“The relationship between Nora and Helmer is a presentation of the constrained communication within a Victorian marriage.”
How far do you agree with this statement? In your answer explore Ibsen’s dramatic presentation of the relationships between men and women in ‘A Doll’s House’.
Henrik Ibsen uses various techniques in ‘A Doll’s the House’ to display constrained and strenuous relationship between Nora and Helmer.
One way Ibsen presents the confinement in the relationship is using a very basic and core part of the play; the setting. The great majority of the play takes place in one room, where Nora stays and other characters enter and exit at various points. Using the setting and this device of a well-made play, Ibsen creates a very claustrophobic atmosphere in which people move around Nora yet she is constantly confined to one place. For example, on only the second page of the play, rather than looking out the door to see if Torvald is home, Ibsen writes that she ‘goes cautiously to her husband’s door and listens’. Even the word ‘cautiously’ suggests that Nora being near a door is being in a danger zone and out of her depth.
The extent of which the communication in Nora and Torvald’s relationship is constrained is clear when observing the dishonesty in the relationship. Nora constantly has to lie to Torvald about things she knows will upset him. She knows these things will upset him because it is her disobeying his orders and eluding his control. This is first seen when, against Torvald’s will, Nora eats macaroons; this however foreshadows the much larger issue of her forging her father’s signature and taking out a loan; a matter which Torvald has explicitly expressed his opinion on. On page 149 he says that there’s something ugly about ‘a home that’s founded on borrowing and debt’.
NORA: "Your squirrel would run about and do all her tricks if you would be nice, and do what she wants." (2.92) |
Does Nora respect herself when she resorts to these kinds...