A Doll House: English Analysis of Drama

2467 words 10 pages
English: Analysis of Drama

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER:
AN ANALYSIS OF NORA, THE MEN IN HER LIFE,
AND HER NAVIGATATION TO INDEPENDENCE The play, A Doll House, written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879, is considered a landmark in drama for its portrayal of realistic people, places, and situations. Ibsen confines his story to the middle class. He writes of a society that is limited not only by its means of livelihood but also its outlook. Ibsen portrays his characters as preoccupied with work and money, showing a reduction of values in and that lack of quality persons with morals. Ibsen takes this realistic story and invests it with universal significance. Wrapped up in the technique of this well constructed play, Ibsen is
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/ Is that my squirrel rummaging around? / ...the little lark's wings mustn't droop. (I.154-55)
By addressing Nora in such a derogatory manner Torvald is lessening her humanity. Nora, in turn, as part of her daily persona mirrors his impression of her by self fulfilling prophecy. She acts like the animal he has assigned her. She speaks quickly and perky like a lark or is running around hiding things like a squirrel preparing for winter. Through the visit of friend Mrs. Linde, we discover that Nora had to save a very sick Torvald by borrowing money and by working two exclusively masculine activities usually forbidden to women. Assumption of these tasks automatically undermine Torvald's authority. The plot unfolds into two parallel stories, both of them hinging on strong or "masculine" women and weak, "feminine,"

men. (Paradoxically, the only potentially strong male is Dr. Rank, family friend and secret admirer of Nora, who is dying.) The flaw within this patriarchal framework becomes apparent when Nora discovers that she has no legitimate name of her own. She can use neither her married name nor her maiden name to borrow money. She finds that she cannot appropriate her father's name. In other words, as a married woman she has neither authority nor identity. While Torvald's authority rests on his assumption of his natural and presumably divinely bestowed superiority. Once Nora realizes the shallowness of Torvald's position,

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