"A Doll's House" ~ Themes

Mrs. Holmes Discussion Board: Closed Posts: "A Doll's House" ~ Themes
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mrs. Holmes on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - 10:23 am: Edit Post

Take into consideration the themes of this play (betrayal, marriage, social status, communication… ect). Clearly state what the author was trying to prove about the theme and explain all the things he did in order to show the theme.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Binal Pandya on Sunday, November 01, 2009 - 12:17 pm: Edit Post

A Doll’s House is a play that focuses on issues that were ongoing at that [present] time. Through his play, Ibsen touches a couple of themes, such as the social status and the institution of marriage. Social status is a key component in the play. Torvald’s reputation means a lot to him, for he doesn’t want anything to tarnish it. Hence when Torvald learned of Nora’s forgery, he wasn’t simply mad because it was a crime, but more so to the fact that because Nora—his wife—had done so, would make him, Torvald, the bank manager, look bad. “[Helmer:] You’ve completely wrecked my happiness, you’ve ruined my whole future!...And I’m brought so pitifully low all because of a shiftless woman!” (221). Also, throughout this entire play women have been portrayed to be inferior to men, hence their status in society was that to be mediocre to men. “[Nora:] Still, it was really tremendous fun sitting there working and earning money. It was almost like being a man.” (162). Nora willingly gave everything of hers to Torvald. She asked his opinion when it came to everything that she did. Nora didn’t even have the guts to tell Torvald that it was not her father who saved Torvald’s life, but in fact it was she who had done it herself. To add to that, Nora had to secretly pay off the loan to Krogstad because she couldn’t let Torvald know that, for women at this time weren’t allowed to do things on their own without their husband’s permission. Another theme that is shown throughout the play is the custom of marriage. Marriage in this play is simply mocked. The relationship that Torvald and Nora share does not depict a real marriage, for one partner domineers the other. The wife,Nora, is treated as she for an infant—that she has no correct mind to make her own decision. Ibsen portrays the marriages of this time period via this play for it was quite common for women to sit idle and permit their husbands/males to take over. “[Helmer:] No, no, you must rely on me—I shall advise you and guide you.” (223). Ibsen illustrates through his dialogues the sardonic relationship for marriage. At one given moment any man [Torvald] can say/do something to a woman [Nora] on the basis of accusations and then do a 360 and ‘love’ the woman as if nothing occurred. “[Helmer:]—but I shall not allow you to bring up the children…I shouldn’t dare trust you with them…I’ve forgiven you, Nora…” (222-223). Despite saving his life and dedicating herself to him, what does Nora get when Torvald finds the [brutal] truth? Instead of being grateful for her initiative in saving his life, he bad mouthed her and mortified her. Ibsen displayed social status by demeaning and portraying women as being substandard to men, and he illustrated marriage as being a game ( or a dollhouse) where women were toyed with and marriage simply remained a name with no sentiment.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Maria Alatorre on Sunday, November 01, 2009 - 07:14 pm: Edit Post

Wow! Great post, Beanie! I agree that one of the reasons Nora did not tell Helmer the truth was becuase she did not have enough courage to tell him, but I think she was also trying to protect her husband from the embarrasment of people knowing that his wife--a woman, of course--saved his life. Men were supposed to be the heroes, and in this case, the woman came to the rescue (like they so often do). On the theme of communication; there was none. Nora tells Helmer:"We've been married for eight years now. Don't you reaize that this is the first time that we two-you and I, man and wife--have had a serious talk together?...For eight whole years--no, longer than that--ever since we first met, we've never exhanged a serious word on any serious subject." (225) This demonstrates two things: there is no communication, and Torvald does not discuss any serious things with his Nora. Serious things such as money, work, and their marriage.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Nelsonb on Monday, November 02, 2009 - 06:03 pm: Edit Post

I have to say that "A Doll's House" is laced with many themes but the one that is most important one to me is the idea of being needed both by the men and women in this drama. For example, I honestly think Torvald gets his kicks out of Nora being solely dependent upon him or so he thinks. Another example is the part when Krogstad agrees to be back with Mrs. Linde and she is joyous because she now has someone that needs her, that she belongs to.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Christina Tiernan on Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - 06:46 pm: Edit Post

I kind of understand some of these themes, but the theme that sticks out the most to me is also social status. Nora wasn't really there as a wife is there for a husband- she was there to simply admire, and tend to the things Torvald couldn't be bothered with. Also, I noticed how Nora seemed to manipulate Torvald to her own benefit also. On page 158, she asks as nice as she can, if Torvald really really really wants to please his little song bird, about cash for Christmas and whatnot. I understand why she did it, but it doesn't make it any less of a manipulation. They were both together to further each other's gain.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Nauea on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 - 09:07 am: Edit Post

i believe greed is a huge theme is "A Doll's House". Everyone in the story has there own greed. For instance, Torvald only cared for money and his reputation. Nora just longed for a free mind. Mrs.Linde wanted only somone to mother for. And Krogstad only cared to get back at the people who ruined his life. Except at the end krogstad had a change of heart. Everyone had greed for Happiness too, its all about greed.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dixond on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 - 09:51 am: Edit Post

I believe personality is a huge theme in "A Doll's house" because at the beginning of the play everyone seems to be describe differently then the are such as: Nora at the beginning of the play is like this childish women who never thinks for herself and is always bugging for money, but in reality she is a smart and independent and she can in fact think on her own. Torvald is like this kind hearted husband who seems to hold in anger all the time, but in reality he is selfish, ignorant, and petty guy who just thinks about his social status

