Henrik Ibsen portrayed the protagonist (Nora Helmer) of A Doll’s House as someone who went through a series of trials and tribulations. As the story developes she realizes that she is unsatisfied with the stereotypical role that society had forced her to play. In the beginning of the story Ibsen chose to have the reader perceive Nora as a compliant little housewife whose life was the perfect epitome of how a middle class woman with a family should act.
The reader finally realizes how imperfect and riddled with conflict Nora’s life really is when she reveals the fact she borrowed money without telling her husband and is now struggling to pay it back with her own. It is Torvalds reaction to this action that will ultimately lead Nora to declare a resolution at the end of the story. Throughout the book Nora is faced with an external conflict whose solution eventually allows her to come too terms with the internal conflicts that she is struggling with. The loan that she has taken out for Torvald in order for him to feel better is an example of an external conflict that she faces.
For Nora this conflict’s solution is forced upon her when the man, from whom she borrowed the money, sends a letter to her husband telling him everything she did. Torvald’s reaction to the letter allowed her to finally admit to herself something that she has probably known from the beginning, that her marriage to Torvald has been a fake. Her illusion that her husband would do anything for her is torn down when he will not save her. It is the loss of this illusion that causes her to suddenly realize that the only thing that matters to her husband is his honor and will do anything to preserve it including abandoning her.
Another internal conflict which is resolved by Torvalds unexpected response to the letter is one in which Nora realizes that she is not happy pretending to be someone she is not. Nora’s sudden realization leads her to declare a resolution in which she decides to leave Torvald and discover her true self. Although Nora’s resolution will impact each character differently it is ultimately Nora who is making the greatest sacrifice. When Nora leaves Torvald she rejects the stereotypical role that society has forced upon her and in doing so has become a social outcast.
By leaving Torvald Nora finally shows the reader that she has finally realized that trying to make herself happy is more important than making others happy. Her resolution will have little or no impact on her children because Nora herself has admitted to the fact that the Nanny has taken care of them all there life and all she has done is been their play mate. For Torvald the implication would simply be that he would be forced to take on the unconventional position of being a single father who was left by his wife.
To conclude, A Doll’s House is a story in which Ibsen clung to the philosophy that to be truly happy one must be true to thyself. Nora realizes this when her fantasy world comes tumbling down around her. Nora’s self discovery leads her to finally see that even she does not know who she really is because all her life she has never been able to voice her own opinions. She leaves Torvald well aware of the implications that her action will have on her family because she finally has the drive to want to be her own person.