A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

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The main character in A Doll’s House is called Nora, a close friend of Christine who is a widow to the late, Mr. Linde.  Nora’s husband, Mr. Torvald, falls sick and Nora has to take a bank loan to be able to fend for her husband and kids. However, she does this without her husband’s knowledge. She hopes her husband never comes to know that she did borrow a loan and instead lies to her husband that the money was a grant from her father. She spends the next few years after the sickness secretly repaying the loan. As fate would have it, she is not the only bearer of this secret- Mr. Krostard, an employee to Mr. Torvald, knows about how Nora got the money.

Later on, Mr. Torvald considers sacking Mr. Krostard due to his immoral nature, but Mr. Krostard is not ready to go home. He decides to bring up the secret about the bank loan in order to blackmail Nora into convincing her husband against sacking him. Coincidentally, Christine- Nora’s closest friend, also approaches her to convince her husband to give her a job. Nora, therefore, talks to Christine about the dilemma she is in and her worry about her secret being let out. Since Christine is a former lover to Mr. Krostard, she manages to convince him to drop the blackmail against Nora in exchange for his kids getting taken care of by herself. He agrees but admits that the letter bearing the secret is already dispatched, but they decide to have a makeup letter that talks about the presumed money loaned from Nora’s father (Godden & Ray, 2016).

Since it is Christmas eve, the family of Torvald together with their invited friends have a dance. It is after this dance that Mr. Torvald finds an opportunity to read the letter from Krostard. They couldn’t have retracted it because Mr. Torvald had already noted that there was a later in for him. All they could do was allow him to read it so that they could gauge his attitude and opinion of his wife Nora. Unfortunately, immediately he reads the letter he bursts out in anger and ridicules his wife without looking into her reasons for doing what she did. When they later counter that letter with a fake one claiming that Nora actually got the loan from her father, Mr. Torvald apologizes and feels remorseful for what he did. However, she can’t accept him back after his painful utterances and she decides to leave him.

This play brings into light the danger that lies in presumption and lack of communication in any form of relationship. Mr. Torvald and Nora, his wife, had not had a meaningful conversation for eight years. It is in this period of silence that their secrets were buried and his assumptions made. It is, therefore, significant to note the significance of these two aspects in any social setting, since lack of one (communication) can lead to breakages in relationships and an excess of the other (Presumptions) leads to misunderstandings (Ibsen, 2018).

Purposes of the play and how it will be applied

Societies are made up of people, and people are dynamic. However, as much as societies vary over time, there are always numerous similarities can change in context but never change in content and significance. The Play, A Doll’s House, exhibits a societal trend in 1900 that involved limited women’s freedom, masculine superiority, and factors that lead to family destabilization such as the death of a partner, extra-marital affairs, and poor communication.

It is said that the best way to be better is by learning from a person’s past mistakes and successes. It is therefore important to use the work and concepts from 20th century’s A Doll’s House, to mold a better society today. From the play, it is now absolute that lack of communication in a marital setting leads to each of the partners having their own assumptions of the other and leading to intense misunderstandings that crack up the relationships foundations. The need for honesty is also made apparent. If Nora had trusted her husband enough to make it clear to him that she had taken a loan to save the situation, it would have prevented her from having to carry the burden of secrecy and blackmail from Mr. Krostard. She would have looked and sounded more trustworthy before her husband and friend, Christine (Ibsen, 2018).

This play had a psychological effect on me because it kept me thinking and trying to reason out with the characters. At some point, I would find myself disagreeing with a character’s choice of action, for example, when Nora finds it difficult to take out the letter before her husband reads it. I think that It would have saved her a lot of trouble if she had approached her husband personally with the loan issue rather than wait for him to realize it himself penned on a piece of paper. The story engaged me actively because it seemed to resonate with a society that I am used to, a society that I partake in every day. I would find myself imagining what I would have done if I was in a character’s situation. These make me more imaginative, reasonable and empathic.

A Doll’s House uses numerous stylistic devices that engage any audience. There is the incorporation of humor and repetition, imagery, and non- verbal cues, all of which seem to bring the characters into life. An objective study of the play would lead a student into understanding how to go about the different ways of speaking and maintaining a discourse. I got to learn about the impact that stylistic devices have on communication and feedback. It not only puts more stress on it but also makes it more comprehensive (Nisbett & Nisbett, 2007).

Problems with the play and solutions

The play fails to elicit the positivity of some of the characters and brings them out as almost entirely negative, such as Mr. Torvald. This is ideal and not real in a true society. Moreover, it also seems to appraise vices such as lying because it brings out Nora as being victorious over her husband and having all the audacity to quit her marriage because she is quarreled, despite the fact that she also lied to her husband.

Effect of play on objective student

A student’s objective engagement with A Doll’s House leads to moral development and an improved intellectual power. I now look at the society from a more enlarged lens. Previously, I looked at issues like marital feuds and unfaithfulness from the simple perspective of morality and immorality. However, I have now had a peek at the background and now understand the foundations of misunderstandings as being rooted in poor communications and lack of trust (Nisbett & Nisbett, 2007).


Godden, R., & Ray, J. (2016). The dolls' house.

Ibsen, H. (2018). A doll's house: A play.

Nisbett, J., & Nisbett, A. (2007). Dolls' house: Inspirations. Lewes: Guild of Master Craftsman.

December 12, 2023

Plays Child Development

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