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    A doll's house

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    ibtihel

    Number of posts : 129
    Age : 31
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    Registration date : 2007-12-03

    A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:06 pm

    Plot Overview
    ADoll’s House opens on Christmas Eve. Nora Helmer enters her well-furnished living room—the setting of the entire play—carrying several packages. Torvald Helmer, Nora’s husband, comes out of his study when he hears her arrive. He greets her playfully and affectionately, but then chides her for spending so much money on Christmas gifts. Their conversation reveals that the Helmers have had to be careful with money for many years, but that Torvald has recently obtained a new position at the bank where he works that will afford them a more comfortable lifestyle.
    Helene, the maid, announces that the Helmers’ dear friend Dr. Rank has come to visit. At the same time, another visitor has arrived, this one unknown. To Nora’s great surprise, Kristine Linde, a former school friend, comes into the room. The two have not seen each other for years, but Nora mentions having read that Mrs. Linde’s husband passed away a few years earlier. Mrs. Linde tells Nora that when her husband died, she was left with no money and no children. Nora tells Mrs. Linde about her first year of marriage to Torvald. She explains that they were very poor and both had to work long hours. Torvald became sick, she adds, and the couple had to travel to Italy so that Torvald could recover.
    Nora inquires further about Mrs. Linde’s life, and Mrs. Linde explains that for years she had to care for her sick mother and her two younger brothers. She states that her mother has passed away, though, and that the brothers are too old to need her. Instead of feeling relief, Mrs. Linde says she feels empty because she has no occupation; she hopes that Torvald may be able to help her obtain employment. Nora promises to speak to Torvald and then reveals a great secret to Mrs. Linde—without Torvald’s knowledge, Nora illegally borrowed money for the trip that she and Torvald took to Italy; she told Torvald that the money had come from her father. For years, Nora reveals, she has worked and saved in secret, slowly repaying the debt, and soon it will be fully repaid.
    Krogstad, a low-level employee at the bank where Torvald works, arrives and proceeds into Torvald’s study. Nora reacts uneasily to Krogstad’s presence, and Dr. Rank, coming out of the study, says Krogstad is “morally sick.” Once he has finished meeting with Krogstad, Torvald comes into the living room and says that he can probably hire Mrs. Linde at the bank. Dr. Rank, Torvald, and Mrs. Linde then depart, leaving Nora by herself. Nora’s children return with their nanny, Anne-Marie, and Nora plays with them until she notices Krogstad’s presence in the room. The two converse, and Krogstad is revealed to be the source of Nora’s secret loan.
    Krogstad states that Torvald wants to fire him from his position at the bank and alludes to his own poor reputation. He asks Nora to use her influence to ensure that his position remains secure. When she refuses, Krogstad points out that he has in his possession a contract that contains Nora’s forgery of her father’s signature. Krogstad blackmails Nora, threatening to reveal her crime and to bring shame and disgrace on both Nora and her husband if she does not prevent Torvald from firing him. Krogstad leaves, and when Torvald returns, Nora tries to convince him not to fire Krogstad, but Torvald will hear nothing of it. He declares Krogstad an immoral man and states that he feels physically ill in the presence of such people.
    Act Two opens on the following day, Christmas. Alone, Nora paces her living room, filled with anxiety. Mrs. Linde arrives and helps sew Nora’s costume for the ball that Nora will be attending at her neighbors’ home the following evening. Nora tells Mrs. Linde that Dr. Rank has a mortal illness that he inherited from his father. Nora’s suspicious behavior leads Mrs. Linde to guess that Dr. Rank is the source of Nora’s loan. Nora denies Mrs. Linde’s charge but refuses to reveal the source of her distress. Torvald arrives, and Nora again begs him to keep Krogstad employed at the bank, but again Torvald refuses. When Nora presses him, he admits that Krogstad’s moral behavior isn’t all that bothers him—he dislikes Krogstad’s overly familiar attitude. Torvald and Nora argue until Torvald sends the maid to deliver Krogstad’s letter of dismissal.
    Torvald leaves. Dr. Rank arrives and tells Nora that he knows he is close to death. She attempts to cheer him up and begins to flirt with him. She seems to be preparing to ask him to intervene on her behalf in her struggle with Torvald. Suddenly, Dr. Rank reveals to Nora that he is in love with her. In light of this revelation, Nora refuses to ask Dr. Rank for anything.
    Once Dr. Rank leaves, Krogstad arrives and demands an explanation for his dismissal. He wants respectability and has changed the terms of the blackmail: he now insists to Nora that not only that he be rehired at the bank but that he be rehired in a higher position. He then puts a letter detailing Nora’s debt and forgery in the -Helmers’ letterbox. In a panic, Nora tells Mrs. Linde everything, and Mrs. Linde instructs Nora to delay Torvald from opening the letter as long as possible while she goes to speak with Krogstad. In order to distract Torvald from the letterbox, Nora begins to practice the tarantella she will perform at that evening’s costume party. In her agitated emotional state, she dances wildly and violently, displeasing Torvald. Nora manages to make Torvald promise not to open his mail until after she performs at the party. Mrs. Linde soon returns and says that she has left Krogstad a note but that he will be gone until the following evening.
    The next night, as the costume party takes place upstairs, Krogstad meets Mrs. Linde in the Helmers’ living room. Their conversation reveals that the two had once deeply in love, but Mrs. Linde left Krogstad for a wealthier man who would enable her to support her family. She tells Krogstad that now that she is free of her own familial obligations and wishes to be with Krogstad and care for his children. Krogstad is overjoyed and says he will demand his letter back before Torvald can read it and learn Nora’s secret. Mrs. Linde, however, insists he leave the letter, because she believes both Torvald and Nora will be better off once the truth has been revealed.
    Soon after Krogstad’s departure, Nora and Torvald enter, back from the costume ball. After saying goodnight to Mrs. Linde, Torvald tells Nora how desirable she looked as she danced. Dr. Rank, who was also at the party and has come to say goodnight, promptly interrupts Torvald’s advances on Nora. After Dr. Rank leaves, Torvald finds in his letterbox two of Dr. Rank’s visiting cards, each with a black cross above the name. Nora knows Dr. Rank’s cards constitute his announcement that he will soon die, and she informs Torvald of this fact. She then insists that Torvald read Krogstad’s letter.
    Torvald reads the letter and is outraged. He calls Nora a hypocrite and a liar and complains that she has ruined his happiness. He declares that she will not be allowed to raise their children. Helene then brings in a letter. Torvald opens it and discovers that Krogstad has returned Nora’s contract (which contains the forged signature). Overjoyed, Torvald attempts to dismiss his past insults, but his harsh words have triggered something in Nora. She declares that despite their eight years of marriage, they do not understand one another. Torvald, Nora asserts, has treated her like a “doll” to be played with and admired. She decides to leave Torvald, declaring that she must “make sense of [her]self and everything around her.” She walks out, slamming the door behind her.
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    ibtihel

    Number of posts : 129
    Age : 31
    Localisation : kairouan
    Registration date : 2007-12-03

    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:07 pm

    Character List
    In some editions of A Doll’s House, the speech prompts refer to the character of Torvald Helmer as “Torvald;” in others, they refer to him as “Helmer.” Similarly, in some editions, Mrs. Linde’s first name is spelled “Christine” rather than “Kristine.”
    Nora - The protagonist of the play and the wife of Torvald Helmer. Nora initially seems like a playful, naïve child who lacks knowledge of the world outside her home. She does have some worldly experience, however, and the small acts of rebellion in which she engages indicate that she is not as innocent or happy as she appears. She comes to see her position in her marriage with increasing clarity and finds the strength to free herself from her oppressive situation.
    Torvald Helmer - Nora’s husband. Torvald delights in his new position at the bank, just as he delights in his position of authority as a husband. He treats Nora like a child, in a manner that is both kind and patronizing. He does not view Nora as an equal but rather as a plaything or doll to be teased and admired. In general, Torvald is overly concerned with his place and status in society, and he allows his emotions to be swayed heavily by the prospect of society’s respect and the fear of society’s scorn.
    Torvald Helmer (In-Depth Analysis)
    Krogstad - A lawyer who went to school with Torvald and holds a subordinate position at Torvald’s bank. Krogstad’s character is contradictory: though his bad deeds seem to stem from a desire to protect his children from scorn, he is perfectly willing to use unethical tactics to achieve his goals. His willingness to allow Nora to suffer is despicable, but his claims to feel sympathy for her and the hard circumstances of his own life compel us to sympathize with him to some degree.
    Krogstad (In-Depth Analysis)
    Mrs. Linde - Nora’s childhood friend. Kristine Linde is a practical, down-to-earth woman, and her sensible worldview highlights Nora’s somewhat childlike outlook on life. Mrs. Linde’s account of her life of poverty underscores the privileged nature of the life that Nora leads. Also, we learn that Mrs. Linde took responsibility for her sick parent, whereas Nora abandoned her father when he was ill.
    Dr. Rank - Torvald’s best friend. Dr. Rank stands out as the one character in the play who is by and large unconcerned with what others think of him. He is also notable for his stoic acceptance of his fate. Unlike Torvald and Nora, Dr. Rank admits to the diseased nature (literally, in his case) of his life. For the most part, he avoids talking to Torvald about his imminent death out of respect for Torvald’s distaste for ugliness.
    Bob, Emmy, and Ivar - Nora and Torvald’s three small children. In her brief interaction with her children, Nora shows herself to be a loving mother. When she later refuses to spend time with her children because she fears she may morally corrupt them, Nora acts on her belief that the quality of parenting strongly influences a child’s development.
    Anne-Marie - The Helmers’ nanny. Though Ibsen doesn’t fully develop her character, Anne-Marie seems to be a kindly woman who has genuine affection for Nora. She had to give up her own daughter in order to take the nursing job offered by Nora’s father. Thus, she shares with Nora and Mrs. Linde the act of sacrificing her own happiness out of economic necessity.
    Nora’s father - Though Nora’s father is dead before the action of the play begins, the characters refer to him throughout the play. Though she clearly loves and admires her father, Nora also comes to blame him for contributing to her subservient position in life.
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    ibtihel

    Number of posts : 129
    Age : 31
    Localisation : kairouan
    Registration date : 2007-12-03

    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:07 pm

    hemes, Motifs & Symbols
    Themes
    Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
    The Sacrificial Role of Women
    In A Doll’s House, Ibsen paints a bleak picture of the sacrificial role held by women of all economic classes in his society. In general, the play’s female characters exemplify Nora’s assertion (spoken to Torvald in Act Three) that even though men refuse to sacrifice their integrity, “hundreds of thousands of women have.” In order to support her mother and two brothers, Mrs. Linde found it necessary to abandon Krogstad, her true—but penniless—love, and marry a richer man. The nanny had to abandon her own child to support herself by working as Nora’s (and then as Nora’s children’s) caretaker. As she tells Nora, the nanny considers herself lucky to have found the job, since she was “a poor girl who’d been led astray.”
    Though Nora is economically advantaged in comparison to the play’s other female characters, she nevertheless leads a difficult life because society dictates that Torvald be the marriage’s dominant partner. Torvald issues decrees and condescends to Nora, and Nora must hide her loan from him because she knows Torvald could never accept the idea that his wife (or any other woman) had helped save his life. Furthermore, she must work in secret to pay off her loan because it is illegal for a woman to obtain a loan without her husband’s permission. By motivating Nora’s deception, the attitudes of Torvald—and society—leave Nora vulnerable to Krogstad’s blackmail.
    Nora’s abandonment of her children can also be interpreted as an act of self- sacrifice. Despite Nora’s great love for her children—manifested by her interaction with them and her great fear of corrupting them—she chooses to leave them. Nora truly believes that the nanny will be a better mother and that leaving her children is in their best interest.
    Parental and Filial Obligations
    Nora, Torvald, and Dr. Rank each express the belief that a parent is obligated to be honest and upstanding, because a parent’s immorality is passed on to his or her children like a disease. In fact, Dr. Rank does have a disease that is the result of his father’s depravity. Dr. Rank implies that his father’s immorality—his many affairs with women—led him to contract a venereal disease that he passed on to his son, causing Dr. Rank to suffer for his father’s misdeeds. Torvald voices the idea that one’s parents determine one’s moral character when he tells Nora, “Nearly all young criminals had lying -mothers.” He also refuses to allow Nora to interact with their children after he learns of her deceit, for fear that she will corrupt them.
    Yet, the play suggests that children too are obligated to protect their parents. Nora recognized this obligation, but she ignored it, choosing to be with—and sacrifice herself for—her sick husband instead of her sick father. Mrs. Linde, on the other hand, abandoned her hopes of being with Krogstad and undertook years of labor in order to tend to her sick mother. Ibsen does not pass judgment on either woman’s decision, but he does use the idea of a child’s debt to her parent to demonstrate the complexity and reciprocal nature of familial obligations.
    The Unreliability of Appearances
    Over the course of A Doll’s House, appearances prove to be misleading veneers that mask the reality of the play’s characters and -situations. Our first impressions of Nora, Torvald, and Krogstad are all eventually undercut. Nora initially seems a silly, childish woman, but as the play progresses, we see that she is intelligent, motivated, and, by the play’s conclusion, a strong-willed, independent thinker. Torvald, though he plays the part of the strong, benevolent husband, reveals himself to be cowardly, petty, and selfish when he fears that Krogstad may expose him to scandal. Krogstad too reveals himself to be a much more sympathetic and merciful character than he first appears to be. The play’s climax is largely a matter of resolving identity confusion—we see Krogstad as an earnest lover, Nora as an intelligent, brave woman, and Torvald as a simpering, sad man.
    Situations too are misinterpreted both by us and by the characters. The seeming hatred between Mrs. Linde and Krogstad turns out to be love. Nora’s creditor turns out to be Krogstad and not, as we and Mrs. Linde suppose, Dr. Rank. Dr. Rank, to Nora’s and our surprise, confesses that he is in love with her. The seemingly villainous Krogstad repents and returns Nora’s contract to her, while the seemingly kindhearted Mrs. Linde ceases to help Nora and forces Torvald’s discovery of Nora’s secret.
    The instability of appearances within the Helmer household at the play’s end results from Torvald’s devotion to an image at the expense of the creation of true happiness. Because Torvald craves respect from his employees, friends, and wife, status and image are important to him. Any disrespect—when Nora calls him petty and when Krogstad calls him by his first name, for example—angers Torvald greatly. By the end of the play, we see that Torvald’s obsession with controlling his home’s appearance and his repeated suppression and denial of reality have harmed his family and his happiness irreparably.
    Motifs
    Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
    Nora’s Definition of Freedom
    Nora’s understanding of the meaning of freedom evolves over the course of the play. In the first act, she believes that she will be totally “free” as soon as she has repaid her debt, because she will have the opportunity to devote herself fully to her domestic responsibilities. After Krogstad blackmails her, however, she reconsiders her conception of freedom and questions whether she is happy in Torvald’s house, subjected to his orders and edicts. By the end of the play, Nora seeks a new kind of freedom. She wishes to be relieved of her familial obligations in order to pursue her own ambitions, beliefs, and identity.
    Letters
    Many of the plot’s twists and turns depend upon the writing and reading of letters, which function within the play as the subtext that reveals the true, unpleasant nature of situations obscured by Torvald and Nora’s efforts at beautification. Krogstad writes two letters: the first reveals Nora’s crime of forgery to Torvald; the second retracts his blackmail threat and returns Nora’s promissory note. The first letter, which Krogstad places in Torvald’s letterbox near the end of Act Two, represents the truth about Nora’s past and initiates the inevitable dissolution of her marriage—as Nora says immediately after Krogstad leaves it, “We are lost.” Nora’s attempts to stall Torvald from reading the letter represent her continued denial of the true nature of her marriage. The second letter releases Nora from her obligation to Krogstad and represents her release from her obligation to Torvald. Upon reading it, Torvald attempts to return to his and Nora’s previous denial of reality, but Nora recognizes that the letters have done more than expose her actions to Torvald; they have exposed the truth about Torvald’s selfishness, and she can no longer participate in the illusion of a happy marriage.
    Dr. Rank’s method of communicating his imminent death is to leave his calling card marked with a black cross in Torvald’s letterbox. In an earlier conversation with Nora, Dr. Rank reveals his understanding of Torvald’s unwillingness to accept reality when he proclaims, “Torvald is so fastidious, he cannot face up to -anything ugly.” By leaving his calling card as a death notice, Dr. Rank politely attempts to keep Torvald from the “ugly” truth. Other letters include Mrs. Linde’s note to Krogstad, which initiates her -life-changing meeting with him, and Torvald’s letter of dismissal to Krogstad.
    Symbols
    Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
    The Christmas Tree
    The Christmas tree, a festive object meant to serve a decorative purpose, symbolizes Nora’s position in her household as a plaything who is pleasing to look at and adds charm to the home. There are several parallels drawn between Nora and the Christmas tree in the play. Just as Nora instructs the maid that the children cannot see the tree until it has been decorated, she tells Torvald that no one can see her in her dress until the evening of the dance. Also, at the beginning of the second act, after Nora’s psychological condition has begun to erode, the stage directions indicate that the Christmas tree is correspondingly “dishevelled.”
    New Year’s Day
    The action of the play is set at Christmastime, and Nora and Torvald both look forward to New Year’s as the start of a new, happier phase in their lives. In the new year, Torvald will start his new job, and he anticipates with excitement the extra money and admiration the job will bring him. Nora also looks forward to Torvald’s new job, because she will finally be able to repay her secret debt to Krogstad. By the end of the play, however, the nature of the new start that New Year’s represents for Torvald and Nora has changed dramatically. They both must become new people and face radically changed ways of living. Hence, the new year comes to mark the beginning of a truly new and different period in both their lives and their personalities.
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    ibtihel

