me. You’ve thought it fun to be in love with me, that’s all.
HELMER. Nora, what a thing to say!
NORA. Yes, it’s true now, Torvald. When I lived at home with Papa, he told me all his opinions, so I had the same ones too, or if they were different I hid them, since he wouldn’t have cared for that. He used to call me his doll child, and he played with me the way I played with my dolls. Then I came into your house—
HELMER. How can you speak of our marriage like that?
NORA. (unperturbed). I mean, then I went from Papa’s hands into yours. You arranged everything to your own taste, and so I got the same taste as you—or I pretended to; I can’t remember. I guess a little of both, first one, then the other. Now when I look back, it seems as if I’d lived here like a beggar—just from hand to mouth. I’ve lived by doing tricks for you, Torvald. But that’s the way you wanted it. It’s a great sin what you and Papa did to me. You’re to blame that nothing’s become of me.
HELMER. Nora, how unfair and ungrateful you are! Haven’t you been happy here?
NORA. No, never. I thought so—but I never have.
HELMER. Not—not happy!
NORA. No, only lighthearted. And you’ve always been so kind to me. But our home’s nothing but a playpen. I’ve been your doll-wife here, just as at home. I was Papa’s doll-child. And in turn the children have been my dolls. I thought it was fun when you played with me, just as they thought it fun when I played with them. That’s been our marriage Torvald (Ibsen, 108-10).

It is at this point that Nora finally realizes Torvald’s true self and how she had been deceiving herself to think he was any different. She begins to understand the meaning of loving someone in comparison to the idea of being in love with someone and she sees how those two concepts are very much different. By this point after Torvald’s dual reaction to Krogstad’s letters, Nora finally sees that Torvald was not the man she thought he was not did he truly love her, it was more so that he loved the idea of loving her and the idea of marriage. Nora becomes self-aware of true life after this incident and she sets out to find herself in the world around her.

Gladys
04-24-2010, 01:27 AM
In a sense, Mrs. Linde is almost playing with Nora like a doll. Really, the end is completely based on Mrs. Linde's request for Krogstad to let Torvald read the letter, and if she hadn't, things would have continued on. Granted, Nora and Torvald's relationship would have deteriorated and eventually the truth would have come out, but I still don't feel like it was Mrs. Linde's place to make that decision for Nora.

Early in the play, Ibsen takes pains to portray Christine Linde as a woman locked for years in a barren marriage. She is the only character in the play who can understand the fiasco that is Nora's marriage.

Gladys
04-24-2010, 01:48 AM
It is at this point that Nora finally realizes Torvald’s true self and how she had been deceiving herself to think he was any different.

At this point? I think rather earlier, and certainly by the end of this quotation:


Nora [trying to get free]. You shan't save me, Torvald!

Helmer [reeling]. True? Is this true, that I read here? Horrible! No, no--it is impossible that it can be true.

Nora. It is true. I have loved you above everything else in the world.

Helmer. Oh, don't let us have any silly excuses.

Nora [taking a step towards him]. Torvald--!

Helmer. Miserable creature--what have you done?

Nora. Let me go. You shall not suffer for my sake. You shall not take it upon yourself.

Helmer. No tragic airs, please. [Locks the hall door.] Here you shall stay and give me an explanation. Do you understand what you have done? Answer me! Do you understand what you have done?

Nora [looks steadily at him and says with a growing look of coldness in her face]. Yes, now I am beginning to understand thoroughly.

Helmer [walking about the room]. What a horrible awakening! All these eight years--she who was my joy and pride--a hypocrite, a liar--worse, worse--a criminal! The unutterable ugliness of it all!--For shame! For shame! [NORA is silent and looks steadily at him. He stops in front of her.] I ought to have suspected that something of the sort would happen. I ought to have foreseen it. All your father's want of principle--be silent!--all your father's want of principle has come out in you. No religion, no morality, no sense of duty--. How I am punished for having winked at what he did! I did it for your sake, and this is how you repay me.

Nora. Yes, that's just it.

Helmer. Now you have destroyed all my happiness. You have ruined all my future. It is horrible to think of! I am in the power of an unscrupulous man; he can do what he likes with me, ask anything he likes of me, give me any orders he pleases--I dare not refuse. And I must sink to such miserable depths because of a thoughtless woman!

Nora. When I am out of the way, you will be free.

Helmer. No fine speeches, please. Your father had always plenty of those ready, too. What good would it be to me if you were out of the way, as you say? Not the slightest. He can make the affair known everywhere; and if he does, I may be falsely suspected of having been a party to your criminal action. Very likely people will think I was behind it all--that it was I who prompted you! And I have to thank you for all this--you whom I have cherished during the whole of our married life. Do you understand now what it is you have done for me?

