Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Analysis of A Doll House

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A Doll House

Throughout the play A Doll House the character portrayed as Nora is living in a world of her own, seemingly oblivious to the noise around her almost as a child is in play. It is interesting to see that most of the play takes place in one room, and that until the last Act Nora is in every scene, like she is trapped in a domestic comfort. She was never taught or forced to bridle her imagination, until now.

There is a recurring element of the way women are seen in the context of marriage and maybe even as a parent. Torvald has a very clear definition of what he thinks a woman’s role ought to be. He believes that it is a sacred duty of a woman to be a good wife and mother. He sees women as both child-like and helpless creatures detached from reality. Torvald never tries to hides his feelings that Nora is a child, he even has pet names such as “little songbird”, “squirrel”, “lark”, “little featherhead”, little skylark”, “little person”, and “little woman”. He is very consistent with using the word “little” before all the names he calls her. These are followed by the word “my” hinting his feelings that Nora is his, an object to be owned, like a doll created just for him.

Nora’s simple approach to the world is not completely her fault. Torvald’s treating her as a small helpless child only contributes to Nora’s ignorance from reality. It is as if she only relates to the world through material objects and Torvald relates to Nora as an object to be possessed, he maintains the approach of a father rather than a husband. Because Nora is so sheltered the way she views the world is romanticized. However I do feel that Nora is partly aware of the falseness of her life, but she believes that it would upset the lies that have built her home. She doesn’t want to face the reality of things believing that material goods will make her free from care. As long as she is able to keep everyone happy the lie and fantasy can be preserved. Near the end of the play Nora is disappointed to discover that her dreams and fantasies would not be realized. Throughout the course of everything that took place Nora has been waiting for a miracle to happen, a miracle that was going to be great but terrible. She thought that when Torvald discovered the truth about the forged signature that he would give up himself to save her. But she was wrong. When she leaves she is leaving for reasons other than what she had intended in the beginning. Although she is extremely disappointed to discover that Torvald never had any intentions of giving up honor for love she is forced to look outside her imagination and listen to the noise around her, as a child does when being interrupted from his thoughts.

There are many symbols and themes involved in this play that one will easily miss if not paying attention. The play takes place during the Christmas season suggesting a time of miracles, magic and mystery. After Christmas has past all is revealed just as her secret was revealed. In the beginning of the play the Christmas tree was decorated and covered for show, in a later scene it shows both Nora and the tree stripped of their show, the tree is bare and Nora’s street clothes are lying around. Constantly Nora is in a state of fantasy, in one scene Nora is speaking with Dr. Rank, the light begins to fade and it gets dark, just as she sinks into manipulation with Dr. Rank. As soon as he reveals his feelings for her Nora is brought back into reality and out of her fantasy world and brings a lamp into the room telling Dr. Rank that he must feel silly for saying what he did in the light, or in reality. The tarantella serves as Nora’s last chance to be Torvald’s doll, to dance and amuse him.

Nora serves as a symbol for women of her time; women who were thought to be content with the luxuries of modern society with no thought or care of the world in which they lived. Nora lived in a world of her own, she was never taught or forced to bridle her imagination, until now.

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