    Number of posts : 129
    Age : 31
    Localisation : kairouan
    Registration date : 2007-12-03

    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:11 pm

    hemes, Motifs & Symbols
    Themes
    Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
    The Sacrificial Role of Women
    In A Doll’s House, Ibsen paints a bleak picture of the sacrificial role held by women of all economic classes in his society. In general, the play’s female characters exemplify Nora’s assertion (spoken to Torvald in Act Three) that even though men refuse to sacrifice their integrity, “hundreds of thousands of women have.” In order to support her mother and two brothers, Mrs. Linde found it necessary to abandon Krogstad, her true—but penniless—love, and marry a richer man. The nanny had to abandon her own child to support herself by working as Nora’s (and then as Nora’s children’s) caretaker. As she tells Nora, the nanny considers herself lucky to have found the job, since she was “a poor girl who’d been led astray.”
    Though Nora is economically advantaged in comparison to the play’s other female characters, she nevertheless leads a difficult life because society dictates that Torvald be the marriage’s dominant partner. Torvald issues decrees and condescends to Nora, and Nora must hide her loan from him because she knows Torvald could never accept the idea that his wife (or any other woman) had helped save his life. Furthermore, she must work in secret to pay off her loan because it is illegal for a woman to obtain a loan without her husband’s permission. By motivating Nora’s deception, the attitudes of Torvald—and society—leave Nora vulnerable to Krogstad’s blackmail.
    Nora’s abandonment of her children can also be interpreted as an act of self- sacrifice. Despite Nora’s great love for her children—manifested by her interaction with them and her great fear of corrupting them—she chooses to leave them. Nora truly believes that the nanny will be a better mother and that leaving her children is in their best interest.
    Parental and Filial Obligations
    Nora, Torvald, and Dr. Rank each express the belief that a parent is obligated to be honest and upstanding, because a parent’s immorality is passed on to his or her children like a disease. In fact, Dr. Rank does have a disease that is the result of his father’s depravity. Dr. Rank implies that his father’s immorality—his many affairs with women—led him to contract a venereal disease that he passed on to his son, causing Dr. Rank to suffer for his father’s misdeeds. Torvald voices the idea that one’s parents determine one’s moral character when he tells Nora, “Nearly all young criminals had lying -mothers.” He also refuses to allow Nora to interact with their children after he learns of her deceit, for fear that she will corrupt them.
    Yet, the play suggests that children too are obligated to protect their parents. Nora recognized this obligation, but she ignored it, choosing to be with—and sacrifice herself for—her sick husband instead of her sick father. Mrs. Linde, on the other hand, abandoned her hopes of being with Krogstad and undertook years of labor in order to tend to her sick mother. Ibsen does not pass judgment on either woman’s decision, but he does use the idea of a child’s debt to her parent to demonstrate the complexity and reciprocal nature of familial obligations.
    The Unreliability of Appearances
    Over the course of A Doll’s House, appearances prove to be misleading veneers that mask the reality of the play’s characters and -situations. Our first impressions of Nora, Torvald, and Krogstad are all eventually undercut. Nora initially seems a silly, childish woman, but as the play progresses, we see that she is intelligent, motivated, and, by the play’s conclusion, a strong-willed, independent thinker. Torvald, though he plays the part of the strong, benevolent husband, reveals himself to be cowardly, petty, and selfish when he fears that Krogstad may expose him to scandal. Krogstad too reveals himself to be a much more sympathetic and merciful character than he first appears to be. The play’s climax is largely a matter of resolving identity confusion—we see Krogstad as an earnest lover, Nora as an intelligent, brave woman, and Torvald as a simpering, sad man.
    Situations too are misinterpreted both by us and by the characters. The seeming hatred between Mrs. Linde and Krogstad turns out to be love. Nora’s creditor turns out to be Krogstad and not, as we and Mrs. Linde suppose, Dr. Rank. Dr. Rank, to Nora’s and our surprise, confesses that he is in love with her. The seemingly villainous Krogstad repents and returns Nora’s contract to her, while the seemingly kindhearted Mrs. Linde ceases to help Nora and forces Torvald’s discovery of Nora’s secret.
    The instability of appearances within the Helmer household at the play’s end results from Torvald’s devotion to an image at the expense of the creation of true happiness. Because Torvald craves respect from his employees, friends, and wife, status and image are important to him. Any disrespect—when Nora calls him petty and when Krogstad calls him by his first name, for example—angers Torvald greatly. By the end of the play, we see that Torvald’s obsession with controlling his home’s appearance and his repeated suppression and denial of reality have harmed his family and his happiness irreparably.
    Motifs
    Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
    Nora’s Definition of Freedom
    Nora’s understanding of the meaning of freedom evolves over the course of the play. In the first act, she believes that she will be totally “free” as soon as she has repaid her debt, because she will have the opportunity to devote herself fully to her domestic responsibilities. After Krogstad blackmails her, however, she reconsiders her conception of freedom and questions whether she is happy in Torvald’s house, subjected to his orders and edicts. By the end of the play, Nora seeks a new kind of freedom. She wishes to be relieved of her familial obligations in order to pursue her own ambitions, beliefs, and identity.
    Letters
    Many of the plot’s twists and turns depend upon the writing and reading of letters, which function within the play as the subtext that reveals the true, unpleasant nature of situations obscured by Torvald and Nora’s efforts at beautification. Krogstad writes two letters: the first reveals Nora’s crime of forgery to Torvald; the second retracts his blackmail threat and returns Nora’s promissory note. The first letter, which Krogstad places in Torvald’s letterbox near the end of Act Two, represents the truth about Nora’s past and initiates the inevitable dissolution of her marriage—as Nora says immediately after Krogstad leaves it, “We are lost.” Nora’s attempts to stall Torvald from reading the letter represent her continued denial of the true nature of her marriage. The second letter releases Nora from her obligation to Krogstad and represents her release from her obligation to Torvald. Upon reading it, Torvald attempts to return to his and Nora’s previous denial of reality, but Nora recognizes that the letters have done more than expose her actions to Torvald; they have exposed the truth about Torvald’s selfishness, and she can no longer participate in the illusion of a happy marriage.
    Dr. Rank’s method of communicating his imminent death is to leave his calling card marked with a black cross in Torvald’s letterbox. In an earlier conversation with Nora, Dr. Rank reveals his understanding of Torvald’s unwillingness to accept reality when he proclaims, “Torvald is so fastidious, he cannot face up to -anything ugly.” By leaving his calling card as a death notice, Dr. Rank politely attempts to keep Torvald from the “ugly” truth. Other letters include Mrs. Linde’s note to Krogstad, which initiates her -life-changing meeting with him, and Torvald’s letter of dismissal to Krogstad.
    Symbols
    Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
    The Christmas Tree
    The Christmas tree, a festive object meant to serve a decorative purpose, symbolizes Nora’s position in her household as a plaything who is pleasing to look at and adds charm to the home. There are several parallels drawn between Nora and the Christmas tree in the play. Just as Nora instructs the maid that the children cannot see the tree until it has been decorated, she tells Torvald that no one can see her in her dress until the evening of the dance. Also, at the beginning of the second act, after Nora’s psychological condition has begun to erode, the stage directions indicate that the Christmas tree is correspondingly “dishevelled.”
    New Year’s Day
    The action of the play is set at Christmastime, and Nora and Torvald both look forward to New Year’s as the start of a new, happier phase in their lives. In the new year, Torvald will start his new job, and he anticipates with excitement the extra money and admiration the job will bring him. Nora also looks forward to Torvald’s new job, because she will finally be able to repay her secret debt to Krogstad. By the end of the play, however, the nature of the new start that New Year’s represents for Torvald and Nora has changed dramatically. They both must become new people and face radically changed ways of living. Hence, the new year comes to mark the beginning of a truly new and different period in both their lives and their personalities.
    avatar
    ibtihel

    Number of posts : 129
    Age : 31
    Localisation : kairouan
    Registration date : 2007-12-03

    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:12 pm

    Topic Tracking: Honesty

    Honesty 1: When Nora tells Mrs. Linde about the money she borrowed, she also informs her that Torvald knows nothing about it. She has been keeping this information a secret from her husband for years, and continues to do so. When Mrs. Linde questions such dishonesty, Nora explains that Torvald has such great pride, that a story like hers would damage his sensitivity and maleness.
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    Honesty 2: Nora and her two friends, Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde, urge her to do something small that Torvald forbids. He wants her to act ladylike and not eat cake nor swear. They urge her to do something opposite of he desires right under his nose. She simply cannot take the first step - in something minor - to act dishonestly towards him, despite the fact that he has already lied to him about something major - money.

    Honesty 3: Krogstad comes to the Helmer home to visit Nora, this time, instead of Torvald. He threatens to reveal the truth to Torvald, unless she protects his job at the bank. Nora is terrified of her lie escaping into the open and into Torvald's ears, and tries to convince Krogstad to reconsider. Her dishonesty towards her husband has escalated to a greater level than previously thought.

    Honesty 4: Krogstad reveals proof of Nora's ultimate dishonesty with the bond. She had forged her father's signature years earlier to get the loan to save her husband. Krogstad proves this by asking the date of her father's death and then presenting the papers that Nora signed - as her father - several days after her father's death. This lie is not only devastating to her marriage, but to society and the law. She now realizes the gravity of her situation caused by lies and dishonesty.

    Honesty 5: When Nora questions Torvald about Krogstad's character, he explains that Krogstad is a moral outcast, for he lied and forged a legal bank document. He continues to say that any household that contains lies (and dishonesty) is tainted, infecting the entire household and family with evil.

    Honesty 6: Nora lies to Dr. Rank so that she may be alone to discuss the loan with Krogstad. He tells her that he has been honest and trustworthy for nearly 18 months and cannot be pushed back into the gutter of dishonesty. He has worked too hard to become legitimate and honest, and will not be discharged by her husband. He continues to threaten to bring the Helmer family down with him, by telling Torvald the truth about the loan and the forged bond.

    Honesty 7: Kristina knows that Torvald must know the truth behind all of Nora's actions. She realizes that everything will be fine and that she had prevented Krogstad from destroying Torvald's professional reputation. Regardless, she understands that the Helmer home cannot continue as it has been. He must know the truth so that Nora can be the person she truly is, without acting as his doll, his skylark, and his scatterbrain.

    Honesty 8: Upon her exit, Kristina tells Nora that everything will be fine. However, she must tell Torvald the truth about the loan. Nora refuses, yet again, and Kristina leaves.

    Honesty 9: When the truth finally comes out through Krogstad's letter, Torvald explodes with a venomous tongue. He verbally abuses Nora, who accepts each harsh word willingly. His reaction is exactly what Nora feared when faced with honesty herself. Perhaps this reaction is the true and honest character behind Torvald, when under pressure.

    Honesty 10: Nora realizes that she has never truly been honest with herself. Although she lied to her husband about the money, she has always been lying to herself, for she has never given herself the option of discovering her own strength, personality, or independence. When she thinks of continuing to live the same life she has led with Torvald for the past eight years, she crin
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:13 pm

    Topic Tracking: Independence

    Independence 1: Nora reminisces about the past times she worked to make money. When she and Torvald were going through difficult financial times, she was forced to work a little bit. She thinks back to those times with fond memories, and also refers to her working world as acting like a man. Women are still not allowed to become independent workers.
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    Independence 2: Torvald inquires as to Mrs. Linde's marital status. Only if she is a widow, can she work independently in his bank. When he realizes that she is a widow, he can then accept her into his society and his bank as a co-worker. If she were still married, she would be unable to assert her professional independence.

    Independence 3: Nora discusses raising children with the nursemaid, Nanny. She questions her ability to leave her own family to raise her and her children. Nanny responds that it was such a great opportunity to raise Nora, that she left her own family with little problem. For better or worse, Nanny asserted independence by going after the best job at the time. Nora looks upon her with admiration and trepidation at the same time.

    Independence 4: Nora pleads for money from her husband. She does so by acting into his method of flirtation and communication, by illustrating her complete and utter dependence on him. By calling herself a skylark (and all other pet names deemed appropriate by Torvald), Nora plays into her husband's form of communication. Furthermore, she becomes dependent by begging for money from her husband, for she has no other method of getting money.