Nora [coldly and quietly]. Yes.


She begins to understand the meaning of loving someone in comparison to the idea of being in love with someone...

Nora was not so much in love, as overawed by the supposed moral rectitude of Torvald, a pillar of the community. Nora, in the text above, finally learns that Torvald and most his peers are moral pygmies.

Mocha Bean
04-27-2010, 04:36 PM
I think there were two specific symbols in Act 2 and 3. First, there is the lamp that was brought out when Nora and Dr. Rank were talking. The lamp, the giver of light, symbolizes truth and it brought out right when Dr. Rank reveals his true feelings for Nora. Also, Nora says "Aren't you ashamed now that the lamp is here?" (84). which shows how the truth shone some shame on their relationship. However, Nora asked for the lamp to be brought out, which goes along with the idea that she knew Dr. Rank had true feelings for her, and in some ways she wanted him to tell her.

A second symbol is in Act 3, when Dr. Rank talks about next year's party. He claims that he will be invisible, and goes on to say "They say there's a hat-black, huge-have you heard of the hat that makes you invisble? You put it on, and then no one on earth can see you." (103). I think that by that he is eluding to a coffin, something that is huge, black, and goes underground where no one can see it. Torvald acts like he understood, but he laughs. Nora is the only one who would understand the symbol, and this should tell her that Dr. Rank was going to die soon. The fact that he calls it a 'hat' makes it seem like death is something he can wear or put on, thereby giving him a sense of power over his own death.

Gladys
04-28-2010, 05:08 AM
A second symbol is in Act 3, when Dr. Rank talks about next year's party. He claims that he will be invisible, and goes on to say "They say there's a hat-black, huge-have you heard of the hat that makes you invisible? You put it on, and then no one on earth can see you." (103). I think that by that he is eluding to a coffin, something that is huge, black, and goes underground where no one can see it.

I prefer to imagine Nora, at next year's party, on the look out for her ill-fated, but soon-to-be invisible, friend.

rachmaninoff
04-19-2011, 12:09 AM
I thought it was interesting how Torvald calls Nora his squirrel, so I looked up squirrel symbolism. Nora really is like a squirrel! Squirrels symbolize energy, play, socialness, and resourcefulness ... all the main qualities of Nora. Another thing that caught my eye was that squirrels only gather what they require for winter. All Nora really seems to care about is money, money, and more money for herself, or at least that's what she wants people to see in her. Nora is also similar to larks, which symbolize happiness and creativity. Very clever use of symbolism.:cool:

OrphanPip
04-19-2011, 12:14 AM
I thought it was interesting how Torvald calls Nora his squirrel, so I looked up squirrel symbolism. Nora really is like a squirrel! Squirrels symbolize energy, play, socialness, and resourcefulness ... all the main qualities of Nora. Another thing that caught my eye was that squirrels only gather what they require for winter. All Nora really seems to care about is money, money, and more money for herself, or at least that's what she wants people to see in her. Nora is also similar to larks, which symbolize happiness and creativity. Very clever use of symbolism.:cool:

Those are probably at the root of why Torvald calls her those pet-names, but above that is her husband dehumanizing her and reducing her to an animal like figure. Nora cares about money, but that's a sensible thing to care about, her husband was in debt and she got a loan (illegally by signing her name in her father's place) to get the money to pay the debt. Her drive for money is part of her desire to be an individual fully participating in the social world.

But, yes Ibsen does make clever use of symbolism. Though I think the animal symbolism is being used differently.

Gladys
04-19-2011, 12:53 AM
All Nora really seems to care about is money

What better way to encourage her doting husband to give more! And squirrel it way she does: in loan repayments to Nils Krogstad. But thanks to Christina Linde, harsh winter comes too soon.

weezyhaahhh
04-20-2011, 12:01 AM
Those are probably at the root of why Torvald calls her those pet-names, but above that is her husband dehumanizing her and reducing her to an animal like figure. Nora cares about money, but that's a sensible thing to care about, her husband was in debt and she got a loan (illegally by signing her name in her father's place) to get the money to pay the debt. Her drive for money is part of her desire to be an individual fully participating in the social world.

But, yes Ibsen does make clever use of symbolism. Though I think the animal symbolism is being used differently.