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thompsonjeffrey on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 - 10:12 am: Edit Post

Ok so I actually finished the book a couple of days ago and I would have to say and I'm sure everyone in here agrees just from what I just read but clearly the author puts out feminism and society by using Nora to the theme that she is a doll that just gets used and played around with by her husband wich is the feminism and sorta falls under society as well but the fact that they have a descent amount of money falls into class in which greatly affects there lives By the way I just wanted to congradualate on these post they really hit what this was asking for and sorry I'm doing this on my iPhone

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jean A-H on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 - 11:44 am: Edit Post

Isben was trying to relay the concept that communication is key in a healthy relationship; Nora and Torvald's relationship seemed perfect at a glance, but neither of them voiced their discontent with their marrage. Their lack of cummunication was a key flaw in their relationship and the conflict at the end of them play conveyed that. Nora's choice to leave Tovald was the embodiment of the nature of their relationship.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jalen Cox on Thursday, November 05, 2009 - 09:44 am: Edit Post

I to think that this play was based off of the times during which it was written. How families "Should" be. A strong theme is the social status... You can tell throughout the story that Torvald cares about how he looks in the eye of society... which leads to Nora who agrees with him to act like she believes it which in turn causes the entire story to be based on it just because the story revolves around this family.........hmmmm

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ana Romero on Thursday, November 05, 2009 - 11:49 am: Edit Post

Referring to the topic betrayal: Throughout the whole book betrayal is portrayed through the relationships between Nora-Torvald, Nora-Mrs Linde, Dr. Rank-Torvald, and Mrs. Linde-Krogstad. When examining the cause of these several betrayals one realizes many of them were caused by the rules of society such as women being inferior and appearance being of great importance.

Nora was Torvalds doll and was forced to play a part that pleased him. Recall page 151 Torvald: "Not even to nibble a macaroon or two?" Nora: "No, Torvald, really; I promise you." Nora lied to Torvald in order to appear as what he wanted her to be and took advantage of the fact that he believed her lies. In a way this passage foreshadows more events of betrayal and deceit because if Nora was bold enough to lie once what would permit her from doing it again?

Nora on the other hand was betrayed by Mrs. Linde when after convincing Krogstad to ask for the letter to be returned instead thought of herself only and forgot Nora and her problems. It was not Mrs. Linde's place at all whatsoever to determine the fate of Nora and Torvald. Mrs. Linde it seems was tired of rebelling against society and being a self sustained women. On page 211, Mrs. Linde: What a difference - what a difference! Someone to work - and live for. A home to look after - and oh, I'll make it so comfortable." Mrs. Linde acted out the way she did only to benefit herself disregarding Nora's situation.

Dr. Rank as well was involved in the betrayal of a good friend due to his deep love for Nora. (195) Nora: "Oh, dear Dr. Rank, that was really horrid of you." Nora reacts this way pointing out to Dr. Rank how is it so that he could do this to Torvald and in a way is asking him why he told her this as if he wants her to leave Torvald and run away with him.

Mrs. Linde also betrayed Krogstad after leaving him for someone of only higher status due to money. Mrs. Linde though was forced by society to do so. Being a woman Mrs. Linde would have been unable to support her ill mother and two younger brothers. This is revealed on page 157 Nora: "Tell me, is it really true that you didn't love your husband? Why did you marry him, then?"

It seems as if people are only darkened in mind due to society's cruel way of forcing people so low just to keep living.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Christina Tiernan on Thursday, November 05, 2009 - 03:36 pm: Edit Post

I believe one of the main themes is undermining society's expectations, or lack thereof. Society shaped the way Torvald thought of people,, the way he expected Nora to act, the way she did act. When Nora decided to leave Torvald and her children, she was blatantly disregarding society's expectations, as she was when she forged her father's signature on the documents. Krogstead undermined society's expectations when he also forged the signatures.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Leo Garcia on Thursday, November 05, 2009 - 04:20 pm: Edit Post

When I finished the play, the only theme that was brought to my mind was society's impact on different people and what it led them to do. Examples include Torvald treating Nora like a child, or even less than that, such as referring to her with animal names, because society basically recquired men to be the dominant figure in the household, and so he had to protect his reputation by asserting his power in the house by any means necessary. Nora had lived in the shadow of her father, which resulted in her being subject to yet another male, Torvald. That particular time period paid no attention to women, so I guess that Henrik Ibsen decided to include that in his play by portraying Nora as almost an immature child that always did as told. Society had a strict view on women and that led to limitations on what they could do; Nora defied these "limitations" when she left Torvald.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jalen Cox on Friday, November 06, 2009 - 07:21 am: Edit Post

Do you think that Society was the master of this house and everyone within were dolls because society seemed to affect all of their decisions and how they react to things??????

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Zakeya Zucchini on Friday, November 06, 2009 - 03:44 pm: Edit Post

I feel the overall theme was not to live life in an alternate reality. Nora and Torvald lived in some silly reality that they were in love and were a happy couple and that everything was just fine. In truth, they didn't know each other at all and they were living a terrible joke that Nora later discovered.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Powellj on Monday, November 09, 2009 - 07:42 am: Edit Post

the theme is greatly related to Independence, social acceptance, and women rights. Ibel uses Nora and Torvald as the main characters to represent these themes.
Torvald wants to be accepted bu society so he uses money and Nora as means to validate his position in society
Nora depicts the theme of independance and women rights. Nora struggles through out the entire noval to find herself, and break away from torvalds control. In the end she is successful by leaving everyone behind in order to start a new life and gain identity for herself. Ibsen uses the macaroons in order to forshadow Nora's independence.

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