    Independence 5: Torvald cannot bear to let any form of dependence or non-individuality be exposed. He could not let it be known that any action or word would be influenced by his wife. He must act completely on his own, individually, and in his mind, independently. He does everything professionally independent of his wife's opinions, desires, and thoughts.

    Independence 6: The tarantella is a dance that showcases a single dancer - independent of those around her. Nora dances the tarantella alone, highlighting her ability to work by herself and illustrate her individual values and strengths. It is the tarantella that traces her individual abilities throughout the play, from the crazed rehearsal to the final performance at the Christmas party upstairs.

    Independence 7: Mrs. Linde suggests to Krogstad that they leave town and leave the bank and the Helmers together and form an independent team. She does not feel whole unless she works and helps others. Although this may seem like independence to her, in the sense that she must work, as an independent soul, to feel whole, she is also saying that she must work for others - dependent on their use and financial retribution - to feel whole. The two can become dependent on one another, yet independent of all others.

    Independence 8: When Dr. Rank teases Nora about coming to the next costume party as a mascot in her own daily attire, he is subtly making a strong statement about her lack of identity and independence. He is planting the seed in Nora's head that she must find her own identity and independence and stop playing the doll and the mascot to her husband.

    Independence 9: For the first time, Nora asserts her independence in spirit. She verbally expresses her own mind and opinions to Torvald. She cannot believe that she has let herself stay so dependent and childish for so long. She realizes that she has never even had a normal conversation with her husband. At this point, she speaks back to her husband as an independent person, with a brain and a personality. She knows that the next step is to assert her independence not only in thought, but in action.

    Independence 10: When Nora walks out on Torvald and her family, she has asserted the final step on her first course to independence. This active step towards independence leads her into new and uncharted territory. However, it is a place that she knows that she must enter, scared and excited at the same time. She leaves her husband to find a new and independent life on her own.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:15 pm

    Topic Tracking: Money

    Money 1: Torvald expresses his frustration with Nora over her shopping and spending habits. She goes through money entirely too quickly, rendering the family a team of spendthrifts. Nora continues to ask for money, despite Torvald's warning that he has not yet begun his new job that pays a larger salary. Nora is thrilled to have her husband earn more money than he used to, so that she can spend as freely as she desires.
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    Money 2: Nora continues to ask for money, much to Torvald's dismay. He tells her that he is worried that she inherited some bad (financial and scrupulous) traits from her father. He also treats her as a pet and a doll, as if she is extremely costly to have around. He loves buying her things, but knows that he cannot always afford to do so at her high and expensive taste.

    Money 3: Nora cannot contain her excitement at the prospect have having more spare money. She gloats to her friend about Torvald's promotion at the Savings' Bank - a center of finance and money - and how she will now have enough money to do what she wants all the time. Nora also expresses her frustration over how much money the Helmers spent while away in Italy.

    Money 4: Mrs. Linde explains to Nora why she married her late husband. It was solely because of money. He offered her security, and at that time, she desperately needed a large source of money, for her mother was ill and she had to take care of her two younger brothers. However, his finances soon depreciated and he died penniless and poor, leaving her the same.

    Money 5: Nora discusses her methods of financing the trip to Italy on her own. She borrowed money from creditors and worked a bit to pay it back. She is in constant fear of her husband discovering her secret business past, and always buys the cheapest clothing and accessories, so that she may continue to pay back her loan.

    Money 6: Money is not the only thing that Krogstad is after. Nora begs him to stay quiet and not tell Torvald about the loan. However, Krogstad no longer simply wants his money back. He wants to become the right-hand man at the bank and eventually take over Torvald's job. Money, and consequently power, are the motivating forces behind Krogstad's actions.

    Money 7: Kristina explains to Krogstad that she left him solely to marry her husband for money. She desperately needed it at that time for her mother and brothers and did not want to break up with him. She had to do it. Money dictated her actions, as it continues to do for so many people.

    Money 8: When Torvald is excused from his wife's loan and bond, he is overjoyed! The problems that the money-loan could have caused him, cost him more than a temper. They cost him his wife and his regular lifestyle.

    Money 9: Nora excuses Torvald from all financial duties he owes her as her husband. When she walks out the door, she walks away from his new large salary, comfortable home, and convenient servants. She looks forward to developing independence and her own method of making money.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:02 pm

    Major Themes

    Act I Setting:

    It is important to note that the whole play takes place in one room and that, until the last act, Nora is in every scene; she never seems to leave the room‹everything comes to her. She is literally trapped in domestic comfort.

    Also, the first Act takes place on Christmas Eve. However, though there is a great deal of talk about morality throughout the play, Christmas is never presented as a religious holiday and religion as a concept is later questioned by Nora in the third Act. In fact, it is discussed primarily as a material experience. This emphasis is similar to the general theme of the centrality of material goods over personal connection.

    Act I Women and Men:

    Women and Men:

    This play focuses on the way that women are seen, especially in the context of marriage and motherhood. Torvald, in particular, has a very clear and narrow definition of a woman's role. He believes that it is the sacred duty of a woman to be a good wife and mother. Moreover, he tells Nora that women are responsible for the morality of their children. In essence, he sees women as both child-like, helpless creatures detached from reality and influential moral forces responsible for the purity of the world through their influence in the home.

    "HEL: That is like a woman!"

    "NORA: It was like being a man."

    "HEL: Almost everyone who has gone to the bad early in life has had a deceitful mother."

    "HEL: It seems most commonly to be the mother's influence, though naturally a bad father's would have the same result."

    "NORA: Because one is a woman it does not necessarily follow that--- When anyone is in a subordinate position, Mr. Krogstad, they should really be careful to avoid offending anyone who-"

    The perception of manliness is also discussed, though in a much more subtle way. Nora's description of Torvald suggests that she is partially aware of the lies inherent in the male role as much as that of the female. Torvald's conception of manliness is based on the value of total independence. He abhors the idea of financial or moral dependence on anyone. His desire for independence leads to the question of whether he is out of touch with reality.

    "NORA: And, besides, how painful and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now." "NORA: Christine is tremendously clever at bookkeeping, and she is frightfully anxious to work under some clever man, so as to perfect herself"

    Tied to the discussion of men and women are the frequent references to Nora's father. Throughout the play, there are references to Nora's father. Furthermore, Nora is frequently equated with him, from her actions (though people think he gave Nora and Torvald the money for their trip to Italy, it was actually Nora) to her disposition. Quotations like the one below suggest that Nora does wish that she were like her father and, taking that further, male. Her desire suggests a deeper understanding of the confinement she faces than might otherwise be apparent.

    "HEL: Very like your father.

    NORA: Ah, I wish I had inherited many of Papa's qualities"

    Act I: Materialism v. People: Another central theme of this play is the importance placed on materialism rather than people. This is particularly important for Torvald, whose sense of manhood depends on his independence. In fact, he was an unsuccessful barrister because he refused to take "unsavory cases". As a result, he switched to the bank, where he primarily deals with money. In other words, money and materialism can be seen as a way to avoid the complications of personal contact.

    Act I: Images of women:

    Nora, as a symbol of woman, is called a number of names by Torvald throughout the play. These include "little songbird", "squirrel", "lark", "little featherhead", "little skylark", "little person", and "little woman". Torvald is extremely consistent about using the modifier "little" before the names he calls Nora. These are all usually followed by the possessive "my", signaling Torvald's belief that Nora is his.

    Torvald's chosen names for Nora reveal that he does not see her as an equal by any means; rather, Nora is at times predictable and silly doll and at times a captivating and exotic pet or animal, all created for Torvald.

    Act II: Light: Light is used to illustrate Nora's personal journey. After the turning point of Torvald's claim to want to take everything upon himself and while she is talking to Dr. Rank, the light begins to grow dark, just as Nora sinks to new levels of manipulation. When Dr. Rank reveals his affection, Nora is jolted out of this fantasy world and into reality and insists on bringing a lamp into the room, telling the Doctor that he must feel silly saying such things with the light on.

    Act II: The Dress:

    Nora's ball dress symbolizes the character she plays in her marriage to Torvald. Take note of when Nora is supposed to be wearing it and for whom.

    "MRS. L: I see you are going to keep up the character NORA: Yes, Torvald wants me to."

    Act II: The Tarantella:

    A tarantella is a folk dance from southern Italy that accelerates from its already quick tempo and alternates between major and minor keys. In its constant fluctuation, it is like Nora's character. In this Act, it serves as Nora's last chance to be Torvald's doll, to dance and amuse him. Also, the tarantella is commonly (and falsely) known as a dance that is supposed to rid the dancer of the bite of the tarantula. Applied to the play, its use suggests that Nora is trying to rid herself of the deadly poison of an outside force, however fruitlessly. Rather than alleviating the bite, though, the music and her life only continue to accelerate and spin out of control.

    "HEL: But, my dear Nora, you look so worn out. Have you been practicing too much? NORA: No, I have not practiced at all. HEL: But you will need to--- NORA: Yes, indeed I shall, Torvald. But, I can't get on a bit without you to help me; I have absolutely forgotten the whole thing."

    Act II: Names for Nora: Torvald continues to call Nora a number of different names, all diminutive in nature. However, it is interesting that they are less consistently animal and innocuous in nature. He calls her his "little rogue", "little skylark", "little person", "helpless little mortal", and "child".

    Act II: Money v. People:

    Images of monetary wealth appear throughout the text.

    "RANK: Lately I have been taking stock of my internal economy. Bankrupt!"

    Act III: Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde:

    The juxtaposition of their entrances at the beginning of the play (they enter together) suggests that there is something similar about the two. In fact, given both the theatrical standards of the time and the expectations of women, it is easy to see that they might be considered moral forces within the play. In fact, Dr. Rank represents the male moral figure that had been common to plays at the time that Ibsen was writing. Dr. Rank's character usually provided moral standards on which the other, more confused characters of the play could depend. However, Dr. Rank subverts this role. He is both physically and morally tainted. He is dying from a disease begotten from his father's early sexual indiscretions, his body rotting. Additionally, though he presents himself as a great friend to the Helmers, his motives are far from pure‹he is in love with Nora.

    Mrs. Linde, similarly, represents the hollowness of the role of wife and mother. Left destitute and unhappy by an unloving marriage, she has derived her livelihood from being useful to others. However, when she is left alone, she only feels empty. Her life has been based upon appeasing material wants for herself and for others and has had little to do with personal growth.

    Both Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde enter the play as influences on Nora and Torvald. Dr. Rank is a foil for Torvald's unyielding sense of morality and Mrs. Linde a foil for Nora's belief in the importance of motherhood and marriage. Over the course of the play, the problems of both Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde are solved through either death or a knowing embrace of another union of dependency. In the case of Mrs. Linde, though, it is arguable as to whether her decision to go off with Krogstad is a positive or negative decision. On the one hand, she will be entering the relationship on roughly equal footing with Krogstad; they are both dependent on the other (unlike Nora and Torvald). On the other hand, Mrs. Linde is only entering into another situation in which she derives her livelihood from taking care of others; she still has not gone through a real process of self-discovery (which Nora advocates at the end).

    Act II: Setting:

    This Act takes place on Christmas Day, after the magic and mystery of Christmas Eve has passed. As in real life, all has been revealed.

    Also, notice that Nora complains about not daring to leave the house. She is still confined to the domestic world that she knows so well.

    Act II: Women and Men::

    Torvald's belief in the importance of independence is emphasized in this Act. When confronted with Nora's pleas to change his mind about Krogstad's dismissal, he tells her that he would hate to appear to have been influenced by his wife.

    "HEL: Do you suppose that I am going to make myself ridiculous before my whole staff, to let people think I am a man to be swayed by all sorts of outside influence?" "HEL: You see I am man enough to take everything upon myself."

    Nora's father continues to be mentioned in Act II, this time as a foil for Torvald. Though Torvald has early compared Nora to her father, he insults his character.

    "HEL: My little Nora, there is an important difference between your father and me. Your father's reputation as a public official was not above suspicion. Mine is, and I hope it will continue to be so as long as I hold office." "NORA: But surely you can understand that being with Torvald is a little like being with Papa---"

    Act III: Names for Nora: By the end of the play, Torvald seems confused as to what to think of Nora‹is she a woman, a creature, or a small child? It is this uncertainty that is the basis of the discussion aspect of the act; the reader or playgoer is left to decide for him/herself. Names include: "little skylark", "fascinating, charming little darling", "my darling wife", "my little singing bird", "miserable creature", "a thoughtless woman", "my frightened little singing bird", "little, scared darling", "blind, foolish woman", and "a heedless child".
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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:03 pm

    Short Summary

    A Doll's House traces the awakening of Nora Helmer from her unexamined life of domestic comfort. Ruled her whole life by either her father or her husband, Nora must question the foundation of everything she believes in when her marriage is put to the test. Having borrowed money from a man of ill-repute named Krogstad by forging her father's signature, she was able to pay for a trip to Italy to save her sick husband's life (he was unaware of his condition and the loan, believing that the money came from Nora's father). Since then, she has had to contrive ways to pay back her loan, growing particularly concerned with money.

    When the play opens, it is Christmas Eve and we find out that Torvald has just been promoted to manager of the bank, where he will receive a big raise. Nora is thrilled because she thinks that she will finally be able to pay off the loan and be rid of it. Her happiness, however, is marred when an angry Krogstad approaches her. He has just learned that his position at the bank has been promised to Mrs. Linde, an old school friend of Nora's who has recently arrived in town in search of work, and tells Nora that he will reveal her secret if she does not persuade her husband to let him keep his position. Nora tries to convince Torvald, using all of her feminine tricks that he encourages, but is unsuccessful. Torvald tells her that Krogstad's morally corrupt nature is too repulsive to him, and impossible to work with. Nora becomes very worried.

    The next day, Nora is nervously moving about the house, afraid that Krogstad will appear at any minute. Luckily for her sake, she has the preparations for a big costume ball that will take place the next night, to preoccupy her. She converses with a concerned Mrs. Linde while Mrs. Linde repairs her dress. When Torvald returns from the bank, where he has been taking care of business, she again takes up her pleas on behalf of Krogstad. This time, Torvald not only refuses, but also sends off the notice of termination that he has already prepared for Krogstad, reassuring a scared Nora that he will take upon himself any bad things that befall them as a result. Nora is extremely moved by this comment and begins to consider the possibility of this episode transforming their marriage for the better as well as the possibility of suicide. Meanwhile, she converses and flirts with a very willing Dr. Rank. Learning that he is rapidly dying, she takes up an intimate conversation that culminates in him professing his love just before she is able to ask him for a favor (to help her with her problem). His words stop her and she steers the conversation back to safer grounds. Their talk is interrupted by the announcement of Krogstad. Nora asks Dr. Rank to leave and has Krogstad brought in. Her loaner asks tells her that he has had a change of heart and that, though he will keep the bond, he will not reveal her to the public. Instead, he wants to give Torvald a note explaining the matter so that Torvald will be pressed to help Krogstad rehabilitate himself. Nora protests Torvald's involvement, but Krogstad drops the letter in Torvald's letterbox anyway, much to Nora's horror. Nora exclaims aloud that she and Torvald are lost. However, she still tries to use her charms to prevent Torvald from reading the letter, luring him away from business by begging him to help her with her tarantella for the next night's ball. He agrees to put off business until after the tarantella is over.

