The play “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Isben brings to light the realities of middle class society and its values. A woman’s place in 1800’s society was very different than it is today. Women did not have the same freedoms that they have today, in spite of the fact that they were strong and intelligent. Nora used this strength and intelligence in play and was punished for it.The play opens up with Nora arriving home and being greeted by her husband in a condescending manner. Torvald says to his wife, “Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?” He also calls her a lark and a squirrel. However, Torvald is unaware that most of the money he gives his wife is going towards a loan that she secretly took out to help him. In the 1800’s, it was illegal for women to take out loans without their husband’s signature. Torvald was ill and the family needed money to help him. Nora secretly takes out a loan by forging her father’s signature. This is illegal, of course, and later leads to Krogstad blackmailing Nora. When Torvald finds out he threatens her.
The way Nora handles her situation is inspirational. She had been treated like a doll by both her father and her husband, but she has the strength to stand up to her husband. She decides to leave and start a new life for herself. The human spirit will not be trampled on. Nora has done something that is not wrong, and she has done it for a very good reason. She begins to question everything she has always blindly accepted, including being a wife and mother, and her religious training. Even though Nora was held down her whole life, she realizes that she has “duties to myself.” She knows that most people would think that what she was doing was wrong, but she stays true to herself. In the end, Nora does what she has to do to survive.
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“A Doll’s House” starts as a play about a typical middle class family. Nora goes through challenges and realizes that they cannot do what society expects out of her. She goes outside the boundaries of what she is allowed to do as a woman for a reason that she feels is noble. But she is punished for that action and cannot accept the fact that she is reprimanded for it. In the end, when Nora decides to leave her husband and family, her decision opens up a possibility of a new life and personal growth for her. I was left wondering how that life will be, and wishing her success and happiness.
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