‘A Doll’s House,’ written by Henrik Ibsen allows every individual in the play to find out the kind of person he or she is and to strive to attain their true identity. Ibsen portrays this behaviour in a Doll’s House through one of the main characters, Nora Helmer by setting the scene in Norway during 1872. In the late 1800’s women did not play an important role in society. Their job was to cook, clean, sew and take care of the children. Women were treated as material possesions rather than human beings that were capable of thinking and acting for themselves.
On the other hand males had always dominated over the women appearing more superior, however this was not viewed as something ‘unfair’. Males were to go to school and then further advance in their education by attending college. Ibsen strappingly depicts the limit of women’s rights during the 1800’s. Deception within ‘A Doll’s House’ is an ongoing theme. It brings out the plot, outlines the characters and allows the reader to explore the status of women and the society. Without deception there would really be no play. This also leaves the audience to make a decision about the play.
After reading ‘A Doll’s House’ I can conclude that there are resemblances yet a contrast between the characters Mrs. Linde and Nora. A contrasting difference in the characters are shown in the role that they play in their marriages. The character of Nora is the most deceptive in the play. She is one the main characters. Her deceptiveness is caused by the disloyalty towards her husband, Torvald. From the start of the play we see her lying about the most ridiculous things like how much money she spends and whether she has been eating macaroons.
Then we find out how she lies about the crimes shes committed when she took out a loan without Torvald knowing and forging her fathers signature. However we still see Nora as a ‘sweet and innocent child. ‘ We can see throughout the play that Nora is able to disguise herself and appear differently to the audience. This is a way she protects herself and gets her own way. One of the most obvious and consistent things she does is act like a ‘child’. We can see her childish acts at the beginning of the first act as she ‘crosses quietly to Torvald’s dorr’after ‘sneakily eating a few macaroons and hiding them in her pocket.
‘ There are many incidents throughout the play where Nora uses her child like acts to get her what she wants but at the same time cover up her lies. This can be seen when Torvald is questioning her about the macaroons (which were forbidden for her by Torvald) and she turns around and says to her husband, ‘I could never deceive you. ‘ Many people do not pay much attention to her lying as she doesn’t lie about anything significant, however we see it as a ‘white lie,’ this is probably because of her sweet and playful character.
I believe the first scene in the play makes us feel like we should protect Nora in a way and that she isnt really capable of doing any wrong. Another character, Mrs. Linde makes her first appearance in the play and we find out that she is an old friend of Nora’s. Her talk with Nora allows us to hear the hardships from the past years involving deaths and ill family members. However we see a selfish side to Nora, where she really doesn’t pay attention to Mrs. Linde instead she is more eager to talk about how ‘these last eight years have been so truly happy,’ Nora feels the need to brag about her life in order to prove herself to Mrs.
Linde. As Nora discovers that Mrs. Linde has lost her husband and has no children Nora tries to empathise with Mrs. Linde, however in a way it seems as though she is rubbing it in as she talks about her ‘three beautiful children’ and ‘her extraordinary luck they’ve just had’ with ‘Torvald being made manager of the bank. ‘ Nora again lies when it is to do with her career. She tells Mrs. Linde that she has had ‘a few odd jobs’ such as ‘needlework, embroidery,crocheting,’ This coincides with what she and Torvald were talking about earlier involving Christmas decorations.
Obviously Torvald is not aware of her taking any jobs as she is ‘his little squirrel’ and ‘doesn’t want her to work’ (which was very common in those days). It is either she is lying to Mrs. Linde in order to make herself look ‘better’ or she was lying to Torvald about ‘the cat tearing everything to shreads,’ causing her to do a rush job on the decorations because she had to fit work into her schedule. It is more likely that she is lying to Torvald as he seems to be the victim of most of her lies.
Mrs. Linde feels protective over Nora because she still sees her as ‘still being a child’ and we see this as Dr. Rank enters the room. Nora offers him a macaroon, to which he replies, ‘I thought that they were forbidden. ‘ Nora justifies it by telling Dr. Rank that Mrs. Linde has brought them. Mrs. Linde does not come against this because she knows about the consequences of breaking rules around the house. Here we can see how Nora is capable of twisting people to her side in order to be able to keep her lies up without being discovered.