In the play, “Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, portrays the protagonist, Nora as a very child-like character who understands a man’s world better than she will let on. She is treated very similarly to a doll; she is played with and treated like a child. Her husband Torvald Helmer does not believe that Nora understands the world of money and business. Nora doesn’t let on that she does, and she plays along to this facade of being someone with no knowledge on the outside world. It is evident that she is aware of the world of business when she says “” In business, you know things called quarterly payment and ….
I couldn’t save much out of the housekeeping money” (Ibsen, 161). From this quote, it is evident that Nora is very much aware of the borrowing system in the business world. She understands the system of borrowing money, and paying it back in quarterly payments. By her knowing this information, it is clear that Nora is not just the puppet of Torvald, but an intelligent woman who is informed of the world’s events. Furthermore, Nora proves that she knows about the world of men by saying, “Last winter I was lucky enough to get a lot of copying to do, so I locked myself in and st writing-often till after midnight.
Oh, I was so tired sometimes…so tired. Still, it was really tremendous fun sitting there working and earning money. It was almost like being a man” (Ibsen, 162). By Nora using the words, “it was almost like being a man,” she demonstrates the difference of society’s perception of what men and women are supposed to do. By saying that she was similar to a man, she is implying that she had taken part of a man’s world, thus proving that she does understand a man’s world better than she will let on. She also demonstrates that she had worked for money, which is unheard of for a woman.
If she had worked, she had done a man’s job. In society, the man’s job is to go to work, while the woman’s job is to stay at home and care for the children and make the house look pretty. By her working, and by her use of words, it is evident that Nora is a hardworking woman who knows the struggles of working hard for money. Lastly, when Nora tells Mrs. Linde that she was the one who had come up with the money to save her husband’s life; Mrs. Linde refuses to believe her due to the fact that women can’t borrow money without their husband’s consent.
In retaliation, Nora had said, “Ah, yes she can-when it’s a wife with a little flair for business-a wife who knows how to set about it…” (Ibsen, 160). She implies that she has a “little flair for business”, which proves that she knows more about the man’s world. She also suggests that she knew how to set about it, proving that she’s intelligent. This proves that Nora is not an ordinary woman, but a woman who can understand business matters very well, thus proving that she understands the world of a man very well.
Although she understands this world, she never shows that she does. She plays along with her husband; he believes she has no knowledge on this subject matter. Nora suggests that they can borrow money, and when Torvald warned that the people they borrowed from will come looking for them, Nora said “ Them? Who bothers about them? They’re just strangers” (Ibsen, 149). In reply to this, Torvald had said, “Nora, Nora! Just like a woman” (Ibsen, 149)! This demonstrates Nora’s acting skills as a typical woman. She doesn’t let on that she is aware of the matters in a man’s world.
She explains the importance of her playing this role of the innocent, helpless wife when she tells Kristina, “Besides, Torvald has his pride-most men have- he’d be terribly hurt and humiliated if he thought he owed anything to me. It’d spoil everything between us, and our lovely happy home would never be the same again” (Ibsen, 161). From this, it is evident that Nora only puts up with this act just to please her husband. She does not show her true, intelligent colours to her husband, but acts as the damsel in distress wife that he wishes her to be.
In conclusion, Nora merely pretends to be a doll-like character in front of her husband. In reality, she is a very intelligent, well-informed woman who has a lot of knowledge on the business world, but never shows that she does to her husband. 2. In this play, “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, there are two female characters that have experienced the world very differently. Mrs. Linde and Nora were childhood friends who have recently met again. They reflected on each other’s’ lives, and it is clear that Mrs. Linde had been through more hardships than Nora.
This is because she had married her husband for money, to support her family, but once her husband had passed away, she had to support herself. Because of her accomplishment, she has a slight haughtiness to her personality. When Nora says, “You’re proud because you worked so hard for your mother all those years” (Ibsen, 159), she responds, “I don’t look down on anyone; but of course I’m proud-and glad- to know that I was able to make Mother’s last days a little easier. When Nora tells her that she’s proud of what she did for her brothers, Mrs. Linde says, “I think I have every right to be”.
From this, it is evident that Mrs. Linde clearly thinks that she should have the right to be proud of her accomplishment. She also believes that she is superior to Nora. Mrs. Linde had said to Nora, “Well, good heavens, a little bit of sewing and that sort of thing! You’re only a baby, Nora” (Ibsen, 158)! These phrases demonstrate that Mrs. Linde’s terrible experiences changed her character for the worse; it made her more arrogant. Unlike Mrs. Linde, Nora has had a different experience in the world. She is treated like a doll at home, and plays the role of a helpless wife. When Nora tells Mrs.
Linde of her husband’s new post at the bank, she says, “Oh, not just what we need! Heaps and heaps of money” (Ibsen 155)! This shows her childlike nature when she says, “heaps and heaps of money”. She plays into the role of the innocent wife, who cannot support herself. Thus, gets excited when there is a lot of money involved. Furthermore, Nora says to Mrs. Linde, “No, you first- I mustn’t be selfish today- I’m not going to think about anything but your troubles. I must just tell you one thing, though. Do you know we’ve just had the most wonderful stroke of luck- only the other day” (Ibsen, 155).
In this, Nora first says that she will listen to Mrs. Linde, but then she ignores that and carries on with her life story. Nora was too excited and happy that she just told Mrs. Linde about the new bank manager post, being inconsiderate to her feelings. She was being too hyper and peppy that she could no longer hold that piece of information within herself. This further demonstrates Nora’s childlikeness. Since Nora receives everything she desires, and is treated similar to a pet, she acts very childlike for a grown woman. Compared to Mrs. Linde, Nora has not faced many tragedies.
Nora did have to save her husband’s life, yet she is so subtle about it. She does not use this as an advantage and become arrogant like Mrs. Linde. Instead, she hides the fact that she too has worked hard for someone else, and pretends to be childish instead. Mrs. Linde has openly faced many challenges, and overcome them, which made her haughty. On the other hand, Nora is seen to have not faced many problems; however she has secretly overcome many challenges. She hides this and acts childish, proving that she is humble. In summary, it can be said that the different experiences of the world one has, shapes the personality of oneself.