Essays on A Doll's House

Essay Introduction

In Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House,’ the subject most important to the story is marriage. ‘Until death do us part’ well, not always. Everywhere one looks, divorce is plaguing society. The treasured marriage vows have become nothing but a promise made to be broken. A Doll’s House is a prime example of a relationship that didn’t work. To keep a marriage alive and well, it must hold onto certain qualities love, communication, trust, and loyalty. With these qualities, any marriage is bound to work. Without love, a relationship would never even begin. The basis for Nora and Torvald’s relationship appears to be centered around love, but this was not exactly obtained. Torvald doesn’t really love Nora in a mature way; he treats her like a child. The ideal marriage is based on a combination of both romance and security. Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House displays three viewpoints of marriage; one of fantasy, one for security, and the other is a model of a true marriage.

Argumentative Essay Examples on A Doll’s House

Torvald’s idea of marriage is one of fantasy. Before the party, Torvald wants his wife, Nora, to dress up ‘as a Neapolitan peasant girl.’ (Ibsen787) He dresses her up because that’s what he wants her to be. He acts as if Nora isn’t even a person but a doll or his own personal sex toy. At the party, he pretends his wife’s his ‘secret bride-to-be’ and ‘no one suspects anything between them.’ (Ibsen807) Torvald imagines that they are secret lovers, and he can’t wait to ravish her once they are away from the crowd: ‘Helmer…All this evening, I’ve longed for nothing but you.

When I saw you turn and sway in the tarantella-my blood was pounding till I couldn’t stand it. That’s why I brought you down here so early”. (Ibsen807). When reading this passage, one imagines what some guys fantasize about Princess Layal in a bikini. That’s what most guys do; imagine their wife as a fantasized image of what they want erotically. Torvald seems to need this to become aroused by his wife. He shouldn’t need a fantasy to get in the mood; his wife should be all he needs. Sure, some people role plays to spice things up, but they are both usually involved in collaborating on the fantasy, and here Torvald is making all the decisions, and his wife must obey.

Throughout the play, Torvald constantly views his wife as something to be admired. Even on a non-sexual level, he still imagines his wife as something she’s not. During the party, he describes her as a ‘dream of loveliness’ and says she’s ‘worth looking at’ (Ibsen 801). Torvald looks at Nora and admires her, and he doesn’t love her. He doesn’t know her well enough to love her because he can’t get past the fantasy image. Nora is only a trophy in the eyes of her husband and nothing more.

Thesis Statement for A Doll’s House

Nora’s way of having control is in her sex appeal. Nora seems aware of the power she contains and also realizes that once she ages and her sex appeal disintegrates, she will have to find something else to dangle in front of her husband. That’s where the loan comes into play. In the conversation between her and Kristine, Nora thinks about telling Torvald about the loan.

‘Mrs. Linde: Won’t you ever tell him? Nora (thoughtfully, half smiling): Yes-maybe sometime, years from now, when I’m no longer so attractive. Don’t laugh! I only mean when Torvald loves me less than now when he stops enjoying my dancing and dressing up and reciting for him. Then it might be wise to have something in reserve-‘ (Ibsen) Nora knows Torvalds has ‘all his masculine pride’ to worry about, and he could never live down the ‘painfully humiliating’ issue of being in debt to his wife.

Research Types: Kristine and Krogstad’s Viewpoint – True Marriage

Kristine and Krogstad have the only true idea of marriage in this play. First off, they know each other the way couples should. Kristine knows the evil plot Krogstad has in store for Nora and still wants to be with him. Kristine even tells Krogstad to go ahead and let Torvald know what Nora has done. She says that the truth has to come out, and ‘those two have come to a full understanding; all these lies and evasions can’t go on”. (Ibsen803) She wants to help Nora and Torvald by showing them the reality of how their marriage really functions. In this way, Kristine and Krogstad become a model for what a real marriage should be; being able to love your partner no matter what. Now that’s a real marriage.

Another way they represent a true marriage is that they depend on one another, ‘Mrs. Linde: I need to have someone to care for, and your children need a mother. We both need each other. Nils, I have faith that you’re good at heart-I’ll risk everything together with you. Krogstad (gripping her hands) Kristine, thank you, thank you-Now I know I can win back a place in your eyes.’ (Ibsen804). Kristine wants and needs someone to care for, and so does Krogstad. That’s why they work. Kristine and Krogstad are giving everything for love, and they’ll do it through the good and bad. Couples care for one another, But Nora and Torvald only care about themselves, not each other. I don’t believe romance is dead, nor do I believe it’s fantastic to get married because of money and power.

