Nora – A Classical Hero in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll`s House Nora Helmer makes the right decision to free herself from the social and traditional commitments and obligations and come and become an independent individual. Nora Helmer in Isben’s A Doll’s House lived in the world of predetermined social and societal constraints that made her deprived her of her freedom and happiness. The society in which she lived wanted people to live according to the rigidly set norms and standards of the society. Subjugation and oppression was the theme of that society.
Men and women were supposed to play the role that was assigned to them. Nora Helmer found herself in such a world of suppression. She was supposed to live a quiet life in a world that was dominated by her husband Torvald. She was however totally dissatisfied with the life of subjugation. She could no longer surrender to the constraints of the society. This made her broke off from captivity and enters a world of freedom. Nora Helmer makes the right decision to free herself from the social and traditional commitments and obligations and come and become an independent individual.
Nora Helmer, the central character, wife of Torvald, and mother of three children, is indeed a classical hero. She was hiding her character and personality throughout the play under the pretense of the ‘ideal 19th century wife’ who completely abides to her husband. The character of Nora is quite tough to interpret as she is made out of a combination of different traits. Even though she is found to be playful and silly in certain places, she appears very differently in certain other places being very practical and astute. She is indeed a hero as she was successful in showing that she is a supporting wife, and a good mother.
Nora attempts to become a strong individual even though she was being locked in a male dominated world. Her husband Torvald’s dominating nature was the one that was preventing her from become self motivated. She appeared inexperienced, naive and vulnerable till the end when she surprised everybody by boldly leaving her husband and children to live an independent life. Nora’s world appeared to be so childish that the author has named her world as a ‘doll’s house’. She appeared as an alien to the real world with no real world experience. She was even found humorous in few incidents.
But we can see the same Nora being serious and trying to be superior as she says “one isn’t without influence” (Ibsen, 1990). Even though Nora is constructed as immature and silly, we can see that this nature is enforced by the society around her. However her true nature was destined to be revealed later. Nora is found to be an independent woman who was restricted within the doll house by her husband. Her life was like that of a butterfly that is trying to get out of the cocoon to show its true colors. We can see Nora striving, throughout the play, and finally unveiling her original self.
She was submissive to her husband and was enthusiastic and smart. We can say that Nora was always right in her attitude as this was the best she can be towards her dominating husband (Drake, 1994). Towards the end of the play she discovered herself and took the big shocking decision to leave her husband and children for ever. Nora recognizes her rights at last and is awakened (Drake, 1994). She stops pretending to be what she is not (Drake, 1994). She became a strong woman and takes control of her own destiny. Torvald considered his wife, children and status symbols and had a very narrow definition about marriage.
He thinks that it is the duty of the wife to be good to her husband and children. He deems women as helpless creatures separated from reality and moral force. The author highlighted the self realization of the main character Nora and the way she becomes an example to feminist ideology. The novel thus becomes an extraordinary work in which a man portrays strong feminist ideologies. Nora is found to be swinging along the extremes. We can find her extremely happy during some times and deeply depressed in certain other times. We can find her desperate and needy and also prosperous and self sufficient.
Nora is sometimes wise and sometimes silly. She is tottering between the personality she wants to be and the personality she pretends to be. She was found subordinate to her husband Torvald who believed that women are frail and can never make decision of their own. However finally Nora gets hold of her individuality and dares to take the great decision to abandon her husband and children. Nora’s great passion for life and her strong feministic beliefs stimulated her to take the decision of her life. She courageously broke away from the doll house that appeared as a prison for her all through these days.
Nora is a bit of a spendthrift. Her husband, however, could not accept this. Nora was given no rights to make any decisions in the house. She was supposed to submit to him in all matters. We find her accepting his criticism and submitting to his will everyday. She did not try to argue or fight for her rights. She lived a life of submission as long as she was with Torvald. She abided with Torvald as long as she could do it. We find her making a decision to free herself and entering into a free world. Nora was always under the care of someone, first with her father and then with her husband.
