Analysis Of Nora Helmer (A Doll’s House)


Character development has a large impact on Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House”(1879). Throughout this play, Nora’s character has been developed swiftly through stage directions, dialogues and literary devices. At first, Nora was portrayed as a naive and carefree woman who is the perfect little “pet” for Torvald. But after a few days, Nora finally understands her role in this marriage and becomes brave and determined to leave Torvald. Ibsen uses Nora’s development to explore important themes about the patriarchal society and women’s rights in the 19th century. 

At the beginning of the play, Nora is introduced as a middle-class housewife in the 19th century. She is portrayed as an immature, manipulative and self-centred woman. Ibsen chooses to use zoomorphism to develop the character of Nora. This ought to be shown through Torvald’s patronizing manner towards her. “Is that my little sky-lark chirruping out there?” The word “my” suggests that Torvald is not treating Nora as a partner, as he is very possessive of her.  Nora is given the nickname “lark” by Torvald. The word “lark” is defined as a songbird or to play in a childlike way. This clearly indicates that Nora is a childish, naive and playful child that lacks knowledge of society. Nora’s infantile behaviours can also be shown through stage directions like “clapping her hands” and “shrieking”. These behaviours are normally shown through a child, hardly ever through an adult. This clearly indicates that Nora self-infantilizes herself with these childish behaviours to manipulate Torvald. This would make the 21st-century audiences think that Nora is a helpless woman which relies on the power of manipulation in order to get want she wants, like a child. Ibsen might be suggesting that women’s power in the 19th century is weak, showing how imbalance the power between men and women is. 
 

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