A Doll’s House is a tale of a woman and the trials and tribulations that she faced at a time in history where women were considered less than. Nora has been shaped by her father and learned from an early age that women were a source of service to the community, as well as their husbands. Nora, like other women of the time, has been shaped by their fathers and husbands to be fragile, delicate and unable to survive without male guidance. This can be seen in the story based on the pet names that Nora’s father and husband use to refer to her. She is commonly called a doll, spendthrift, and squirrel which indicate that she is seen as breakable, emotionally fragile and is not equal to her male counterparts. Even though she is not treated as equal, she is treated very well by her husband, Tovar. He provides for her and spoils her in the same sense that her father had. He is however, demanding in the respect that he does not allow Nora to think or feel for herself. She is not allowed to be her own person and must put on acts to live happily with Tovar.
Nora finds herself in a difficult situation with Tovar and Krogstad and begins to realize that she is only following demands of others. It becomes apparent to her that she is not her own person and her only merit is being a wife. She appears to be submissive throughout the storyline, however taking a deeper look, shows some independent thinking early on. While Nora appears to be greedy with money, she is actually being very dedicated to paying off her loan. She takes on a secret job, which also shows some signs of independence, before she ultimately leaves her marriage.
Nora leaves because she feels that she has lost her soul and will be unable to be her own person in her current situation. She had struggled for some time worrying about who would take care of her and how she would survive. Through her working and paying off the loan to the bank, Nora realizes that she does not love her husband. This is the catalyst that allows her to finally break free.
Nora’s leaving was taboo at that time in history, and is still frowned upon in society. While I do not condone or agree with her leaving her children, she set out to find herself. While the relationship wasn’t necessarily physically or verbally abusive, there is something to be said about oppression within a marriage. It was difficult for her to hide her strength and abilities, simply to live in a marriage. It was not right for the children and she could have made a better choice, regarding them, but in order to live and survive, she had to leave. Otherwise she would have continued being oppressed and never truly been happy.
Everyone has to make controversial decisions at some point in their lives. Personally, I too had to make a decision that was a social/ethical struggle. At a recent employment, I witnessed my supervisor being abusive to a client. Because it was just the two of us, it was impossible for him to not know that I was the one that told on him. I struggled with the situation, because everyone else at the company thought he was a great guy. It was tough to think that he would not like me any longer, the company may take his side and that my coworkers might be really mad at me. But, I did it anyway, because it was the right thing to do. I contacted upper management and told them what happened. The company took action, and assured me that my job was not in jeopardy. The other employees never even found out and my supervisor apologized to me and said not to worry about it, that he had made a mistake. I did what was right and it turned out just as it should have!
Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House”. UNESCO Memory of the World Program. 16 May 2008.
Retrieved 12 April 2013