Character Analysis of “Nora”

by • On Nov 26, 10 13:43pm, Updated: Jul 18, 11 23:52pm • 1763 Views

“A Doll’s House” was written by “Henrik Ibsen” at the late 19th century & it portrays the fundamental social understandings and mistreatment of women. It is important to note that the problem does exist even in 21st century. In the play we witnessed Nora was being treated nothing more than a doll, who barely had any control over her own life. She even had to get permission to eat or not eat certain things like “Macaroon”. Nora is the leading character of the play, at different stage she played the role of a wife, a mother & last but not least an woman. A dynamic character which is very hard to understand or explain, if the play is not being read carefully.

Nora as a Woman
The play “A Doll’s House” portrays the social treatment of women in late 19th century. In the play, “Nora” was such a character where we witnessed mixed behavior. Sometimes it seems like she is just like a child, sometimes she acted like a clever lady & sometimes she acted like an irresponsible person who is not well aware of about the real world. As a woman, in one hand Nora was oppressed and was controlled by the men at different stage of her life and on the other hand she was an irresponsible mother. When Nora was with her father she was treated simply as a child on the other hand when she came to Helmer’s life as a wife, it didn’t change how she was being treated. She remained just like a doll that had no control over her own life. Every single step of Nora was being watched and tactfully controlled by her husband. Nora’s husband Helmer, on the other hand was a very smart yet typical “Gentleman” who often criticized Nora for her act. Helmer said, “One would hardly believe how expensive such little persons are!”. As a woman Nora was never been well aware of about her own rights, duties or responsibilities. Nora had to take permission from her husband for everything. Even she couldn’t have Macaroon, as it was forbidden for her. When her condescending husband, Torvald Helmer, asks if she has been sneaking macaroons, she denies it whole-heartedly. With this minor act of deception, the audience learns that Nora is quite capable of lying. Nora never thought of herself as a person rather she was taught to be woman by the society; a society which was made and controlled by men. From her childhood she did everything that she was told yet she barely gets her honor and respect that she deserve. Nora eventually realized her very own status in the family and the society as well.

I find it very hard to understand that why there were always been an issue called “woman rights”? It’s more about a person rather than a woman as I believe above everything she is a human being first then she is a woman. In the play “Ibsen” explained the social unjust towards woman which actually goes way deeper than “woman rights”, it violates “human rights” first before anything. We witnessed her being physically abused by her husband which is not acceptable at any circumstances, even though the society remained silent when the question comes of “rights”.

Nora as a Wife
As a wife, Nora was loving, charming & caring who always obeyed her husband and loved him, who didn’t think anything but the well being of her husband. Nora did everything that a wife possibly could do to save her husband’s life when Helmer was sick. She deserves the credit & Helmer woe’s his life to her without any pre-condition. But the question is does it really define the “True” Nora whom we discovered later on? To find the answer of this question we need to digg little more in depth. It’s notable that Nora played a double role as a wife.

As the play goes on, we witnessed the presence of “Krogstad” character, which brought the climax in to the play. A hidden truth of Nora’s life became the nightmare and wake up call for her but with a cost. Along with being a loyal wife, Nora tried to hide a very big truth from her husband that she borrowed a handsome amount of money from Krogstad. Worst part of all was that she borrowed the money forging the signature of her father who passed away before she enters into the contract with Krogstad.

She proved herself as being a dishonest wife to her husband who should have known the truth from her wife rather than Krogstad. Truthfulness is a must for any sustainable relationship and in terms of marriage, this is not negotiable. But there were something little more interesting than what we can understand from the character Nora. Nora & Dr.Rank’s relationship was quite romantic even though she never let him to express his feelings.

Nora as a Mother
Throughout the play Nora barely played the role of a mother even though she was married for over eight year and having three kids. As a mother she was irresponsible and didn’t really care much about them as the maid took care of them.

As a person, I define the success of a human being relies on both the part of someone’s life, as a person him/herself and as a mother/father (if married).  Nora was not only a person but also a mother, which plays a significant role to anyone’s life regardless the gender. Leaving Helmer along with the children was just like running away from her responsibilities and duty. Of course no one should lower herself to anything or any typical understandings, which are often baseless. If someone can not respect herself she can’t perform her duties or responsibilities either which is inter connected with the family and life itself. Leaving young kids behind Nora tried to escape from her duties that clearly indicate the failure of her motherhood no matter whatever the reason is.

Conclusion
Nora is a very interesting and lead character of the play “A Doll’s House”. The character itself took multiple dimensions at different stage throughout the play. Author of the play “Henrik Ibsen” was successful enough to give us a glimpse of a typical European woman from late 19th century, who was a victim of social unjust. Reality and the consequences of real life fact somehow managed to show us the catastrophic result of an oppressed woman in a manmade society. There is lots of Nora out there even today; the play itself was a wakeup call for them.

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