    The next night, before Torvald and Nora return from the ball, Mrs. Linde and Krogstad, old lovers, reunite in the Helmer's living room. Mrs. Linde asks to take care of Krogstad and his children and to help him become the better man that he knows he is capable of becoming. The Helmers return from the ball as Mrs. Linde is leaving (Krogstad has already left), Torvald nearly dragging Nora into the room. Alone, Torvald tells Nora how much he desires her but is interrupted by Dr. Rank. The Doctor, unbeknownst to Torvald, has come by to say his final farewells, as he covertly explains to Nora. After he leaves, Nora is able to deter Torvald from pursuing her anymore by reminding him of the ugliness of death that has just come between them (Nora having revealed Dr. Rank's secret) and, seeing that Torvald has collected his letters, resigns herself to committing suicide. As she is leaving, though, Torvald stops her. He has just read Krogstad's letter and is enraged by its contents, accusing Nora of ruining his life. He pretty much tells her that he plans on forsaking her, contrary to his earlier claim that he would take on everything himself. During his tirade, he is interrupted by the maid bearing another note from Krogstad (addressed to Nora). Torvald reads it and becomes overjoyed‹Krogstad has had a change of heart and has sent back the bond. Torvald quickly tells Nora that it is all over, that he has forgiven her, and that her pathetic attempt to help him has only made her more endearing than ever. Nora, seeing Torvald's true character for the first time, sits her husband down to tell him that she is leaving him. After protestations from Torvald, she explains that he does not love her and, after tonight, she does not love him. She tells him that, given the suffocating life she has led until now, she owes it to herself to become fully independent and to explore her own character and the world for herself. As she leaves, she reveals to Torvald that she was hoping that they would be able to unite in real wedlock, but that she has lost all hope. The play ends with the door slamming on her way out.
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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:08 pm

    A Doll's House (Dover Thrift Editions)
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    Summary and Analysis of Act I

    Nora enters a late nineteenth-century living room furnished comfortably and tastefully but not extravagantly carrying a Christmas tree and presents. After she nibbles on a few macaroons, she begins unwrapping parcels. Torvald, from his study (adjacent to the living room), hears her and comes out. Nora hides her macaroons. When Torvald sees the numerous purchases Nora has made, he chastises her for being a spendthrift. Torvald's tone is of a father talking to a small child. Nora responds to Torvald's concerns by saying that money is not important and that, should it become so, they will simply borrow money until Torvald gets paid again. Torvald gently objects to the idea of being in debt. Seeing that Nora is put out by his chastisement, Torvald offers her money for housekeeping, much to Nora's excitement.

    Nora shows him the presents she has bought. Torvald then asks Nora what she would like for Christmas. After hesitating for a bit, Nora says that she would most like money. Laughing, Torvald again patronizingly accuses Nora of being a spendthrift.

    Torvald then asks if Nora has been breaking rules and eating sweets. Nora lies and denies that she has been eating macaroons, protesting that she would never go against Torvald's wishes. Torvald believes her and they begin discussing how much they are looking forward to Christmas. They reminisce about the past, including how Nora locked herself up in a room in order to surprise everyone with homemade ornaments the year before only for them to be torn up by the cat. Nora begins to talk to Torvald about her plans for after Christmas when the maid interrupts with news of visitors.

    Torvald retreats to his study where his friend Doctor Rank has gone while Nora receives Mrs. Linde, an old friend from school. At first, Nora does not recognize Mrs. Linde, who she has not seen for about a decade. The two quickly catch up on the events of their lives, including the death of Mrs. Linde's husband. Mrs. Linde reports that she feels that she has become much older but quickly asks Nora to tell her about herself. Nora happily shares that Torvald has been appointed to manager of the bank and that she is relieved that they will soon have heaps of money. Mrs. Linde, smiling, chastises Nora for fixing on money and they reminisce about Nora being a spendthrift when they were younger. Nora qualifies this comment by revealing that she and Torvald have both had to work very hard to make what they have. In fact, she reports that, early in their marriage, Torvald fell ill from overwork and they had to take a very costly vacation to Italy, paid for by Nora's father, in order to allow Torvald to recover. Nora laments the fact that, because she was looking after Torvald and expecting her first child, she could not nurse her father when he fell fatally ill just prior to their departure for Italy. Returning to the present, Nora happily reports that Torvald has been in good health ever since their trip.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:10 pm

    The two women then turn to a discussion of Mrs. Linde. At Nora's request, Mrs. Linde explains why she married her husband despite the fact that she did not love him, reporting that the draw of his financial status was too compelling, given her circumstances. Mrs. Linde reports that, unfortunately, her husband died penniless and she has had to work to make ends meet and support her relatives for the last few years. Now that her mother is dead and her brother comfortable, Mrs. Linde says that she feels empty because she has no one for whom to care. She slyly asks Nora if Torvald would be able to secure some work for her. Nora agrees.

    Mrs. Linde makes an off-hand remark about how little Nora has had to worry about in life, calling Nora a child. Nora objects, challenging Mrs. Linde's superior attitude. To prove how much she has been through, Nora shares with Mrs. Linde that, despite what she had just told her, it was actually Nora who, through a loan from an undivulged source, procured the money necessary to go to Italy and save Torvald's life. Mrs. Linde wonders aloud if Nora has not acted imprudently, having never shared this secret with her husband. Nora rejects this view, claiming that Torvald and her marriage could not sustain the knowledge of this secret. Mrs. Linde questions Nora as to whether Nora ever plans to tell Torvald. Nora replies that she may some day, if her good looks and charm wear off and she is in need of some compelling way to keep Torvald, but not for quite a while. She then launches into a description of how hard it has been to find the money she has needed to repay this loan and how happy she is that she will be free of its burden thanks to Torvald's promotion.

    The doorbell rings and the maid informs Nora that Krogstad desires to see Torvald. Nora, shocked and worried that Krogstad has come to inform Torvald of Nora's secret, questions Krogstad about his business. Krogstad assures her that it is mere bank business and so Nora assents. Mrs. Linde reveals that she once knew the man. When Krogstad goes into the study, Dr. Rank comes out to chat with Nora and Mrs. Linde.

    Discussing the human urge to sustain life, Dr. Rank grudgingly admits that he does want to preserve his own despite his physical pain resulting from a disease. He then begins to discourse on the pervasiveness of morally corrupt characters, including Krogstad. Nora feigns ignorance and inquires about Krogstad about whom Dr. Rank only has unflattering reports.

    Nora suddenly breaks out into laughter. Avoiding a direct reply to the questioning looks of Mrs. Linde and Dr. Rank, she asks if the employees of the bank will be under the power of Torvald after his promotion. She revels in the idea. Still happy, she offers a macaroon to Dr. Rank, falsely claiming that they were a gift from an unaware Mrs. Linde after Dr. Rank expresses surprise (knowing that they are forbidden). Nora then impulsively shares with Mrs. Linde and Dr. Rank that there is something that she would very much like to say if Torvald was able to hear: "I'll be damned!" Her companions' reactions are cut short, though, by the emergence of Torvald from the study.

    Hiding the macaroons, Nora introduces Torvald to Mrs. Linde after he emerges from the study. After the initial introductions and explanation of Mrs. Linde's situation, Torvald agrees to secure a bookkeeping job for her at the bank. Torvald and Dr. Rank then exit followed by Mrs. Linde, who is going off to look for a room.

    As they are leaving, the nurse enters with the children. The maid leaves for a bit and Nora proceeds to play with her children. While they are engrossed in a game of hide-and-go-seek, Krogstad knocks and half enters the room. The game abruptly stops when his presence is recognized. Nora sends the kids to the Nurse and talks to Krogstad at his request.

    Krogstad inquires whether Mrs. Linde has been given an appointment at the bank. Nora confirms this and cautions Krogstad to be careful about offending those in power since he is in a subordinate position. Krogstad then asks Nora to use her influence to ensure that he will be able to keep his own position at the bank. Nora is confused and explains that she has no influence on such matters. After making a disparaging remark about Torvald, Krogstad reveals that he is prepared to fight for his position at the bank as if for his life, implying that he will not hesitate to reveal Nora's secret. Torvald explains that his reputation at the bank, sullied by an indiscretion of the distant past, is extremely important to him because it will influence the lot of his maturing sons. Nora again replies that she has no power to influence his status. Krogstad threatens again to reveal her secret to which Nora replies that she is not worried; she believes that Torvald's knowledge would not bring great harm to the family. As a last resort, Krogstad points out the fact that Nora had committed fraud by signing her father's name for him, to which Nora admits. Nora scoffs that surely her indiscretion was not important but Krogstad calls that into question by comparing it to his own problem of the past and the potential reaction of a court of law. Nora is in disbelief that what she sees as an act of love could ever be considered illegal or wrong but is perturbed nonetheless. Krogstad threatens her one last time with legal action and leaves.

    When Krogstad leaves, Nora's children enter. Nora tells them not to mention Krogstad's visit to Torvald and reneges on her earlier promise to play with them, shooing them away. She then busies herself with needlework and asks for the Christmas tree.

    While Nora is dressing the tree and talking the problem out aloud to herself, Torvald returns and questions whether Krogstad has visited. After first denying it, Nora admits to the meeting because Torvald tells her that he believes that she is acting out of pity for a man who has come begging her to put a good word in for him to Torvald. Torvald reprimands her for participating in a lie and dealing with a man of questionable character. He then dismisses the subject.

    Nora, still dressing the tree, weaves a conversation that alternates between discussing the approaching fancy-dress ball (and asking for Torvald's help with it) and Krogstad. Torvald finally takes the bait and reveals that he plans to dismiss Krogstad because he despises Krogstad's character. Divulging that Krogstad's past indiscretion had been a forgery, Torvald admits that he would have forgiven the man had Krogstad owned up to his lie. Instead, Torvald vigorously condemns the lie that Krogstad used to escape his problem, claiming that Krogstad's hypocrisy is treacherous because it even infects his family; Torvald even goes so far as to claim that each breath that Krogstad takes necessarily pollutes his home and children. Nora mildly questions this and Torvald replies that he has often seen this sort of thing. In fact, Torvald claims that all children who go bad do so as a result of bad mothering (and perhaps fathering). Telling Nora never to pled Krogstad's case again, Torvald says that he would be unable to work with Krogstad because Torvald becomes physically ill in his presence. Nora is agitated and comments on how hot she is. Torvald, oblivious, goes off to his study to take care of business while Nora whispers to herself that the situation cannot be real.

    The Nurse asks if the children can come in and play, to which Nora strongly refuses. Left alone, Nora is pale with terror and wonders if she can really be depraving her children. As the act closes, Nora tosses her head and states that these fears cannot be true.

    Analysis

    Act I, in the tradition of the well made play in which the first act serves as an exposition, the second an event, and the third an unraveling (though Ibsen diverges from the traditional third act by presenting not an unraveling, but a discussion), establishes the tensions that explode later in the play. Ibsen sets up the Act by first introducing us to the central issue: Nora and her relation to the exterior world (Nora entering with her packages). Nora serves as a symbol for women of the 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. Indeed, there is some truth in this (the extent of this is debatable). As the play reveals, Nora does delight in material wealth, having been labeled a spendthrift from an early age. She projects the attitude that money is the key to happiness. By presenting this theme of the relationship between women and their surroundings at the beginning, Ibsen indicates to the reader that this is the most basic and important idea at work in the play.

    However, it is also clear that Nora's simplistic approach to the world is not entirely her fault. Torvald's treatment of Nora as a small helpless child only contributes to Nora's isolation from reality. Just as Nora relates to the exterior world primarily through material objects, Torvald relates to Nora as an object to be possessed. The question becomes who is more detached from reality? Though Torvald's attitude pervades every word he speaks to Nora, his objectification of her is most evident in his use of animal imagery. He refers to her as his little "lark" and "squirrel"‹small harmless animals. Similarly, Torvald repeatedly calls Nora his "little one" or "little girl", maintaining the approach of a father rather than husband. Nora is fully dependent on Torvald, from money to diet (the macaroons); and, because she is so sheltered, her perception of the world is romanticized.

    Nora's skewed vision of the world is most evident in her interactions with Mrs. Linde. Whereas her old school friend is wizened and somber, Nora is impetuous. Her choice to tell Mrs. Linde about her secret seems to be more of a boast of a small child than a thoughtful adult; in fact, Nora only reveals her secret after being called a child by Mrs. Linde. Similarly, in her talk with Krogstad, Nora seems unable to accept that what she sees as acts of love could be seen as illegal and wrong. She refuses to believe that she is just as guilty as Krogstad.

    However, it is apparent that Nora is at least partly aware of the falseness of her life. When pressed as to whether she will ever tell Torvald about the loan, she replies that she would, but only in time. For now, she believes that it would upset the lies that have built her home: Torvald's "manly independence" and even the basis of their marriage. This suggests that Nora is at least vaguely aware that Torvald's position as the manly provider and lawgiver is just as fabricated as her role as the helpless child-wife and mother. Indeed, it is important to examine the language of the opening scene between Nora and Torvald and realize that Nora's words can be read as both sincere and insincere; the text suggests an ambiguity in Nora's awareness of her situation. However, though Nora is somewhat aware, she does not want to face the implications of this reality, believing that material wealth will render her "free from care", allowing her to play with her children, keep the house beautifully, and do everything the way that Torvald likes. The lie can be preserved. Moreover, it seems that it is her lie, her knowledge that she has done something for Torvald that keeps Nora happy. Mrs. Linde's complaint that she feels unspeakably empty without anyone to care for reinforces the importance of this role for women in general in the text.

    Consequently, Nora is content to continue to act as a child, romping with her children as if she is one of them. Indeed, it is clear that, just as she is not as much a wife as a child in her marriage, she is not a mother in any real sense either. It is the nurse who actually takes care of the children; Nora mostly plays with them and occasionally takes on more serious responsibilities but only because she views them as "great fun".