Nora was a materialistic, impulsive and babyish. But Nora appeared as a bold woman in the final scene of the play. We can see Nora the classical hero walking out of her house in the final scene to live her life. All this makes us doubt whether she was pretending to be silly all through these days to adjust with the patriarchal oppression she was suffering from her husband Torvald. Nora finally becomes fully independent to renounce the false union of marriage and the burden of motherhood. She says “Never see him again. Never. Never. Never. Never see the children again. Them too. Never. never. Oh – the icy black water!
Oh – that bottomless – that -! Oh, if only it were all over! Now he’s got it – he’s reading it. Oh, no, no! Not yet! Goodbye, Torvald! Goodbye, my darlings (Ibsen, 1990). ” A Doll’s house is a criticism of the subjugation of women during those period. We can infer from the theme of the novel that the author Henrik Ibsen was a strong Feminist as he created characters that fought for the rights of women. The central character of A Doll’s house, Nora fought for the same cause. A Dolls house speaks about women’s rights. The feminist ideologies of Nora were revealed in the end of the novel. Nora was the upholder of womens rights.
She struggled against the selfish, stifling, oppressive and dominating attitude of her Husband Torvald and the society which he represents. Nora journey lead to her self-discovery as she fought against the exploitation of women by men. Torvald represents the orthodox society and Nora is the advocate of feminism. Torvald did not give any privilege to Nora and called her silly names throughout the play. He called her ‘squirrel’, ‘lark’, ‘little skylark’, ‘little songbird’, ‘little person’, ‘little woman’, and ‘little featherhead’. Torvald never forgot to use the word ‘little’ before these names. He considered her as ‘little’.
He was also very possessive and always used ‘my’ before these names. Torvald never considered Nora equal to him. He thought she is inferior to him. The feminist beliefs of Nora rise up at last and she comes to know that she has been a foolish doll in a toy-marriage and walks out of her house slamming the door behind her and surprising Torvald. Nora did not believe in the restriction associated with the false union of marriage. Nora never had any privilege or freedom in her house. She was just considered like any other possession of Torvald. Torvald was too mechanical in his attitude towards his wife.
She was not given any humane privilege. She was supposed to live the life of a silent unprivileged wife. The feminist beliefs of the author hated this attitude of Torvald and encouraged Nora to break away one day from the ‘doll house’. We would find it difficult to interpret the mind of Nora. Her character is made by a typical combination of several varying traits. Her ambiguity is very much evident throughout Act 1. We find her playful and cheerful sometimes. However the same Nora appears as a practical, capable woman in the following scenes. Her playful, mischievous moments are often followed by moments of astuteness and wisdom.
It is not, however, surprising that she is such a changeable character. She is found to be very much successful in her roles as a wife, a sexual being and a good mother. Nora did not fail in any of her roles in Torvald’s house. She cannot be blamed therefore in any respect. Her decision to leave Torvald’s world can be considered as a right decision. The novelist makes use of the metaphor ‘a doll inside a doll house’ to illustrate Nora’s attempt to free herself and become an individual. Her wish to become independent and self motivated is hindered by the dominating character of Torvald’s.
Nora’s home contained a domestic bliss, and was presented like a real doll house(Tornqvist_, 2004). Lacking experience of life in the real world and unaware of the outdoor hardships and troubles, Nora is vulnerable. She simply decides to leave Torvald without thinking much about her future life. She could not adjust in the house where she had no rights. Sometimes Nora appears childish and silly. She orders Helene in an excitable tone to hide the Christmas tree as the children “mustn’t see it till tonight (Schwarez, 1975). ” Nora’s secretiveness in wanting to hide the tree, extends further, and is a constant theme (Schwarez, 1975).
Following her husband’s light- hearted interrogation with regard to whether she has had any macaroons, she becomes nervous and lies, “No Torvald, I promise… No No… Torvald I swear (Schwarez, 1975). ” This is important to note as the whole play is revolved around the big secret of Nora. We find Nora’s sense of humor leaving her while she is at the entrance of Krogstad. Her attempt to implement her social superiority over her husband is fully intimidated. In her ambitious attempt to be superior she states “one isn’t without influence” (Schwarez, 1975). However, within moments she s forced into pleading “Mr. Krogstad, I don’t have any influence (Schwarez, 1975). ” Nora’s stereotyped and playful role as a doll inside the doll house of Torvald encourages her to be childish. Torvald was almost like a father to her. However we find a contradicting side of Nora while she explains what she did for Helmer. Even though she was a housewife she was not given the rights of a housewife. Even though Nora is not fully aware of her responsibilities (especially with regard to her children who are taken care by Ann- Marie) she fulfilled her responsibilities as a wife and a mother.