Marriage is something to step into with eyes wide open and shouldn’t be entered into based on illusions. Kristine and Krogstad have something real and true and could possibly be the future of Nora and Torvald. It’s true that Nora and Torvald have no ideal marriage; they don’t even seem to have a real marriage. They have a power system where Nora lets Torvald believe he is in control. Torvald paints this illusion of his wife being his mistress, and Nora plays along with his game. They both play roles in what society views as a true marriage. They’re stuck in a loveless situation that will only end with ‘the sound of a door slamming shut.’

Critic’s Perspective: Ingmar Bergman’s Defense of Torvald and its Refutation

When Nora says that she has never been happy in their marriage because Torvald actually thought he was the best husband. He says, “How unreasonable and how ungrateful you are, Nora! Have you not been happy here?” (Ibsen 8140) Torvald is not the only one thinking that he is a good husband; some critics also think the same way. According to Collins Hughes’s article “Who Knew Torvald Was Such a Sweet Fellow” in the New York Times, he says Ingmar Bergman thinks that Torvald is actually the one most hurt in the play because he has been nice and caring with Nora. He says that “I see Helmer as a very nice guy, very responsible; Ibsen’s play is really the agony of Helmer.” I don’t agree with his argument because Torvald poisoned Nora’s heart about their children by telling her that mothers who lie to their children infect their lives. That was the reason why Nora thought that she was not worthy of looking after her kids.

Titles: Societal Influence on Marriage in A Doll’s House

The author draws attention to how women are capable of their own rights yet do not govern their own lives due to the lack of legal entitlement and independence. According to Bjorn Hemmer, in an essay in The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen, “, The people who live in such a society know the weight of `public opinion’ and of all those agencies which keep watch over society’s `law and order,’ the norms, the conventions and the traditions which in essence belong to the past but which continue into the present and there thwart individual liberty in a variety of ways.” It is the weight of public opinion that Torvald cannot defy. And it is the weight of public opinion that condemns Helmer’s marriage.

I aggress with Hammer Because Torvald views his public persona as more important than his private. He is unable to understand or appreciate the suffering of his wife. His reaction to the threat of public exposure is centered on himself. It is his social stature, his professional image, and not his private life which concerns him most. For Nora to emerge as an individual, she must reject the life that society mandates. To do so, she must assume control over her life, yet in the nineteenth century, women had no power. Power resides with the establishment of men.

Nora’s Awakening and Transformation

Throughout the play, Nora faces an internal struggle for self-discovery, which Ibsen creates to show that women are not merely objects but intelligent beings who form independent thoughts. Nora has successfully taken a loan to help her sick husband in order to save his life, while her father was sick too, but she travels with the husband instead of choosing to stay and look after the father. I think that was a huge sacrifice. In the conversation with Krogstad, Nora confesses to forging her father’s signature (Ibsen 784). She signed a document that is not legal for her to sign in order to save her husband’s life. Rather than being grateful, he was selfish and abusive to her, and that woke her to the need for independence.


I believe Nora did what was good for her because she had been deprived of the right to think on her own and make decisions for herself. She only does what her father and husband taught her because they have been controlling her all her life. Nora says when I look back, it seems to me as if I have been living like a poor woman just from hand to mouth. I have existed merely to perform tricks for you, Trovald. But you would have it so. You and Papa have committed a great sin against me. It’s your fault that I made nothing of my life. (814). Nora wanted to be recognized as something or then a housewife. She admires Christen, her friend who was working to make a living. She did prove that by working late at night to raise money to pay off her loan.

Other interpretations of the play suggest that Nora left Torvald because he disappointed her. Richard Hornby, in his article “Feminist Theatre,” suggests that “She had believed that upright Torvald, on learning of her forgery, would immediately take the blame on himself, and was ready to commit suicide to keep him from doing so. Instead, he plots a coverup, deciding to give in to whatever the blackmailing loan shark, Krogstad, demands”. This interpretation, Although Nora does raise this behavior in the end, says the “most wonderful thing “never happens! While it is true that Torvald had disappointed Nora, her decision to leave was solely based on that her disappointment with Torvald. The lesson I learned from the play is that, as a woman, never give up your identity and your carrier just to make your partner happy. It might come hunting you someday in life. Henrik Ibsen’s play has brought a lot of changes in society’s points of view on women in marriage, not just in the Nineteenth Century but in general.

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