    When Nora realizes that all may not go to plan after her talk with Krogstad because she is unable to either influence Torvald or talk to him on a straight level about her predicament, she begins to feel helpless. In the last scene of the act, when Nora is trimming the tree and conversing with Torvald, the full falseness of her situation becomes clear. Acting helpless, Nora tells Torvald that she absolutely needs his help, even with such a trifling thing as picking a costume for the upcoming ball. Torvald is not surprised and is even delighted, promising to help her. When the subject turns to the more serious matter of Torvald's views on Krogstad, it becomes apparent that Torvald is perhaps hopelessly invested in a false and twisted image of the world in which women are charged with the moral purity of the world, claiming that if men turn out badly it is because of poor mothering. As a result, at the end of the scene, when Nora reassures herself that "it must be impossible", she is worried both about the impossibility of her position in the immediate sense (i.e., concerning the loan) as well as the impossibility of her larger situation‹as a participant in a marriage and family built on lies. In fact, it is possible to view her last words of the act‹a defiance of Torvald's views on women‹as the beginning of her rejection of the marriage altogether.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:10 pm

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    Summary and Analysis of Act II

    The second Act begins where the first left off--Nora still pacing the living room uneasily, worried that Krogstad will expose her. Still denying the possibility of negative repercussions, Nora is interrupted by the Nurse who brings in Nora's ball dress. Nora asks if her children have been asking for her. The Nurse confirms that they have and Nora, continuing to hint at negative events yet to come, tells the Nurse that Nora will not be able to be with her children as much as before. When the Nurse comments that the children will be able to cope with such a loss, Nora wonders aloud if they would forget her altogether if she were to go away. The Nurse is shocked. Nora then asks her a question she claims to have had for a long time: how the Nurse could have felt comfortable leaving her own children among strangers while she came to work as Nora's nurse when Nora was little. The Nurse tells her that she was grateful for such a good position and, given her financially unstable situation (and her dislike of her husband), something she could not pass up. Nora further probes if the Nurse's daughter, as a result of her absence, had forgotten the Nurse. Nurse says no. Nora throws her arms around the Nurse, telling the Nurse what a wonderful mother she had been for her. Nora also begins to say that she is sure that the Nurse would also be a wonderful mother to Nora's children if they were suddenly without a mother but dismisses her thought as silly and sends the Nurse back to the children, turning the conversation to the ball.

    While alone, Nora unsuccessfully tries to concentrate on the ball and forget the problem of the possibility of Krogstad revealing her secret. She is interrupted by Mrs. Linde's arrival. Happy to see her, Nora asks Mrs. Linde to help her repair her dress for the ball the next evening. While sewing, Mrs. Linde thanks Nora for her hospitality and begins to ask about Dr. Rank and whether he is usually as depressing as he had been the day before. Nora reports that, as Mrs. Linde expected, he had been particularly bad and explains to her friend that Dr. Rank suffers from a very dangerous consumption of the spine that he has had from childhood; Nora hints that Dr. Rank's problem is the result of his father's sexual indiscretions (though it is unclear as to whether Nora is really hinting and aware of the fact that they were sexual in nature). Shocked by Nora's understanding of the matter, Mrs. Linde drops her sewing and asks Nora how it is that she knows of such things. Nora dismisses Mrs. Linde's inquiry by telling her that the married women friends that occasionally stop by have a good knowledge of medical problems. Resuming her sewing, Mrs. Linde quietly continues her probe of Nora's relationship with Dr. Rank, asking Nora if he is often at the house. Nora replies that Dr. Rank is a good friend of both her and Torvald and stops by the house daily. Curious about Dr. Rank's motives as well as his familiarity with Mrs. Linde's name (and Torvald's lack of familiarity), Mrs. Linde asks Nora to describe her relationship with the Doctor. Nora confesses that, because of Torvald's own tastes, she does often tell Dr. Rank things that she does not share with Torvald. Suspicious of Dr. Rank, Mrs. Linde, citing her superior experience and knowledge of the world, counsels Nora to end her relationship with Dr. Rank. Puzzled, Nora asks Mrs. Linde exactly what it is that she should be ending. Mrs. Linde explains that she is afraid that Dr. Rank is the rich admirer who Nora described the day before as a potential source of money. Interrupting her, Nora clarifies that such a man does not exist. Still pursuing her line of thought, Mrs. Linde calls Dr. Rank tactless and tells Nora that it is obvious that he is the man from whom Nora has borrowed money. Nora denies this, but muses on the potential help that a man could bring to rectifying the situation. Sensing a change in Nora's disposition, Mrs. Linde asks Nora what has happened in the last day. Hearing Torvald approaching, Nora does not answer and asks Mrs. Linde to retire to another room with her sewing, explaining that Torvald dislikes seeing dressmaking. Mrs. Linde obliges Nora but warns her that she will not leave the house until Nora explains what has happened.

    Torvald enters and asks if it was the dressmaker who had just left. Nora tells him that it was Mrs. Linde and replies that he must be very pleased that she had taken his advice to ask Mrs. Linde for help. Scoffing at the idea that he should be pleased that his wife had done his bidding, he excuses himself, saying that she will probably want to be trying on her dress. Nora remarks that she expects that he will retire to the study with his work. As he leaves, Nora stops him, asking him repeatedly if he would do something for his "little squirrel" or "skylark" if she were to act very "prettily", dancing and singing for him. Torvald answers that, despite these promises, he would still like to hear what the deed would be before he agrees. While Nora continues to promise that she will act like a fairy and dance for him in the moonlight, he abruptly asks her if she is making her request from earlier‹the appeal to not fire Krogstad. When Nora confirms that she is, begging him to reconsider, Torvald grows angry, observing that it is Krogstad's post that he has promised Mrs. Linde; Torvald implies that he is annoyed that Nora seems to think that he would change his mind simply because of Nora's promise to Krogstad. Nora interrupts him, telling him that it is not just her promise that makes the matter so urgent-- she is concerned that Krogstad will besmirch their name in the newspapers. Torvald, thinking that Nora is afraid of libel because of past experiences with her father's name being trashed in the newspapers after his death, reassures Nora that, unlike her father, he is beyond reproach. Nora again pleads, warning that men like Krogstad are certainly capable of contriving things to bring harm to their happy, snug home. Torvald finally replies that Nora's pleas make it all the more impossible for him to change his mind; what would happen to his reputation if word got out that he had reversed his decision simply because of his wife's entreaties? Moreover, Torvald argues that Krogstad is not only morally corrupt, but he also takes advantage of their early childhood friendship to speak to him in what Torvald believes to be an inappropriately familiar manner. Torvald believes that this would make his position as manager intolerable. Incredulous, Nora tells Torvald that he surely must not be so narrow-minded. Angry at being called narrow-minded (which Nora tries to qualify), Torvald orders the maid to send Krogstad his dismissal which Torvald has already composed. Horrified, Nora begs him to call the letter back, warning Torvald that he must do it for the sake of the marriage and family. Torvald says it is too late and Nora agrees. Torvald then launches into a speech on how insulting he finds Nora's alarm but concludes by telling her that he forgives her because her worries are surely only an expression of her great love for him. He assures her that, come what may, he will have the courage to take upon him anything and everything that happens. Nora is particularly intrigued and horrified by this statement and asks Torvald to clarify. He simply repeats that he will take upon everything that comes their way. Nora states that that will never happen. Torvald interprets her statement as a desire to share the burdens as husband and wife and assures her that this is what he has in mind as well. He then dismisses the whole topic, asking her if she feels better and telling her to go back to practicing her dancing for the next night's ball in the tone of a father figure. He also instructs her to direct Dr. Rank to his study, leaving her for work.

    Alone, Nora is bewildered with anxiety, whispering the cryptic statement: "he was capable of doing it. He will do it. He will do it in spite of everything. No, not that! Never, never! Anything rather than that! Oh, for some help, some way out of it!" The doorbell interrupts her monologue. Pulling herself together, she welcomes Dr. Rank with whom she converses while it falls dark. Nora detains him from Torvald for a while, telling him that, unlike the busy Torvald, she always has time for him. Dr. Rank replies that he will make as much use of her time as possible. Confused by his statement, Nora asks him to clarify his meaning, asking him if there is anything likely to happen between them. Dr. Rank enigmatically answers that nothing will happen for which he has not long been prepared, though he had not expected anything to happen so soon. Nora, alarmed, grips her friend by the arm, demanding him to tell her what he has found out. Sitting down, Dr. Rank reveals that he expects that he will be dead within a month. Nora is relieved that Dr. Rank has actually been talking about himself and not her own situation and comments on the ugliness of the matter. Dr. Rank agrees and asks Nora to prevent Torvald from entering Rank's sickroom once Rank knows that he is about to enter the final stages of death because Rank does not want Torvald to witness the ugliness of the disease since he knows that Torvald's refined nature gives Torvald an unconquerable disgust of everything ugly. Nora, upset by his pessimistic and ugly tone, comments that she had hoped that he would be in good spirits today. Rank scoffs at the idea of being in good humor (pun probably not intended) when he knows that he is dying for the sins of his father. Besides, he says, such revenge for indiscretion is being exacted in every household. Unclear as to what Rank is talking about, Nora comments that Rank's father must have eaten a lot of unhealthy foods and alcohol when he was younger. The conversation (it is unclear as to whether the two have really understood each other throughout the exchange) peters out with Nora commenting that the biggest tragedy has been that Dr. Rank has not been able to enjoy these pleasures himself. Dr. Rank is intrigued by this nebulous statement and makes a small exclamation. The conversation becomes confused and degenerates into a comment on the silly moods that two are in. Nora, rising and placing her hands on Dr. Rank's shoulders, comments that she and Torvald would hate to lose Dr. Rank to death. Dr. Rank replies that those who are gone are easily forgotten, piquing Nora's interest. Dr. Rank, explaining the matter, observes that Mrs. Linde has already begun to replace him. Nora tells him to be quiet and promises that, if he is nice, she will dance the next day and he will be able to imagine that it is all for him (and, as a quick qualifier, Torvald as well). Nora, continuing (consciously or unconsciously) to flirt with the Doctor, pulls out a pair of silk stockings to show him. They banter a bit about how much leg Nora will have to show him for him to form an opinion of the stockings. Dr. Rank comments on the great deal of intimacy and comfort he has enjoyed with the Helmers and how he would like to leave some token of appreciation for their generosity before he passes away. Nora, interested, begins to ask him about doing her a big favor when Dr. Rank reveals that he is in love with her and would give his life for her, saddening Nora and deterring her from pursuing the favor. Nora, chastising Dr. Rank for making such a comment, leaves the room to bring in a lamp. Steering the conversation back to safer territory, Nora explains why she loves Torvald but seems to enjoy her time with Dr. Rank more. While she is observing how similar her relationship with Torvald is with that of her deceased father, the maid enters with the news that Krogstad is in the house and refuses to leave until he sees Nora. Dr. Rank, unaware of the circumstances, retires to Torvald's study, buying Nora's explanation that she has just received a new dress about which she would prefer Torvald not know.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:11 pm

    Temporarily alone while the maid fetches Krogstad, Nora comments to herself that "this dreadful thing is going to happen! It will happen in spite of me! No, no, no it can't happen‹it shan't happen!"

    When Krogstad enters, Nora tells him to speak low, warning him that Torvald is home. Krogstad, unperturbed, asks her for an explanation of his dismissal. Nora replies that she did her best pleading his case, but could not sway her husband. Krogstad, assuming that Nora told him everything, comments that Torvald must love her very little to have made such a decision. Nora informs him that Torvald does not know anything about the matter, inspiring Krogstad to make a few derogatory remarks about Nora's husband. Settling down a bit, Krogstad asks Nora if she now has a clearer idea of what she has done than the day before. Nora replies that she does indeed. In fact, she says that she understands more than Krogstad could ever teach her and asks him what he wants of her. Krogstad replies that, despite the words exchanged in their last meeting, he has in fact been concerned about her and wants to know how she is doing. He informs her that he will not make the matter public, but will keep it between he, Nora, and Torvald. Nora protests that Torvald must not know but Krogstad replies that, even if she did have the money to pay the outstanding balance on the loan, he would still need to engage her husband. He also tells her that he will still not part with the bond and counsels her not to think of running away or committing suicide (to which Nora admits considering) because she will not be publicly exposed. To Nora's continued protests, Krogstad explains that he must involve Torvald because his intent is to ask Torvald not for money but for help in rehabilitating himself. Krogstad predicts that, with Torvald's help, he will soon replace Torvald as the manager of the bank. Nora, horrified, threatens him not to do any such thing. Brushing off her threats, he leaves her with the reminder that he holds her reputation in his power and the observation that it is Torvald's actions that have forced Krogstad to act this way again. He then exits and drops his letter to Torvald into the locked letter box for which only Torvald has a key.

    Mrs. Linde enters with the dress as Nora watches Krogstad put the letter in the box. Nora seizes Mrs. Linde and reveals her problem, asking her friend to be her witness in case anything should befall Nora. She insists that Mrs. Linde tell everyone that Nora was not insane and, more importantly, was completely responsible for everything. Mrs. Linde, confused, tells Nora that she does not understand what Nora is talking about, prompting Nora to observe that "How should you understand it? A wonderful thing is about to happen," leaving Mrs. Linde even more confused. Nora elaborates, explaining that this wonderful thing is also terrible and "musn't happen for all the world". Mrs. Linde offers to go to Krogstad and convince him to ask for the letter back using her old amorous connection with him as a method of persuasion. Nora says that it is hopeless. However, while Torvald begins knocking on the door, asking to enter, Mrs. Linde resolves to go to Krogstad and exits quickly. As she leaves, Nora unlocks the door for Torvald and Dr. Rank. The two men are surprised because they expected Nora to be trying on her dress. Torvald observes that Nora looks worn out and asks her if she has been practicing too much. Nora replies that she has not been practicing at all and, in fact, she is incapable of practicing without Torvald because she cannot seem to remember anything without him. Hoping to distract him long enough to solve the letter problem, she asks him to help her all day and night until the ball. Torvald agrees. However, before they begin to practice, he begins to go out to the letterbox to check for mail. Nora, afraid, stops him by playing the first bars of the Tarantella she is going to dance; she lures him to play for her and correct her while she dances (Dr. Rank, until now an observer, eventually takes over at the piano so Torvald can stand and correct Nora better). Her dancing is wild, growing more so as it continues until her hair has come all undone. While Nora is still dancing, Mrs. Linde returns and observes to Nora that she is dancing like her life depended on it, to which Nora agrees. Torvald eventually calls everything to a halt, chastising Nora for having forgotten everything he has taught her. Nora replies that she has indeed forgotten everything and needs his help to relearn the dance. She tells him that he must not think of anything else, especially not any letters. Torvald, catching on a bit, remarks that he can tell from her behavior that there is a letter from Krogstad waiting for him. Nora responds that she does not know, but that there might be; she implores him not to let anything horrible come between them until "this is all over". Dr. Rank whispers to Torvald that Torvald must not contradict her and Torvald takes her into his arms, calling her a child that must have her way. He promises to work with her until after the ball but says that, after that, he will be free (the words of Nora). They then all retire to dinner, Nora calling for lots of macaroons. As they leave, Torvald and Dr. Rank exchange a few words on Nora's state of mind, making it clear that they have discussed it before. Dr. Rank, concerned, asks if Nora is expecting something, but Torvald dismisses the concerns as evidence of childish nervousness. They exit.

    Alone, Mrs. Linde tells Nora that Krogstad has gone out of town. Nora seems unconcerned, telling Mrs. Linde that she should not have bothered because nothing should impede the "wonderful" thing that Nora claims will soon happen. Mrs. Linde presses Nora to explain this wonderful thing, but Nora dismisses her questions, telling her she would not understand and sends Mrs. Linde into the dining room. Nora alone, composes herself, and checks the time. She observes that she has thirty-one hours to live (until after the tarantella). Torvald's voice is then heard asking for his "little skylark" and the Act ends with Nora going to him with outstretched arms.

