Nora’s Individualism Women in the 19th century live in the shadows of men. They don’t have occupations. Their gender role was to cook, clean, shop for the household, and to care for the children.
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They were expected to find a suitor; this man would take care of the family financially. Women were submissive to their husbands back then. They didn’t stand up for their rights or voice their opinions. Women catered to their husbands. Nora is submissive to Torvalds’s needs. The play is about Nora’s behavior to her husband. She submits to him and is a mother to their children.
She is unhappy as a caretaker. She over enthusiastic personality throughout the play seems forced. She feels she has no purpose in life, being a mother or housewife isn’t fulfilling her needs. She lacks being a mother the nannies constantly look after the children. She is searching for her true self subconsciously in the beginning of the play. Due to her upbringing, Nora has been raised to live under a man, to be submissive to them. Nora doesn’t know any other way than being an oppressed woman. The way Nora grew up influences her behavior now as an adult.
She grew up wealthy, her father took care of her, and then she married Helmer at any early age. Nora says to Torvald ” When I lived at home with Papa, he gave me his opinion about everything, she had the same opinions and if I didn’t I keep my mouth shut he wouldn’t have liked it. And then I came to live in your house. I was Just passed from Papa’s hands to yours. You arranged everything according to your own taste, and I choose the same tastes as you. Or else I pretended to” (Ibsen 1167). Nora was raised by her father to live under a man.
She transitioned from living with her father and now to her husband, Torvald. Through this realization she isn’t content with her well-being. Nora appears to be happy on the outside, she is not deep inside. Her personality is over exaggerated to all. It’s apparent that it is ungenuine. She is quite giddy about small things, such as showing Torvald the items she bought. Nora says, “But come here and let me show you what I bought. And all so cheap! Look a new suit for Ivar, and a sword, a horse and a trumpet for Bob, and a doll and a doll’s bed for Emily’ (Ibsen 1122).
She doesn’t ave anything exciting going on in her life, she has to focus on something no matter how minute it is. The only excitement she has is hiding the secret from Torvald. Which isn’t excitement at all, she fears he will find out about it. That’s why Nora keeps up her charade of shopping for her children and the household. That’s what she use to do before borrowing the money. This loan has given her purpose; she has to find ways to pay it back. She has done side Jobs and started being more frugal about her money she gets from her husband. Through this experience she realizes she is nhappy in her marriage.
Her husband’s expectations of her are too high with a lack of love and care for one another on an intimate level. She has to live up to her husband’s standards of being a trophy wife. Nora is not satisfied with knowing that Torvald Just cares about the outward appearance ot ner and the tamily, and not the love they should share with each other. Torvald wants to have the appearance to others they are well put together. He focuses on small things like Nora dancing the Tarantella. It must be perfection in his eyes, he wouldn’t settle for anything less.
He makes her practice it numerous times and gets quickly frustrated with her when she doesn’t perform the moves correctly. He should focus on her feelings, not worrying about his wife’s outward appearance. Torvalds’s narcissism makes it difficult for Nora to be happy in their marriage. She likes materialistic things but cares about her marriage more. She forged her signature on a formal document for a loan to travel to Italy to save her husband’s life when he was ill. She shows her love to him by getting this loan in secret and by taking care of their children.
What has Torvald done lovingly for Nora? That is the issue; he hasn’t done anything loving or romantic for her. Women need their love shown by spending quality time together, not by getting money to buy gifts. Torvald see’s providing for his wife as sustainable to keep their relationship going. Women like to hear that men love them and to be shown that they are loved through actions. Nora is unhappy with Torvalds’s behavior. Their marriage is for show and spurious in Nora’s perspective, she is unhappy. She feels there is no substance or closeness there.
They don’t share intimate details with one another. Torvald is always concerned about work, while Nora is looking after the children or preparing for an event they will attend in the near future. Torvald isn’t aware of Nora’s unhappiness in the most of the play because Nora masks her feelings. She expresses herself when she can’t hold her feelings in about their lack of a marriage anymore. Nora realizes that nothing is going to change in her life and she won’t settle for less. Nora has gone on for eight years doing what Torvald expects of her. She is willing to makes a change for her happiness.
Nora begins to tell Torvald that their relationship lacks a good solid foundation based on trust and concern for one another mutually. Nora says you have never understood me. IVe been treated badly, first by Papa and now by you (Ibsen 1167). She has a husband who she hardly knows and won’t accept it. She no longer has the interest in being a wife or a mother. She decides to leave it all to figure herself out. Nora tells Torvald, Duties to myself. I believe that first and foremost I’m a human being, Just as you are, or at least I have to try to become one.
I can’t be satisfied with what most people say or with what’s in books. I have to think things through for myself and come to understand them (Ibsen 1168). Nora has decided to leave her old life to discover a new one. She is willing to sacrifice her children for her happiness. What is more realistic? For a woman to have children and be in an unhappy marriage or abandon her children and pursue her desires? Nora pursues herself she no longer has interest in taking care of others. Nora leaving her husband in the 1800’s is unheard of. Women didn’t venture from their roles as a wife and a mother.
Ibsen’s play got negative attention, being that his main character did the unthinkable at the end of the play; leave her family for her goals. The play leads the audience to believe she doesn’t need her husband anymore. That she is strong and will discover her needs and aspirations. Nora has gone through a transformation of being an oppressed women to now caring about herself. She has had to make a drastic change to start a new Journey to meet her new goals. I’m proud of Nora for standing up for herself. She went against the grain of all women and explor ed her dreams.