I definitely agree. The use of animal symbolism definitely supports the fact that there is a heavily patriarchal culture at the time. After doing a little research for a class presentation on Norwegian banking and finance, 1879 (when the book takes and place and was written) can be considered a "transition" period for women's rights. While equal inheritance rights and legal majority for unmarried women (legal possession of finances and other things) had already been legalized prior to this time, none of this applies to Nora since she is married and falls under custody of her husband. As one of my classmates said, it was legalized "on paper" but not necessarily adopted into society. Again, we see the impact of a patriarchal society continuing its ways over newly legalized laws. Reflecting back on the use of pet symbolism, it absolutely shows Torvald's sense of control over Nora. While Ibsen is a feminist, I think the use of this symbolism portrays a negative view of society, showing the men's disrespect of women in order to promote his support for women.

Gladys
04-20-2011, 01:59 AM
While Ibsen is a feminist...

Ibsen himself, when feted for his contribution to the feminist cause, explicitly denied any such intention. I believe A Doll's House is as much about the pariah Krogstad and the thoroughly complacent Torvald as about Nora and her personal quest for freedom. Indeed, the most radical character in the play, Mrs Linde, chooses to remarry.

OrphanPip
04-20-2011, 10:35 AM
Ibsen denied the label of feminist, but he supported the individual rights of women, which by definition makes him a feminist even if he didn't want to call himself that, haha.

A Doll's House isn't a feminist political tract, but I don't think a feminist reading of Nora's position is wrong. We also shouldn't forget that Nora is the central character, and it is the fact that she chooses her individual freedom over the family at the end of the play which lead to censorship and controversy.

weezyhaahhh
04-21-2011, 12:15 AM
After reading Act One of A Doll House, the novel definitely utilizes the archetype of a hero's journey. Considering the progression of women's rights, we see Nora beginning to embark on a hero's journey. For one, Mrs. Linde begins to appear as a mentor for Nora. As an old childhood friend and elder woman, Mrs. Linde has the experience of being a woman. (Woman-to-woman mentor relationship: possibly reflecting on feminism again?) In several instances, she also refers to Nora as a child, which brings me to the hero's problem. Like a child, Nora must mature and discover herself on her hero's journey through thresholds. Nora is already in conflict with the outside world and herself. Her struggle to keep her loan from Krogstad away from Torvald raises stress within herself. Nora must dedicate time to do odd jobs instead of doing things for her family. Additionally, after hearing Torvald's thoughts on how "every breath the children take is filled with germs of something degenerate" from a parent that forges (Krogstad), Nora is haunted by her own actions and their effects on her own children (Ibsen 70). Ultimately, Nora is confronted by Krogstad's threats about her loan and her own situation as a wive with a secret and bad model for her children.


*Signet Classics Edition of Four Major Plays Volume I

Gladys
04-21-2011, 05:36 AM
Additionally, after hearing Torvald's thoughts on how "every breath the children take is filled with germs of something degenerate" from a parent that forges (Krogstad), Nora is haunted by her own actions and their effects on her own children (Ibsen 70).

A salient point here is that Torvald, a pillar of society, seems to stand, always, on the high moral ground. Late in the play, we, Ibsen's contemporaries and Nora are thunderstruck at the moral bankruptcy of Torvald. Dr Rank and Nora's father fare little better. Whereas the convicted felon, Krogstad, and the whistle-blower window, Mrs Linde, become heroes. Morality is front and centre!

Nora's desertion highlight her husband's failings.

sal7861
04-24-2011, 03:06 AM
Same here. I have a feeling that he's kind of a foil to Nora. Her actual foil is Mrs. Linde, but in the manner of how he approaches his problems shows that Nora doesn't do anything. She stays back and begs the other not to do anything while on the other hand, Krogstad approaches the problem to solve it. Nora holds back when she has the chance to tell Torvald which shows her feminist side.

sal7861
04-24-2011, 03:15 AM
In Act 2 we see Nora's behavior change towards Torvald and Dr. Rank. She becomes more tensed around Torvald and more free around Dr. Rank. It seems as if they have an affair going on or will have on later on. Dr. Rank's confession might foreshadow a relationship between Nora and Dr. Rank. Nora even mentioned that he's her "best and truest friend". This friendship might as well build up into a illegitimate relationship. Earlier on its mentioned that Nora will be dancing the Tarantella. This dance is known to be preformed to rid the pain from a tarantula's infectious bite. Nora dancing to this could symbolize her getting rid of her problems or Krogstad. Whether she gets rid of Krogstad or herself will be revealed in Act 3.