    Analysis

    Whereas Act I set up the initial invasion of reality into Nora's world and the rattling of the basic underpinnings of the falseness of Nora's life (i.e., marriage and motherhood), Act II eventually sees her set up a test that will determine whether or not her world is false. In other words, she is confronted with the fact that Torvald will find out about her lie but believes that, if he is the man she thinks he is, his discovery will only strengthen their marriage. Her reaction to Krogstad finally dropping his letter in the letter box is the climax of the play. In the traditional well made play, this would be followed by a unraveling and moral resolution of the dilemma set up in the first act and brought to head in the second. However, Ibsen deviates from this mold, turning the third act into a discussion.

    At the beginning of the second Act, before the climax, Nora is still trying to confront the fact that her world can be touched and shattered. Though she is shaken, she still believes that her family and her material comforts will protect her. However, she is worried enough about the matter that she has already begun to consider the idea of both running away and committing suicide (though she admits that she does not have the courage for this last part). Luckily, the ball temporarily distracts her. This ball is extremely important for Nora because, through the costumes and dance, she is able to embrace the basic elements of the basis of her relationship with Torvald that she is still trying to preserve; she can sing and dance for him as a lovely creature. Mrs. Linde refers to Nora's dress as her "fine feathers" reinforcing the general perception of Nora as a non-human entity, a creature free of cares. In fact, the dress itself serves as a potent symbol of Nora's "character". Like Nora, it is torn and in need of repair. However, as in real life, Nora feels she is incapable of fixing the problem herself, giving the dress to Mrs. Linde to mend. The idea of the dress serving as a symbol for Nora's everyday mask is reinforced when Nora reports that Torvald dislikes seeing dressmaking in action. In other words, Torvald enjoys the character that Nora adopts but has no desire to see its origins, the real Nora.

    Indeed, Nora tries to maintain her relationship with Torvald, unsuccessfully attempting to manipulate him on behalf of Krogstad through playing the part of his innocent and darling creature. One of the key turning points of the play comes when Torvald tells her that, come what may, he will take everything upon himself. Whereas before, Nora merely sought to find some way to avoid this disaster, now the idea that this episode may prove the strength of her marriage has been planted in her head. An important quotation to look at is Nora's remarks after she is left alone that "He was capable of doing it. He will do it. He will do it in spite of everything. No, not that! Never, never! Anything rather than that! Oh, for some help, some way out of it!" One way to read this is as a comment on Krogstad's actions‹that he will reveal her after all. Another way to read this statement is as a commentary on Torvald's decision to fire Krogstad and the problems it will cause. Still another way to read this is as concern that Torvald will take responsibility for her actions as he promised.

    After this realization, Nora begins to act a bit more daring than before, using her awareness of the possibility of Dr. Rank's affection to manipulate him. When things go too far for her, however, and he admits that he is in love with her, she can not continue, her manipulation ruined by the blatant statement of reality. After all, Dr. Ranks' revelation that he, like Torvald, would give his life to save Nora's ruins her belief that Torvald's position is somehow unique.

    Nora's hopes of averting disaster are dashed when she sees Krogstad drop the letter into Torvald's box. Perhaps already aware of the inherent problems of the relationship, she exclaims that all is lost for her and Torvald as Krogstad deposits the letter. Nora's fear, now that she knows that there is no turning back, is that the "wonderful thing" will happen: that Torvald will try to take this all upon himself and that, by knowing what she has done for him, they will become equal partners in the marriage. Nora both fears this and wishes for it. But, Nora is not ready to face this just yet. She wants to act out her last chance to be a creature for Torvald, dancing the tarantella. It is only after this dancing that she consents to letting him free. Interestingly, her last statement that she only has thirty-one hours to live can be read two different ways. On the one hand, it can be interpreted as saying that she plans on committing suicide in order to free Torvald from having to take the responsibility on himself; she would die knowing that she had once again saved his life. On the other hand, it may be a comment only that her life as she knows it will be over and that, in thirty-one hours, she will have to embark upon a new, radically different life because her relationship with Torvald will be over.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:11 pm

    Summary and Analysis of Act III

    Act III opens with Mrs. Linde ostensibly trying to read in the living room the next night. As the sounds of dance music suggest, Torvald and Nora are upstairs at the ball. Mrs. Linde is waiting for Krogstad so that she can talk to him about Nora's predicament. When Krogstad arrives, he and Mrs. Linde turn almost immediately to a discussion of why Mrs. Linde jilted him for her now-deceased husband many years ago. Mrs. Linde explains that, though she questioned her decision many times, she had to pursue her former husband's money given the number of people that depended on her at the time for their livelihood. Krogstad reveals that her departure left him a shipwrecked man clinging to wreckage. Mrs. Linde replies that, like him, she is now a shipwrecked woman clinging to wreckage and asks if it would not be smart if they should join forces. She tells him that he is the reason that she came to town and that, since he believes that he could be a better man with her and she wants a family to look after, they should be together. The music of the tarantella is heard above and Mrs. Linde urges Krogstad to be quick. Krogstad grows suspicious, questioning Mrs. Linde as to whether she is saying all of this simply on behalf of Nora (i.e., to get him to take the letter back); she denies it and he offers to take the letter back. However, she urges him not to, admitting that this had been her original intention. She tells him that, since her first discovery of the problem the day before, she has witnessed enough in the house to convince her that Torvald must read the letter. Mrs. Linde observes that, in order for a complete understanding between Nora and Torvald (which she believes to be key to a successful marriage), all secrets must be revealed. Krogstad leaves, promising Mrs. Linde that he will meet her in a few minutes. Mrs. Linde, hearing Nora and Torvald coming, prepares to leave, commenting on what a difference having people to care for makes in her life.

    Still in costume (Nora as a Capri maiden and Torvald in evening wear and a domino), Torvald brings Nora into the room, almost by force. She is trying to get him to return to the ball for as long as possible. Torvald refuses, citing their earlier agreement. They greet Mrs. Linde, who explains that she had stayed up in order to see Nora in her dress. Torvald brags about how lovely Nora looks, describing his wife's successful evening. He tells Mrs. Linde that Nora danced the tarantella marvelously, if a bit too realistically for proper artistic appreciation, and that he tried to make her exit (after such a success) equally artistic by ushering her around the room for a last bow and then disappearing into the night; he complains that Nora did not appreciate his attempts. Torvald then goes off to light some candles and air out the house a bit, leaving Nora the chance to ask Mrs. Linde for news from Krogstad. Mrs. Linde tells Nora that Nora must tell Torvald everything. Nora is not shocked and simply thanks Mrs. Linde and tells her that she now knows what she must do.

    Torvald returns and gives a short speech on the merits of embroidery over knitting to Mrs. Linde who has forgotten her knitting. Mrs. Linde soon leaves, and Torvald exclaims that he is happy that she is finally gone, calling her a bore. Nora then asks Torvald if he is tired, telling him that she is quite sleepy. Torvald replies that he is in fact, quite awake; moreover, he has been waiting to be alone with his wife all evening. He calls her beautiful and fascinating, telling her that she is his treasure‹all his. Nora tells him that he must speak that way to her tonight, but he only finds this more alluring, observing that she must still have the tarantella in her blood. He then launches into an explanation of why he pretends not to know her at parties: he is fantasizing about meeting and seducing her for the first time; in fact, while they are leaving, he pretends that she is his new bride about to be his for the first time. Nora tries to push him off much to Torvald's confusion and displeasure.

    They are interrupted, however, by Dr. Rank who Torvald earlier claimed had been in quite high spirits all night. Annoyed but pretending to be delighted, Torvald welcomes the Doctor into the room. The three talk about the ball and all its finery. Unknown to Torvald, Dr. Rank reveals to Nora through his conversation that he has made his final diagnosis today and that he will soon die. Dr. Rank elaborates on how much he has enjoyed himself this evening, telling them how much he has indulged in the wine and sights; he also asks Torvald for a cigar, further indulging himself. Dr. Rank eventually leaves, with Nora wishing him a good sleep. Torvald, still unaware, comments on what he believes to be Dr. Rank's drunkenness and begins to head out to empty the mailbox so that the morning paper will be able to fit. Nora unsuccessfully tries to stop him. At the mailbox, Torvald is surprised to find that someone has tried to pick the lock with one of Nora's hairpins. Nora tells him that it must have been one of the children and Torvald tells her to keep them away from the box.

    Torvald is surprised to find two letters from Dr. Rank, one of which has a black cross through his name. Torvald comments on the morbidity of such a mark and Nora confirms that it is their friend's way of announcing his death. Torvald briefly muses on the sadness of losing their friend but concludes that it is probably better for both Dr. Rank and for he and Nora, for now he and his wife are quite alone. Torvald embraces Nora, telling her how much he cares for her. In fact, he says, he wishes that he could somehow save her from some great danger so that he could risk everything for her sake. Nora disengages herself from his embrace and tells him in a resolved tone that he must now read his letters. Torvald replies that he would much rather be with her, but Nora questions whether this would be appropriate given Dr. Rank's news. Torvald assents that something ugly has come between them because of the news and that it would be best to spend the night apart. Nora hangs on his neck and tells him good night and Torvald goes off to read his letters in another room.

    Alone, Nora prepares to rush off to commit suicide by jumping into the icy depths of the river, throwing on Torvald's domino and her shawl. As she bids adieu to her family and rushes out the door, Torvald hurries out of his room and stops her, letter in hand. Torvald asks her if she knows what is in the letter but Nora still tries to leave, telling him that he "shan't save" her. Torvald stops her, locking the door, and continues to wonder out loud how this could be true, dismissing her pleas that all was done out of love and protests that he will not suffer at her hands. When Nora realizes, however, that Torvald has no intention of taking the burden the problem upon himself and only blames Nora for ruining his life (claiming that he should have probably seen this coming given the character of her father), she grows still. Torvald only continues to berate her and her character, going on about how horrible it is that the actions of a thoughtless woman could ruin his life, prompting Nora to only grow colder. Not allowing Nora to speak, Torvald begins to speculate about their future, saying that they will keep up appearances but, of course, Nora will not be allowed near the children nor will their marriage be maintained.

    He is interrupted by the maid, who is bearing a note from Krogstad to Nora. Torvald intercepts the letter and reads it himself, learning that Krogstad has had a change of heart and has sent back the bond. Torvald, overjoyed, shouts, "I am saved," prompting Nora to ask whether she is as well. Having a change of heart, Torvald replies that she is also saved. Overcome with relief, he comments on how hard this all must have been for Nora and tells her that he has forgiven her; he tells her that he will think of it only as a bad dream and that, in his mind, it is all over. Realizing perhaps that Nora is not having the same reaction, Torvald explains to her that he knows that she did this all out of love and that he can forgive her because he also knows that, as a woman, she is unequipped to make the proper decisions. In fact, he tells her that her helplessness and full dependency on him make her all the more endearing to him. Nora thanks him for his forgiveness and leaves the room to take off her ball dress.

    As she is removing her dress, Torvald stands in the doorway and muses about the comfort of their home and how much he wants to and will protect her, assuring her that everything will soon be as it was before. He tells her that the helplessness of a wife makes the wife even more attractive to a husband because she becomes both a wife and child, doubly his own. And, he continues, when a husband forgives a wife, he gives her new life and becomes even closer to her.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:13 pm

    As he is promising to be her will and conscience, he notices that she has changed not into bed clothing but into everyday clothing. Torvald is confused. Nora explains to him that she shall not sleep tonight and asks him to sit down with her at the table for a serious "settling of accounts". Alarmed, Torvald tells her that he does not understand her. Nora agrees, telling him that he has never understood her and that, before tonight, she has never understood him. Torvald asks what she means. Rather than replying directly, Nora points out the fact that, in their eight years of marriage, they have never before sat down to have a serious discussion. Torvald protests that such conversations would not have made sense, given Nora's interests. Nora tells him that she has been greatly wrong by both her father and her husband. Shocked, Torvald asks how this could be possible given that they are the men who have loved her the most. Shaking her head, Nora corrects him, telling him that he has never loved her but has only thought it pleasant to be in love with her. She explains to him that, just as her father did, Torvald has treated her as a doll to be played with, arranging everything to suit himself and forcing her to live only to entertain him. As a result, she has not made anything of her life or even ever been truly happy. Torvald agrees to this analysis, though he qualifies it as exaggerated and strained, and tells her that, from now on, he will stop playing with her and start educating her. Nora refuses, observing that he is not the man to educate her; after all, only a few minutes before, he had told her that she was unfit to raise her children. Nora tells him that she agrees with him about her inability; she acknowledges that she first needs to educate herself before she tries to educate the children and tells him that this is why she is going to leave him. Torvald, shocked, jumps out of his chair, calling her mad and trying to prevent her from leaving. She calmly rebuffs his attempts to forbid her, telling him that she will go to her old home tomorrow. Torvald accuses her of neglecting her "most sacred duties" as wife and mother, refusing to acknowledge Nora's opinion that her duty to herself as a reasonable human being is just as sacred, if not more so. Torvald, at a loss, first appeals to her sense of religion and then morality, both of which Nora shoots down by explaining that she has never had a chance to examine and embrace these things on her own and, as a result, does not know if she agrees with them. Torvald, unable to sway her, tells her that all that he can conclude is that she does not love him. Nora, apologetic, agrees with him, telling him that he lost her love earlier tonight and that, because of this, she cannot stay in the house. She tells him that her love was lost because the wonderful thing did not happen: he did not refuse Krogstad's conditions and try to take all the blame upon himself (which Nora says she would have refused anyway). Torvald replies that, though he would gladly work day and night for her, he would never assent to jeopardizing his honor for a loved one. Nora simply replies that many wives have done just that. Torvald dismisses her words as those of a heedless child. Admitting the possibility of this, Nora describes his selfish perspective and her own horror at earlier realizing that she had lived with and borne children with a stranger for eight years. Sad, Torvald observes that an abyss has opened up between them but asks if there is not a way to fill it up. Nora refuses, telling him that they will both be better off apart. Still trying to appease him, she tells him that she hereby releases him from all obligations to her; she says that there must be perfect freedom on both sides.

    Resigned to her leaving, Torvald begs to stay in contact with her, assisting her when she is in need. Nora rejects his offers, telling him that she could never accept anything from a stranger. Torvald then asks her if he could ever be anything more than a stranger to her. Nora replies that that would only be possible if "the most wonderful thing in the world" were to happen but that she no longer believed in the possibility of them. Torvald, still hopeful, presses her for what this would be. She explains that they would both have to be so changed that their life together would be a real wedlock and leaves. Sinking down into a chair with his hand in his face, Torvald moans her name. He then looks up and observes how empty the room has become without her. The play ends with the thought of the most wonderful thing of all flashing across Torvald's hopeful mind followed by the sound of a door shutting below.

