The essay is an interpretative argument of the play, A Doll's House written by a Norwegian playwright Ibsen Henrik back in 21 December 1879. It deemed to be the most famous of the writers play and has been read in many institutions of learning. The play is written in three main acts and has been very influential in what human kind thought. The essay will briefly summarize the play plot, discuss in details and interpret the main themes of the play.
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It is worth noting that in any piece of art, it is the characters that are used to bring forth the main objectives of any play or literature. On the same note, the setting of the play is in Helmer's apartment in which all the three acts take place. Similarly, the ball room and Torvald study formed part of the play setting where Nora danced and some off-stage action taking place in that order. "Over the years, a number of social issues have lingered and shaped human existence; male dominance, female sacrificing for the sake of others, marriage, unreliability of appearance" at the end of the paper, I would like to make it known the themes in the play
The play takes place in Helmer's residence. As she ate macaroons, Dr. Rank accompanied with Mrs. Linda visits. The former seeks to talk to Torvald as the later talks to Nora. Life has become difficult since the demise of her husband and she is looking for a job; (McFarlane 42) with this conversation, Nora gave in to talking to her husband to offer Linde a job in the bank. Nora late Linde know that she borrowed the money that financed her husband treatment in Italy and Torvald is not aware of this.
Rank leaves and talks to the two ladies about the issue of corruption. The man who Nora borrowed money, Krogstad enters and goes to speak with Torvald in the study concerning keeping his job. Dr. Rank asserts that Krogstad is one of the morally corrupt individuals is the society. Krogstad comes again and blackmails Nora that he will tell her husband of her forgery if she will not convince him to retain his job. When Torvald enters, his wife tells him the issue of Krogstad. He stood his grounds that Krogstad must be fired (Ibsen 5-20).
Ann, enters giving Nora ball gown, she later leaves. Linde comes back and helps Nora in stitching her dress, both talked about Dr. Rank. With the entrance of Torvald, Linde leaves. His wife asks her for the second time not to fire Krogstad of which he does not accept. He gives a pink slip to the maid so that it can be mailed to Krogstad.
Rank enters and tells Nora about his worsening health conditions; the two flirt and Ranks confesses that he loves Nora. Krogstad comes and he is very furious about his dismissal and he leaves a letter explaining Torvald's wife crime, this makes Nora very worried. Nora then tells Linde what has transpired. Linde assured Nora that she will set things straight by talking to Krogstad (Ibsen 87).
Nora is made aware that Krogstad has left town, Nora asserts that only miracle can help the situation. During the dance, Linde conversed with Krogstad and made him understand that she left him for money but still loves him, they reconciled and Krogstad forgot the whole issue of Nora borrowing him money. The two leaves and comes the Helmers, the husband goes to the mail box where he finds letters some being business cards from Rank having black crosses, Nora mean while was contemplating to committing suicide (Ibsen 105). She was confronted by her husband who requests what the black meant, Nora tell him that it is Ranks announcing his fatality.
The content of Krogstad's letter made Torvald to say that his wife is unfit to raise his kids as he calls her dishonest and immoral and their marriage is a matter of appearance. A letter brought by the maid coming from Krogstad. The content made Torvald to take back his harsh words against Nora. He tries to convince her but she seems to have made her mind to leave. Nora departure leaves Torvald completely surprised (Ibsen 145-153).
The main themes in the play are parental and filial obligations, unreliability of appearance, marriage and sacrificial role of women. All these have been brought out clearly through use of characters as well as other skills such as use of symbolism (Törnqvist 17).
From the play, it is evident that women do play a bigger role in shaping men and the entire family through hard work and sacrifice. It is evident from Act one that Nora did borrow money to finance their trip to Italy. She kept that secretes and only confesses it to Linde that indeed it was Krogstad who provided her with the money to restore the health status of Torvald, Nora's husband. Additionally, she worked hard in her quest to repay the loan without engaging her husband (123HelpMe, 5).
Similarly, when things seemed to have hit a snag when she was blackmailed by Krogstad that her secrets will be revealed if she fails to convince her husband to retain him in the back, she contemplated committing suicide. This was to show that she did not want her husband to sacrifice for her deed. The sacrifices women make despite their economic status is summarized with what Nora says in Act 3, "although most men refuse to sacrifice their integrity, hundreds of thousand of women have".
Another woman who showed an element of sacrifice is Linde; she left Krogstad for a richer man so that she can be in an opposition to support two of her brothers and mum. At the end of the play, she confesses to Krogstad that she left him for money but still loves him. Nora additionally exhibited self sacrifice when she left not only her husband but also the kids, although she deeply loved them. She says that this will give her time to realize who she is (Törnqvist 124). It is evident that even at present that women do sacrifice a lot for the sake of their kids, husbands, parents, friends, the community and even the entire country.
Within this theme, minor theme of husband dominance comes into play. Nora is treated just like a kid by her husband. He is the one who dictates everything in the family. Nora asserts that she is tired as her father controlled her life and her husband is doing the same.
From the onset of the play, characters are depicted in a manner that is not real when the play unfolds. We later learn some very strong attributes of characters painted to be weak while those we deemed to be strong and morally up right are later seen to be undercuts (Johnston 10). Nora is painted as being a childish and silly woman but as the play unfolds, we see her as being an intelligent woman who is determined courageous and can work very had to realize her dreams. She worked round the lock to repay the loan she borrowed from Krogstad. Additionally, she is brave.
On the same note, we see her husband as being a strong character and very bold. Later, after receiving the letters from Krogstad, his characters change and we see him as a coward man, petty who is very selfish. It is also gathered that despite his threats, Krogstad have mercy and sympathy; initially, no one could think that he could reverse his action against (Nora Ibsen 77).
Additionally, there is a misinterpretation of events; whereas we thought that Krogstad and Linde hated one another, the reality at the end is that both were in love. Rank also confesses that he loves Nora, although the later assures him that she does not love him but enjoy having fun with him (Johnston 7). The marriage of Nora and her husband is full of suspicion and lucks trust although it can be seen from initial stage that it is a good one.
The main characters especially Rank, Nora and her husband hold the opinion that parents need to be honest and show standard of morals to kids as this will shape their future life. Dr. Rank blames his ill health on his father sexual desire that led him to contact venereal illness that he transferred to him (Rank) that eventually caused his death. Nora's husband holds the same opinion when he asserts that, "Nearly all young criminals had lying -mothers." (Ibsen 91) With the knowledge that she lied, he tells Nora in the face that she is unfit to raise his kids believing that she will corrupt their innocence (Unwin 12). This shows that he believes that individual who are morally corrupt opt not to be close with those who are not yet corrupt morally.
Similarly, children do have an obligation to their parent. In the case Nora, she seemed aware of it but she opted to staying with her husband rather than her sick father. Linde in her part toiled in ensuring that her sick mother was cared for by working tirelessly.
From the review of the play A Doll's House written by Ibsen Henrik, a number of themes come out clearly and include; are parental and filial obligations, unreliability of appearance, marriage and sacrificial role of women, thanks to author's way of characterization, use of symbolism and narration with a distinct tone. With the understanding that the central ideas have been developed through such skills; the play is good and warrant reading as it teaches a lot and is in line with what happens especially in third world countries.