Friday, September 24, 2010

Further thoughts on 'A Doll's House'

Upon detailed examination, Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House is filled with complex characters. Each character has a specific function, beginning with Nils Krogstad. For a large part of the play, he fills the role of the antagonist. Later on, the reader gets a glimpse further into his life and feels sympathy for him. By the end of the play, the reader realizes that he is not the antagonist at all, and he finds a happy ending with Kristine Linde.

Kristine Linde is a friend to the main character, Nora. Throughout the play, she gives Nora advice, aids her with her problems, but eventually facilitates the confrontation between Nora and her husband at the end of the play. Without Kristine, Krogstad would not have found his redemption and Nora would not have truly seen her husband for the patronizing scoundrel he was.
Dr. Rank is the family doctor to the main characters. Not only is he the family doctor, but he is a close friend of the family as well. Secretly, he is in love with Nora, even though she is married to his best friend. Dr. Rank treats Nora with respect, sees her as a person and a woman, and does not placate her like a child. He is everything her husband is not, and a symbol of what she could achieve in a marriage where both parties treated one another as equals.

The plot of A Doll's House is intricate, changing tempo during certain scenes to create a more dramatic element to arouse emotion and thought from the reader. The scene when Nora begins to dance wildly because she thinks her secret is going to be discovered takes the reader into the scene with all of the detail and rising action. At the end of the play, when Torvald confronts Nora, it is shocking at how he completely turns on her, and in an instant forgives her when he realizes there will be no social or lawful ramifications due to her actions. The scene seems to explode with his anger, then slow down as Nora's own feelings simmer and she calmly explains to Torvald that she is leaving him.

At the end of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, Nora's behavior is understandable. She was living a lie during her entire marriage, and it came crashing in on her and her husband, tearing them apart. They were never right for each other in the first place, because both of them needed to learn more about each other and human relationships. When she makes the decision to leave Torvald and her children, she makes the right decision. The right thing is often the hardest, as the saying goes, and abandoning one's family must be one of the hardest things to do. For Nora, it was necessary for her to leave, because she did not feel she was not fit to be a mother, or even a person. She did not know how to be independent or how to rise above strife. She felt in order to be a better wife and mother, she had to leave, if that makes any sense.

Ibsen has remarked that A Doll's House is more about human rights than women's rights, and I agree with him. The center of the play is Nora, who is treated like she has a child's capacity for intelligence by her husband. Kristine Linde, a friend of Nora's, has led a hard life and feels like she has nothing to live for anymore. Krogstad is a man who was once derelict of all morality, but has found it once again, only to have his reputation threatened. Each character learns and grows over the course of the play, and by the end, Nora knows that she deserves more from a husband. Kristine finds love and a second chance with Krogstad. He in turn finds all the respect and morality he needs from Kristine. Perhaps the overall message of the play is that every human being deserves a second chance and to be treated with respect.

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