    Analysis

    Act III is extremely important in A Doll's House. Rather than presenting the traditional unraveling of the well made play, it confronts the reader or viewer with a discussion of the themes presented in the first two acts. The act is also the deciding point of Nora's life: will the "wonderful thing" happen or not? It begins with a foil for Nora and Torvald's marriage. In fact, Mrs. Linde and Krogstad's decision to be together can be seen as ironic in the context of Nora and Torvald's marriage because, though Mrs. Linde and Krogstad both suffer from significant personal and moral problems, they have a better chance of a happy and true marriage than Nora and Torvald. Mrs. Linde advocates revealing all to Torvald because, as her union with Krogstad suggests, she believes that it is possible to build a relationship of mutual dependence of unformed characters as long as both parties are fully aware of each other's motives. Mrs. Linde hopes that, through this union, both she and Krogstad can become the better people they know that they can be.

    The extent of Torvald's investment in a fantasy world and the importance of Nora's false characterization is revealed when he describes how, at parties, he pretends not to know her so that he may seduce her all over again. And, perhaps more importantly, Nora is quite candid about her understanding of all this, telling him flatly that she knows.

    It is important to notice that Nora's time at the party has been the first time that she has left the confines of the one room in the entire play. Moreover, she has to be dragged back in. This suggests that it is Torvald's own desires to have Nora entertain him that necessarily forces Nora to journey into the real world. Also, it is interesting to note that she also temporarily leaves the room to exchange her party dress for everyday clothing, her first lone foray from the room. This new trend is the beginning of her final departure from the room‹a departure that ends the play, shattering the values that had supported the walls of the house.

    But, when she leaves for the final time, she is leaving for reasons other than what she had intended at the beginning of the Act. Before Torvald confronts her with the letter, she is on her way to commit suicide, determined that Torvald should not have to sacrifice his life for hers. She considers this the appropriate thing to do because she believes that he would willingly give his life for hers as well. In this way, they have an equal relationship. However, she is extremely disappointed to discover that he clearly has no intention of sacrificing himself for her. Instead of refusing to abide by Krogstad's demands and taking the blame on himself, Torvald accuses Nora of ruining his life, telling her that she will no longer be able to see her children or maintain their marriage except in public appearances. Nora even asks him whether he would give his life for her and her fears are confirmed when he answers that he would never sacrifice his honor for a loved one. Consequently, Nora resolves to leave Torvald, aware that true wedlock is impossible between them because neither of them loves the other, or is even capable of doing so. Nora realizes that, before she can be a wife, she must first discover herself through venturing out into the world. She leaves an unformed soul, determined to become a full person rather than the doll of the male figures in her life.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:52 pm

    Major Characters

    Torvald Helmer: Torvald Helmer is an businessman who has recently been promoted to the position of Manager of the Savings Bank. A scrupulous man, Torvald lives his life according to society's norms - both professionally and personally. He treats his wife, Nora, like a beautiful and treasured doll, who he can dress up, exhibit, and love externally. Torvald was extremely ill several years earlier and recovered in Italy. As the Manager of the Bank, he will earn more money, but still hopes to save some of it so that the family will not want in the future.

    Nora Helmer: Nora Helmer is Torvald's beautiful young wife, who loves to spend money, dress in elegant clothing, and take care of her children. She wants to keep her life as easy and simple as it appears to be at the onset of the play. Despite the appearance she tries to convey, Nora holds a deep secret that threatens to destroy her happy home as she knows it. When the truth comes out that she borrowed money to save her husband years earlier, her financial and personal doom is imminent. She tries to save face, her husband, and family's reputation, but eventually discovers that she has been living in a doll's house her entire life.

    Dr. Rank: Dr. Rank is a close personal friend of the Helmers who visits on a daily basis. He has no family or offspring to support, so he has amassed a large savings account. He dislikes Nils Krogstad and hides his deep feelings for Nora. Dr. Rank is the man who helped Torvald regain his strength and health years earlier and has since become part of the family. He is the confidante and friend of both Nora and Torvald. Nora feels as if she can speak with Dr. Rank in a way she can never speak to her own husband.

    Kristina (Mrs.
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    Linde): Kristina (Mrs. Linde) is an old school-friend of Nora's from their youth. Although they have not seen each other in several years, they instantly rekindle their friendship. Kristina, a widow of a loveless marriage, has come to Nora to beg her husband for a job. She and Nils Krogstad shared a romance in the past, and she ended it to marry her late husband for a large sum of money. At the Helmers, Kristina becomes Nora's confidante and helper as she tries to resolve her problems with Krogstad, the bank, and her husband. She believes Nora must be truthful with her husband and develop a sense of independence, as she has done.

    Nils Krogstad: Nils Krogstad is a barrister at the bank in which Torvald works. He is a man of loose scruples who has lied and forged documents in the past, losing the respect of Torvald and his co-workers. Although he tries to start his life anew in complete honesty, he is also at risk for losing his job. Torvald plans to give his old job to Mrs. Linde. When Krogstad discovers such news, he threatens to tell Torvald that he is the man who lent Nora the money years earlier, destroying everyone's lives. Furthermore, Mrs. Linde had a romance with Krogstad in the past. Because of her influence on him, she tries to help Nora by urging Krogstad to drop his threats.

    Minor Characters

    The Helmer children: The three Helmer children run around the house during the course of the play. Nora plays with them and constantly wants to give them presents. They are the binding force between Nora and Torvald.

    Anna-Maria (nurse/Nanny): The nurse, Anna-Maria, brings news to Nora about the mail and callers. Years earlier, she left her own child and family to raise Nora in a wealthy setting, and now is the trusty nursemaid to Nora's own children. She discusses family and finances with Nora.

    Housemaid: The housemaid helps the Helmers with the housework, mail, and callers.

    Porter: The porter helps run the Helmer household and delivers letters for them, including those to and from Krogstad.

    Nora's father: Although he never makes a physical presence during the play, Nora's father's influence is felt throughout its course. Torvald repeatedly brings up his loose morals and past scandals to compare them to Nora.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:53 pm

    Objects/Places

    The tarantella: The tarantella is an Italian dance that Nora performs at the neighbor's holiday party on Christmas. She rehearses it throughout the play, using its intense music at times to delay Torvald from discovering the truth of her past actions, and other times to play the dutiful doll to her doting husband.

    Italy: The Helmers spend a substantial period of time in Italy while Torvald regains his health and recuperates from his illness. Nora finances this expensive medical R&R, although Torvald believes her father is the man behind the money. It is this trip that pushes Nora into the deal with Krogstad.

    The Bank: When Torvald is promoted in the bank, he becomes the manager and is in charge of hiring and firing employees. He plans to fire Krogstad after discovering of his past lies and forgeries.
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    He intends to hire Mrs. Linde in his place.

    Torvald's Study: Torvald often retires to his private study when he wants quiet study and discussion time with friends. Nora generally stays in the living room when speaking with friends. Dr. Rank typically walks into Torvald's study when he wants to speak with him privately. It is also the location of Krogstad's initial visit to Torvald.

    Living Room: The entire action of the play takes place in the open living room of Nora and Torvald Helmer. People walk in and out and have access to both the staircase and Torvald's studio from this central room.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:56 pm

    A Doll's House (Dover Thrift Editions)
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    Major Themes

    Act I Setting:

    It is important to note that the whole play takes place in one room and that, until the last act, Nora is in every scene; she never seems to leave the room‹everything comes to her. She is literally trapped in domestic comfort.

    Also, the first Act takes place on Christmas Eve. However, though there is a great deal of talk about morality throughout the play, Christmas is never presented as a religious holiday and religion as a concept is later questioned by Nora in the third Act. In fact, it is discussed primarily as a material experience. This emphasis is similar to the general theme of the centrality of material goods over personal connection.

    Act I Women and Men:

    Women and Men:

    This play focuses on the way that women are seen, especially in the context of marriage and motherhood. Torvald, in particular, has a very clear and narrow definition of a woman's role. He believes that it is the sacred duty of a woman to be a good wife and mother. Moreover, he tells Nora that women are responsible for the morality of their children. In essence, he sees women as both child-like, helpless creatures detached from reality and influential moral forces responsible for the purity of the world through their influence in the home.

    "HEL: That is like a woman!"

    "NORA: It was like being a man."

    "HEL: Almost everyone who has gone to the bad early in life has had a deceitful mother."

    "HEL: It seems most commonly to be the mother's influence, though naturally a bad father's would have the same result."

    "NORA: Because one is a woman it does not necessarily follow that--- When anyone is in a subordinate position, Mr. Krogstad, they should really be careful to avoid offending anyone who-"

    The perception of manliness is also discussed, though in a much more subtle way. Nora's description of Torvald suggests that she is partially aware of the lies inherent in the male role as much as that of the female. Torvald's conception of manliness is based on the value of total independence. He abhors the idea of financial or moral dependence on anyone. His desire for independence leads to the question of whether he is out of touch with reality.

    "NORA: And, besides, how painful and humiliating it would be for Torvald, with his manly independence, to know that he owed me anything! It would upset our mutual relations altogether; our beautiful happy home would no longer be what it is now." "NORA: Christine is tremendously clever at bookkeeping, and she is frightfully anxious to work under some clever man, so as to perfect herself"

    Tied to the discussion of men and women are the frequent references to Nora's father. Throughout the play, there are references to Nora's father. Furthermore, Nora is frequently equated with him, from her actions (though people think he gave Nora and Torvald the money for their trip to Italy, it was actually Nora) to her disposition. Quotations like the one below suggest that Nora does wish that she were like her father and, taking that further, male. Her desire suggests a deeper understanding of the confinement she faces than might otherwise be apparent.

    "HEL: Very like your father.

    NORA: Ah, I wish I had inherited many of Papa's qualities"

    Act I: Materialism v. People: Another central theme of this play is the importance placed on materialism rather than people. This is particularly important for Torvald, whose sense of manhood depends on his independence. In fact, he was an unsuccessful barrister because he refused to take "unsavory cases". As a result, he switched to the bank, where he primarily deals with money. In other words, money and materialism can be seen as a way to avoid the complications of personal contact.

    Act I: Images of women:

    Nora, as a symbol of woman, is called a number of names by Torvald throughout the play. These include "little songbird", "squirrel", "lark", "little featherhead", "little skylark", "little person", and "little woman". Torvald is extremely consistent about using the modifier "little" before the names he calls Nora. These are all usually followed by the possessive "my", signaling Torvald's belief that Nora is his.

    Torvald's chosen names for Nora reveal that he does not see her as an equal by any means; rather, Nora is at times predictable and silly doll and at times a captivating and exotic pet or animal, all created for Torvald.

    Act II: Light: Light is used to illustrate Nora's personal journey. After the turning point of Torvald's claim to want to take everything upon himself and while she is talking to Dr. Rank, the light begins to grow dark, just as Nora sinks to new levels of manipulation. When Dr. Rank reveals his affection, Nora is jolted out of this fantasy world and into reality and insists on bringing a lamp into the room, telling the Doctor that he must feel silly saying such things with the light on.

    Act II: The Dress:

    Nora's ball dress symbolizes the character she plays in her marriage to Torvald. Take note of when Nora is supposed to be wearing it and for whom.

    "MRS. L: I see you are going to keep up the character NORA: Yes, Torvald wants me to."

    Act II: The Tarantella:

    A tarantella is a folk dance from southern Italy that accelerates from its already quick tempo and alternates between major and minor keys. In its constant fluctuation, it is like Nora's character. In this Act, it serves as Nora's last chance to be Torvald's doll, to dance and amuse him. Also, the tarantella is commonly (and falsely) known as a dance that is supposed to rid the dancer of the bite of the tarantula. Applied to the play, its use suggests that Nora is trying to rid herself of the deadly poison of an outside force, however fruitlessly. Rather than alleviating the bite, though, the music and her life only continue to accelerate and spin out of control.

    "HEL: But, my dear Nora, you look so worn out. Have you been practicing too much? NORA: No, I have not practiced at all. HEL: But you will need to--- NORA: Yes, indeed I shall, Torvald. But, I can't get on a bit without you to help me; I have absolutely forgotten the whole thing."

    Act II: Names for Nora: Torvald continues to call Nora a number of different names, all diminutive in nature. However, it is interesting that they are less consistently animal and innocuous in nature. He calls her his "little rogue", "little skylark", "little person", "helpless little mortal", and "child".

    Act II: Money v. People:

    Images of monetary wealth appear throughout the text.

    "RANK: Lately I have been taking stock of my internal economy. Bankrupt!"

    Act III: Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde:

    The juxtaposition of their entrances at the beginning of the play (they enter together) suggests that there is something similar about the two. In fact, given both the theatrical standards of the time and the expectations of women, it is easy to see that they might be considered moral forces within the play. In fact, Dr. Rank represents the male moral figure that had been common to plays at the time that Ibsen was writing. Dr. Rank's character usually provided moral standards on which the other, more confused characters of the play could depend. However, Dr. Rank subverts this role. He is both physically and morally tainted. He is dying from a disease begotten from his father's early sexual indiscretions, his body rotting. Additionally, though he presents himself as a great friend to the Helmers, his motives are far from pure‹he is in love with Nora.

    Mrs. Linde, similarly, represents the hollowness of the role of wife and mother. Left destitute and unhappy by an unloving marriage, she has derived her livelihood from being useful to others. However, when she is left alone, she only feels empty. Her life has been based upon appeasing material wants for herself and for others and has had little to do with personal growth.

    Both Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde enter the play as influences on Nora and Torvald. Dr. Rank is a foil for Torvald's unyielding sense of morality and Mrs. Linde a foil for Nora's belief in the importance of motherhood and marriage. Over the course of the play, the problems of both Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde are solved through either death or a knowing embrace of another union of dependency. In the case of Mrs. Linde, though, it is arguable as to whether her decision to go off with Krogstad is a positive or negative decision. On the one hand, she will be entering the relationship on roughly equal footing with Krogstad; they are both dependent on the other (unlike Nora and Torvald). On the other hand, Mrs. Linde is only entering into another situation in which she derives her livelihood from taking care of others; she still has not gone through a real process of self-discovery (which Nora advocates at the end).

    Act II: Setting:

    This Act takes place on Christmas Day, after the magic and mystery of Christmas Eve has passed. As in real life, all has been revealed.

    Also, notice that Nora complains about not daring to leave the house. She is still confined to the domestic world that she knows so well.

    Act II: Women and Men::

    Torvald's belief in the importance of independence is emphasized in this Act. When confronted with Nora's pleas to change his mind about Krogstad's dismissal, he tells her that he would hate to appear to have been influenced by his wife.

    "HEL: Do you suppose that I am going to make myself ridiculous before my whole staff, to let people think I am a man to be swayed by all sorts of outside influence?" "HEL: You see I am man enough to take everything upon myself."

    Nora's father continues to be mentioned in Act II, this time as a foil for Torvald. Though Torvald has early compared Nora to her father, he insults his character.