Even though her personal attitude was bit childish, she cannot be considered as an irresponsible wife. Even though we are supposed to see Nora as an immature, silly woman, she has been cautiously constructed that her wisdom and power is evident in many instances. Though she was under the control of her father and husband always, she sometimes appears with her wisdom. Her nature is one enforced on her by society and the people who are around her. Her true self is destined to be revealed later. Nora always wanted to get out of the clutch of her husband as she says to Rank and Linde “I’ve the most extraordinary longing to say: ‘Bloody hell! ” (A DOLL’S HOUSE, 2009) (Ibsen, 1990). She finally gets out all her social and traditional commitments and obligations to become a free individual. She is such a classical character that our hearts are with her even though she took the pitiless decision to leave her moral husband and innocent little children (Boyesen, 1973). She fought for a good cause, the freedom for the weaker sex. The position of women in the 1800’s, during the time of Nora was too low. They lived as housewives with no right to vote, own property, and make any significant transactions. Nora recognized her slavery and preferred to break away and live a life with freedom.
It is nothing but her courage to fight against oppression made her the most admirable stage heroine of the century. What she has done is perfectly justifiable in the light is modern ideology and culture. She was just being a model to the women of modern days. She stepped into a wider world and making her husband understand that he is not the noble person that she expected him to be. She understands that she can no longer continue as a shadow of her husband. She turned out to be a classical hero in the contemporary male dominated society that oppressed women to the core and considered them as a second-class citizen.
She just initiated an awakening and made a classical turn in history. Nora Helmer makes the right decision to free herself from the social and traditional commitments and obligations and come and become an independent individual. Nora’s decision to leave her Doll House is justifiable from all angles. Her reluctance to submit to the orthodox rules of her society is justifiable. Nora’s feministic attitude made her dissatisfied with the constraints in her family. She desired a life of freedom. She doesn’t want to surrender to the societal constraints. She finally took the bold decision to free herself from the societal restrictions.
When Nora closes behind her the door of her doll’s house, she opens wide the gate of life for woman, and proclaims the revolutionary message that only perfect freedom and communion make a true bond between man and woman, meeting in the open, without lies, without shame, free from the bondage of duty (Goldman, 2009). Nora Helmer makes the right decision to free herself from the social and traditional commitments and obligations and come and become an independent individual. Works Cited `Ibsen, Henrik. ‘A Doll’s House’. Introduction to Literature: Reading, Analyzing, and Writing.
Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1990. ` `_ HYPERLINK “http://www. questia. com/SM. qst? act=adv&contributors=Vera%20Schwarez&dcontributors=Vera%20Schwarez” _Vera Schwarez, HYPERLINK “http://www. questia. com/read/97732025? title=Ibsen’s%20Nora%3a%20the%20Promise%20and%20the%20Trap” Ibsen’s Nora: the Promise and the Trap, Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 7, 1975 ` `Boyesen, Hjalmar. A Commentary on the Works ofHenrikIbsen. New York: Russell & Russell, 1973. ` Emma Goldman, The Social Significance of the Modern Drama, THE SCANDINAVIAN DRAMA: HENRIK IBSEN, Available at _ HYPERLINK “http://sunsite. erkeley. edu/Goldman/Writings/Drama/doll. html” __http://sunsite. berkeley. edu/Goldman/Writings/Drama/doll. html_ `_ HYPERLINK “http://www. amazon. com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/002-9442702-9428052? %5Fencoding=UTF8-type=ss=books-author=Egil%20Tornqvist” _Egil Tornqvist_. Ibsen: A Doll’s House. Cambridge University Press, 2004. ` _ HYPERLINK “http://www. questia. com/SM. qst? act=adv=David%20B. %20Drake=David%20B. %20Drake” _David B. Drake_, _ HYPERLINK “http://www. questia. com/read/98491176? title=Ibsen’s%20A%20DOLL%20HOUSE&q