House of Oppression
In the play “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen one might be misled by the title. When finishing the reading of this play one comes to the understanding that the main character has a powerful battle with oppression. At the beginning of “A Doll’s House” Nora, the main character, seems completely happy. The main character eventually comes to see her position in her marriage with increasing clarity and finds the strength to free herself from her oppressive state.
The protagonist of the play is Nora, the wife of Torvald Helmer. Nora initially seems like a playful, naïve child who lacks knowledge of the world outside of her home. In the beginning, Nora responds affectionately towards her husband’s teasing, speaks excitedly about the extra money he will earn with his new job. She looks at the New Year and imagines a new beginning for them along with a better home and better clothing. She does not seem to mind her doll-like existence, in which she is coddled, pampered and most of all patronized.
As the play progresses, Nora reveals that she is not just a “silly girl,” as Torvald calls her. As a matter of fact, Torvald puts “little,” in front of most everything he calls her. Like “little skylark,” or “little squirrel” (Barnet, Burto, & Cain, 2011). She shows that she knows a little about business as she took out a loan to preserve Torvald’s health. Her actions show she is intelligent and possesses capacities beyond mere wifehood. She described years of secret labor to pay off this debt which shows her determination and ambition. She also shows courage as she broke the law in order to get the loan to save her husband’s life.
Torvald Helmer is a dominating husband and believes that a man’s role in marriage is to protect and guide his wife. He enjoys the idea that Nora needs guidance and treats her as if he is her father. Although Torvald likes the power in his relationship with his wife and seeks it out by referring to her as “girl”, it seems that he is...