    "HEL: My little Nora, there is an important difference between your father and me. Your father's reputation as a public official was not above suspicion. Mine is, and I hope it will continue to be so as long as I hold office." "NORA: But surely you can understand that being with Torvald is a little like being with Papa---"

    Act III: Names for Nora: By the end of the play, Torvald seems confused as to what to think of Nora‹is she a woman, a creature, or a small child? It is this uncertainty that is the basis of the discussion aspect of the act; the reader or playgoer is left to decide for him/herself. Names include: "little skylark", "fascinating, charming little darling", "my darling wife", "my little singing bird", "miserable creature", "a thoughtless woman", "my frightened little singing bird", "little, scared darling", "blind, foolish woman", and "a heedless child".
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:10 pm

    A Doll’s House
    Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

    Main Characters

    Torvald Helmer - He is a lawyer who has been promoted to manager in the bank.

    Nora - She is Torvald’s wife who is treated like a child by Torvald’s but leaves in the end because of it.

    Krogstad - He is the man Nora borrowed money from to pay for the trip to Italy.

    Dr. Rank - He is an admirer of Nora who has spinal TB and announces his death at the end of the play.

    Minor Characters

    Christine Linde - She is an old friend of Nora who comes to Nora and asks her to ask her husband for a job.

    The children - Nora plays with her children and treats them like dolls.

    Setting

    Helmer’s Apartment - The entire play takes place at the apartment

    Torvald’s study - a door leads from the stage into an imaginary room which is Torvald’s study where some off-stage action takes place.

    Ballroom - This is where Nora danced the Tarantella.

    Plot

    The story starts on Christmas eve. Nora makes preparation for Christmas. While she eats macaroons, Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde enters. Rank goes to speak with Torvald while Linde speaks with Nora. Linde explains that her husband has died and that she needs to find a job. Nora agrees to ask her husband to give Linde a job at the bank. Nora tells her about borrowing money to pay for the trip to Italy for her and her husband. She explains that Torvald doesn’t know that she paid for it. Rank leaves the study and begins to speak with Nora and Linde. He complains about the moral corruption in society. Krogstad arrives and goes to the study to talk to Torvald about keeping his job. A few minutes later, he leaves and Rank comments that Krogstad is one of the most morally corrupt people in the world. Rank and Linde leaves and Krogstad reenters. He tells Nora to ask her husband to keep Krogstad, or else he will reveal Nora’s crime of forgery. Krogstad leaves and when Torvald reenters, Nora asks him not to fire Krogstad. Torvald says that he must fire him because of his dishonesty and because he gave Krogstad’s job to Linde. Torvald returns to his study. The Nurse, Anne-Marie, enters and gives Nora her ball gown. Anne-Marie explains that she had to leave her children to take the job taking care of Nora. Anne-Marie leaves. Linde returns and begins to help Nora with stitching up her dress. They talk for a while about Dr. Rank. Torvald enters and Linde leaves to the nursery. Nora asks Torvald again not to fire Krogstad and Torvald refuses. He gives Krogstad’s pink slip to the maid to be mailed to Krogstad. Torvald leaves to his study. Rank enters and tells Nora about his worsening illness. They talk and flirt for a while. Rank tells Nora that he loves her. Nora said that she never loved Rank and only had fun with him. Rank leaves to the study and Krogstad enters. He is angry about his dismissal and leaves a letter to Torvald explaining Nora’s entire crime in the letter box. Nora is frightened. Nora tells Linde about the matter and Linde assures her that she will talk to Krogstad and set things straight. Linde leaves after Krogstad and Rank and Torvald enter from the study. They help Nora practice the tarantella. After practice, Rank and Torvald exists. Linde enters and tells Nora that Krogstad left town, but she left a note for him. Nora tells her that she’s waiting for a miracle to happen. That night, during the dance, Linde talks to Krogstad in Helmer’s apartment. She explains to him that she left him for money, but that she still loves him. They get back together and Krogstad decides to forget about the whole matter of Nora’s borrowing money. However, Linde asks Krogstad not to ask for his letter back since she thinks Torvald needs to know of it. Both leave and Torvald and Nora enter from the dance. Torvald checks his letter box and finds some letters and two Business cards from Dr. Rank with black crosses on them. Nora explains that they mean that Rank is announcing his death. After the bad news, Torvald enters his study and Nora prepares to leave. However, before she can get out the door, she is stopped by Torvald who read Krogstad’s letter. He is angry and disavows his love for Nora. The maid comes with a letter. Torvald read the letter which is from Krogstad. It says that he forgives Nora of her crime and will not reveal it. Torvald burns the letter along with the IOU that came with it. He is happy and tells Nora that everything will return to normal. Nora changes and returns to talk with Helmer. She tells him that they don’t understand each other and she leaves him.

    Symbols

    black hat and black cross - symbolizes death

    Fisher girl costume - symbolizes Nora’s pretending to enjoy her life.

    Italy - symbolizes the good false image of Nora’s life.

    Norway - symbolizes reality.

    Doll House - symbolizes the tendency of the characters to play roles.

    Toys - symbolizes the act of pushing the roles onto Nora’s children.

    Macaroons - symbolizes Nora’s deceit to her husband.

    Tarantella - symbolizes Nora’s agitation at her struggle with Krogstad and with her husband.

    Christmas tree - symbolizes the mood of the play.

    Stockings - symbolizes Nora’s attitude trying to please men and her flirting with Rank.

    Letter box and letter - symbolizes a trap for Nora and the cause of her demise.

    embroidery - symbolizes the stereotypes pressed on woman.

    ring - symbolizes the marriage, and the end of it.

    skylark - symbolizes the way that Torvald treats Nora like a child.

    Style

    Ibsen writes typical of the ways that the characters might talk in relation to their position and their relationship with each other. For example, the way that Torvald speaks with Nora shows that he condescends to her and that Nora enjoys it. Krogstad speaks sternly but softens up when Linde tell him she still loves him.

    Dominant Philosophy

    A person can’t be happy when falling into the mold of someone else. To be happy, one must be oneself and know oneself. Since all of Nora’s life, she followed right behind her father and her husband, she did not know herself and had to leave to learn.

    Quotes

    “HELMER: My little songbird mustn’t droop her wings. What’s this? Is little squirrel sulking?” Torvald asks this to Nora after she returned from shopping at the start of the play.

    “NORA: I’ve the most extraordinary longing to say: ‘Bloody hell!’” Nora says this to Rank and Linde expressing her desire to rebel against her husband.

    “RANK: Oh, a lawyer fellow called Krogstad - you wouldn’t know him. He’s crippled all right; morally twisted. But even he started of by announcing, as thought it were a matter of enormous importance, that he had to live.” Rank tells this to Nora and Linde expressing his philosophy about morally corrupt people corrupting society using Krogstad as an example.

    “NORA: Never see him again. Never. Never. Never. Never see the children again. Them too. Never. never. Oh - the icy black water! Oh - that bottomless - that -! Oh, if only it were all over! Now he’s got it - he’s reading it. Oh, no, no! Not yet! Goodbye, Torvald! Goodbye, my darlings.” Nora says this to herself when Torvald had left to his study to read the mail. She prepares to leave and possibly commit suicide.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:15 pm

    In the play A Doll House, by Henrik Ibsen, the convention of marriage is examined and questioned for its lack of honesty. The play is set in the late 1800s, which provides the backdrop for the debate about roles of people in society. Ibsen uses the minor character, Dr. Rank, to help develop the theme of conflicts within society. This, in turn, creates connections with the plot. Dr. Rank's function in the play is to foreshadow, symbolize, and reflect upon the truth of life and society and to break down the barrier between appearance and reality.

    One function of Dr. Rank in the play is to foreshadow events to come. Upon Rank's introduction in Act I, the reader is immediately given insight into the conflict Nora will face with Krogstad. Rank provides the reader with minute details into Krogstad's past that will help in understanding his desperate blackmail attempt. The reader can begin to see this in Rank's statement to Nora and Mrs. Linde: "Oh, it's a lawyer, Krogstad, a type you......
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:16 pm

    Animal imagery is prevalent in a variety of literary selections. This paper will focus on animal imagery in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House by using the reader response strategy.
    In the play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, animal imagery is used in the development of the main character Nora. It is also later found that the animal imagery is a critical part in understanding who Nora is and how other characters perceive her. Ibsen uses creative animal imagery to develop Nora’s character throughout the play. The animal imagery is carried out through the conversation between Nora and her husband Torvald. Torvald uses a lot of bird imagery because he thinks of Nora as lark. It is also evident that the animal names he calls Nora, directly relate to how Nora is acting or how Torvald wants her to be portrayed.
    In Act 1, Torvald asks, “Is it my little lark twittering out there?” referring to Nora (3). A lark is a happy and carefree songbird. In the beginning of the play it is evident that Nora is or appears to be a lively-spirited and carefree woman, just like a lark. She has already made the loan with Krogstad. Torvald refers to Nora early in the play as “my little lark” when she is moving around the room and humming with a carefree spirit that characterizes the lark (3). It seems that whenever Nora is happy, Torvald thinks of her as a bird, specifically a lark. In contrast to Torvald’s calling Nora a lark, he immediately refers to her as a squirrel in asking, “Is it my little squirrel bustling about?” (4). I think this is a interesting in the development of both Nora and Torvald’s characters because a squirrel is quite different from a lark. A squirrel is a small furry rodent that tends to have negative and sneaky connotations. If someone is to squirrel away something, he/she is hiding or storing it. This is directly related to what Nora is doing; she is hiding or squirreling away the bag of macaroons, and she is hiding the illegal loan. For example, Torvald...
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:17 pm

    Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was certainly not the average play of its day. In fact, its publication induced outrage in many people. But what was it that made this play so controversial? Ibsen dared to openly question the values of the rigid Victorian way of life that dominated Western Europe at the time. In his day, the roles and social functions of individuals were assigned to them. The rules had carefully outlined all the subtleties of how one should act and feel in polite society. The definitions of not only marriage but also love itself were virtually laws. A woman was always subservient to men in every way, and she had a duty to her husband that was higher than the duty to herself. By writing this play about a woman who eventually leaves everything she knows behind her in order to make her own way in the world, he single-handedly undermined the social norms of the period (Madore).
    Through the course of A Doll’s House, Nora learns that she must educate herself in the......
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:20 pm

    enrik Ibsen\'s, A Doll\'s House is definitely a unique story written by a very intelligent, complicated writer. I believe he intentionally wrote the play in a manner which would lead every reader to draw his own conclusions. He forces us to find our own interpretation of the play in context with our personal lives and experiences with the opposite sex. The theme may be interpreted by many as a study of the moral laws that men and women are required to follow by nature. I believe it is primarily based on the gender stereotypes that determine the role of women in society.
    During the time in which the play took place, society frowned upon women asserting themselves. Women were expected to play a role in which they supported their husbands, took care of their children, and made sure the house was in perfect order. In Act I, there are many clues that hint at the kind of marriage Nora and Torvald have. It seems that Nora is like a doll controlled by Torvald. She relies on him......
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:23 pm

    A Dolls House
    Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is one of the world’s best known modern plays. In A Doll’s House Henrik tells the story of a young woman named Nora Helmner, a woman who is way ahead of her time. In order to protect her children and her family, she must inflict confusion and pain upon herself while keeping a secret that will begin to eat her alive. Nora not only realizes that she lying to herself but also the ones she cares about most. She has a decision to make but which one is the right one. Should she tell or should she keep this secret to herself.

    This is where the inner conflict in Nora turns up.

    Nora is a young woman who is married to an older bank manager named Torvald Helmner. In the early years of their marriage just after their first child her husband becomes ill. Doctors told Nora that Torvald would not live unless she was to take him out of the country as soon as possible. Nora, confused and unsure of how she would come up with the money, decides to take it upon herself to borrow two hundred and fifty pounds from a money lender named Nils Krogstad. She knew that this decision might have been the wrong one but she also knew that without the money there would be no way for her to get To

    . . .
    She could stay and live a miserable life with Torvald and not be the mother that she wished she could be to her children or she could just turn and walk away from it all. Torvald explains to her that Krogstad was untrusting because he forged his signature. He tells her that he never wants to look her in the face again for she has ruined their good name. Nora is not sure that the plan would work and the doubt still lingers heavily on her mind but she had to keep Torvald occupied in the mean time.

    At that very moment Nora realizes that Torvald wasn’t worried about her being saved, he was worried about himself. She loved her children as much as any other mother loves her children but she knew that it wasn’t fair to them for she could do it better. She pulls out all the stops and plays every card she can to get Torvald to reconsider but he would not budge. He informs her of his being let go at that bank where her husband works. When Torvald finds out what Nora has done the tension between them is immense. Linde and Nora came up with a plan to have Mrs. She knows by leaving the heavy burden she has carried would be lifted and she is free. She explains to him that she doesn’t know who she really is and that she needs to be true to herself before she can be true to anyone else.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: A doll's house

    Post by ibtihel on Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:24 pm

    A Dolls House
    Throughout A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen illustrates through an intriguing story how a once infantile-like woman gains independence and a life of her own. Ibsen creates a naturalistic drama that demonstrates how on the outside Nora and Torvald seam to have it all, but in reality their life together is empty. Instead of meaningful discussions, Torvald uses degrading pet names and meaningless talk to relate to Nora. Continuing to treat Nora like a pampered yet unimportant pet, Torvald thoroughly demonstrates how men of his era treat women as insignificant items to be possessed and shown off. While the Helmer household may have the appearance of being sociably acceptable, the marriage of Torvald and Nora was falling apart because of the lack of identity, love, and communication.

    Nora Helmer was a delicate character and she relied on Torvald for her identity. This dependence that she had kept her from having her own personality. Yet when it is discovered that Nora only plays the part of the good typical housewife who stays at home to please her husband, it is then understandable that she is living not for herself but to please others. From early childhood Nora has always held the opinions of either her fathe

    . . .
    Torvald did give Nora gifts of money but he did not give her the respect and devotion she, as well as any wife, needs. At first he only viewed Nora as a fulfillment for his need for a wife, but when she left he finally realized that he really did need her. “You have destroyed all of my happiness. Everything was fun and games and for show.

    The ending of Nora and Torvald’s marriage was inevitable. Torvald scolded Nora like he would a child, “Hasn’t Mrs. Marriage is when two people become one, and if those two do not have any identity to bring to that marriage, then they do not successfully unite to make one. Yet, when she discovered that Torvald really didn’t love her she stated, “You have never love me.

    Through their everyday conversation, Nora and Torvald reveal that they have a relationship full of meaningless talk and games. It is horrible…I must sink to such miserable depths because of a thoughtless woman!” (62). Sweet Tooth been breaking rules today in town…” (4). If they were sincere about making their marriage work the two had to know who they were, before they could give themselves over to another person.

    Bibliography

    Ibsen, Henrik.

    Common topics in this essay:
    Nora Torvald, Torvald Nora, Nora Helmer, Nora Nora, Nora Yes, Nora Continuing, Finally Nora, Sweet Tooth, Henrik Ibsen, Nora Torvalds, torvald nora, nora torvald, father torvald, love communication, little squirrel, torvald identity, dolls house, meaningless talk,

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    Re: A doll's house

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