Henrik Ibsen's “A Doll's House” is the story of Nora Helmer and the events that led to her independence. At the end of the play, Nora decides to leave her husband, Torvald.
One central event ultimately led to her decision to leave: Krogstad's blackmailing of Nora in regards to Nora's illegal borrowing of money in order to travel with Torvald to Italy for a cure for his illness. Nora's predicament led to a major life change. Nora had to leave at the end of the play because she realized who her husband really was, and what her life actually turned out to be.
Nora began her awakening when she started secretly working to pay back the money she borrowed illegally for her and Torvald's trip to Italy to cure Torvald of his illness. This event led to her fully realizing that her life was not what it should be. Toward the end of the play, when Nora had made up her mind to leave Torvald, she states, “I lived by doing tricks for you, Torvald.
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But that's the way you wanted it. You and Daddy did me a great wrong. It's your fault that I've never made anything of my life.” (Ibsen 1879/1998, act 3; 80). From this statement, it is obvious that Nora finally realized the truth about her life. She acted the part of a child, only living to please first her father, then her husband.
Toward the end, however, she realized that those two men compelled her to behave in a certain way, and that this behavior had stunted her growth from child to adult. She had existed only to please men, therefore making nothing of her life. She decided to leave Torvald, not to punish him, but to make something of her life; to gain independence from other people.
Nora had to leave Torvald because she realized that she did not know him like she thought she did. When Torvald found out about her illegal dealings, Nora thought he would take the blame for her and risk his own honor.
When this did not happen, the image of the good and noble husband she though Torvald was had been shattered. Once this happened, a domino-effect was created; Nora's other illusions about her life, such as her having a happy marriage, were also shattered. She began to see Torvald for who he really is, and this directly led to her leaving her husband.
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