asdf99
05-05-2011, 11:54 PM
• “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.”
Shows how Nora strives to establish a perfect image for Torvalds eyes.
• From now on, forget happiness. Now it’s just about saving the remains, the wreckage, the appearance.
Throughout Act 1 and 2, Nora tries to establish a perfect home and a perfect life for other peoples eyes. Although she is not responsible for economic matters in the family, she still leads a quite difficult life with Torvald dictating almost every part of her life. After all her hard work with taking matters into her own hands and helping her husband, Torvald can’t even accept the idea that his wife had helped save his life and had taken on a bigger role in life than she was told to.
• “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.”
• "Nora, Nora! Just like a woman! But seriously, Nora, you know what I think about that sort of thing. No debts, no borrowing. There's something constrained, something ugly even, about a home that's founded on borrowing and debt."
Because of the extremely conservating time setting of the novel, many of the characters wear a mask covering their true feelings and personalities throughout the novel. The first impressions of Nora are given as that of a spendthrift and foolish woman, almost like a child. Later this first impression is undercut, with Nora’s character progressing into a rather intelligent and independent woman. Same with Torvald and Krogstead, we later find out justification for Krogsteads behavior.
• "Free. To be free, absolutely free. To spend time playing with the children. To have a clean, beautiful house, the way Torvald likes it." -Nora, Act I

Nora’s understanding of her life and true self evolves over the coarse of the play. In the first act she believes that her only goal is to keep the loan a secret from her husband and pay it off as quickly as possible, but she comes to realize that paying off the loan will not change her life and will not make her happy. She begins to question the life around her and if she is happy being married to Torvald. At the end of act 3, Nora seeks a new kind of freedom: the freedom of discovering her true self and only caring about her own ambitions, and beliefs.

Gladys
05-06-2011, 09:26 PM
Shows how Nora strives to establish a perfect image for Torvald's eyes.

Nora, though living unawares in a doll's house, always acts with integrity. Even in forging her father's signature!


After all her hard work with taking matters into her own hands and helping her husband, Torvald can’t even accept the idea that his wife had helped save his life and had taken on a bigger role in life than she was told to.

The play is very much an attack on the Torvald's and Dr Rank's of Ibsen's world.


Because of the extremely conservating time setting of the novel, many of the characters wear a mask covering their true feelings and personalities throughout the novel.

Is it different today, where you live?


Nora’s understanding of her life and true self evolves over the coarse of the play... She begins to question the life around her and if she is happy being married to Torvald. At the end of act 3, Nora seeks a new kind of freedom: the freedom of discovering her true self and only caring about her own ambitions, and beliefs.

I think rather that Nora, the simple woman of integrity, comes to see Torvald's morally bankrupt world for what it is. Ibsen's target is primarily middle class hypocrisy, and Nora's desertion is a dramatic means of highlighting that. After all, hadn't Ibsen himself for similar reasons deserted Norway for Italy, a decade before the play.

merelyjoshing
05-10-2011, 06:38 AM
Is it different today, where you live?



I think this idea of covering up emotions and true personality for the sake of appearance is a universal idea/ archetype that Ibsen is using. The general idea is the same everywhere, but it definitely influenced by culture and changing times. In Like Water for Chocolate, we saw the idea, where Mama Elena would not let Tita marry as to not look bad to the neighbors/ break tradition. This situation is influenced by the culture in different ways than in a doll house (food, revolution, etc.) I think that today, we all like to believe that we represent our true selves, but truthfully we are all still guarded and protective to some degree. This dilemma is what makes this idea such a good theme.

merelyjoshing
05-10-2011, 06:51 AM
We have talked a lot about how important the stage directions/props are. Here are some of the example that I saw:

"In the corner by the piano the Christmas tree now stands stripped of ornament, burned down candle stubs on its ragged branches" (72)
Throughout the play, the Christmas tree has been a symbol for Nora's life. At the beginning it appeared nice, and Nora was constantly trimming/decorating it to make it look better. This parallels her own effort to make herself appear nice for Torvald and society. Here, at the beginning of act 2, we see that the tree has lost its appearance. This symbol foreshadows and emphasizes the changes in Nora starting in act 2.

"from below, the sound of a door slamming shut" (114)
I think this last stage direction is important not only because it was against social norms, but because it provides further insight into the structure of the house. I may not have read something wrong, but I never really thought the one room setting of the play was on the second floor. This gives more information on the social class of Nora and Torvald too. Could it be a symbol for Nora related to the ideal "high" life? The last stage direction gives the reader (And watcher) something new to think about.

Gladys
05-10-2011, 10:48 PM
"In the corner by the piano the Christmas tree now stands stripped of ornament, burned down candle stubs on its ragged branches" (72)

For Nora, this Christmas has heralded neither long sought after presents nor, more importantly, salvation.



"from below, the sound of a door slamming shut" (114)

The door of the doll's house definitively shuts with Torvald inside.



Helmer
[sinks down on a chair at the door and buries his face in his hands]. Nora! Nora! [Looks
round, and rises.] Empty. She is gone.