A Doll House - Nora's Ethics.docx
A Doll House - Nora's Ethics.docx PRG211
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Date Created: 11/11/15
page 1 A Doll House Nora s Ethical Dilemma In Henrik Ibsen s play A Doll House the character Nora is in the process of transitioning from the perfect Victorian woman to the New Woman Ibsen employs an array of deceptions by Nora in the play The deceptions consist of Nora s lies about the macaroons her childlike personality forging her father s signature on Krogstad s loan note deceiving her husband on how she obtained the money for the trip and above all else her deception of herself Through the realization of these deceptions the New Woman begins her development At the onset of the play Nora displays that she is capable of lying While Christmas shopping Nora secretly purchases and eats a few macaroons and she then lies to her husband Torvald when he asks her about it Torvald has forbidden Nora from eating the macaroons because he is afraid they will ruin her teeth Ibsen By going against Torvald s wishes and lying to him about it Nora is exhibiting her first act of rebellion Nora is justified in this small rebellion because she is a grown woman and is able to decide what she would like to eat Throughout the play Nora displays many childlike qualities especially when she interacts with her husband Torvald Bradford Torvald scolds her as if she were a child Nora conducts herself in an infantile manner for Torvald s pleasure and to wheedle favors from him Bradford Nora s entire life exists within a home of pointless things Byatt much like living in a Doll House However Nora displays that she also has a clever side She was clever enough to find ways to earn and save money to pay on the loan Early in Nora s marriage she faces an ethical dilemma a complex situation that will often involve an apparent mental con ict between moral imperatives in which to obey one would page 2 result in transgressing another na Ethical Dilemma Torvald became extremely ill and advised to take a trip south to recover but he did not have nor want to borrow the money to finance the trip that would ultimately save his life Out of love for her husband and desperation to save his life Nora entered into a contract with Krogstad for a loan of money and forged her father s signature to obtain the loan Entering into this contract Nora breaks not only the Victorian societal code but laws as well na Life of the Victorian Woman However Nora rationalizes that she did it only to save her husband s life Due to society her father and husband keeping her uneducated and ignorant of the world Nora believes the justification outweighs the legality of her actions The ultimate deceptions in Ibsen s A Doll House lie in Nora s perceptions of her marriage Torvald s character and of her sense of self These ultimate deceptions become all too apparent after Nora s loan with Krogstad is revealed to Torvald By all appearances the Helmers have a perfect marriage Wherein Torvald is the head of the household and financial provider Nora is obedient to Torvald keeps a respectable home responsible for the children s upbringing and to look like a perfect doll at the same time Moore Nora has a romanticized vision of Torvald seeing him as her knight in shining armor that will protect and defend her even sacrificing himself in order to save her Nora is under the illusion that she has a perfect life marriage and family Nora s realization of these fundamental deceptions come to fruition the night of the tarantella dance when Torvald explodes after reading Krogstad s letter detailing Nora s illegal contract and forgery Her epiphany occurs when Torvald verbally and physically abuses her His actions and desire to keep up appearances reveal to Nora that he is not the man she believed him to be page 3 He will sacrifice her their marriage and happiness just to preserve his honor He exposes his genuine opinion of her that of a silly scatterbrained untrustworthy and immoral child that he will not allow to corrupt his children She accepts the fact that their marriage has been an illusion Their false devotion has been merely play acting She has been his childwife and his doll Bradford The birthing process of the New Woman begins when Nora s illusions of her perfect life is shattered Nora realizes that since she has been treated as a child for her entire life she is still like a child in many ways and needs to grow up educate herself and learn the ways of the world before she can properly raise her children na Henrik Ibsen A Doll39s House The New Woman is fully born when Nora informs Torvald that her most sacred duty is not to her husband and children but to herself as a human being Nora s actions are justified because you cannot positively in uence others lives when you are not happy or fulfilled in your own life page 4 Works Cited Bradford Wade quotNora Helmer The Protagonist of quotA Doll39s Housequotquot nd Aboutcom 5 November 2010 lthttpplaysaboutcomodplaysanorahemlerhtmgt Byatt AS quotBlaming Noraquot 2 May 2009 The Guardian 4 November 2010 lthttpWWWguardiancoukstage2009may02ibsenadollshousegt Ibsen Henrik quotquotA Doll Housequotquot Kirszner Laurie G Mandell Stephen R Portable Literature Reading Reacting Writing Trans Rolf Fjelde Seventh Edition Mason Cengage Learning 2009 799851 Moore Melissa quotWhy Victorian Women Marriedquot 3 May 2002 Women39s Historv Then and m 14 October 2010 lthttpWWWcwrlutexaseduulrichfemhistmarriageshtmlgt na Ethical Dilemma 4 November 2010 6 November 2010 lthttpenWikipediaorgWikiEthicaldilemmagt quotHenrik Ibsen A Doll39s Housequot nd United Architects 3 November 2010 lthttpdanliteraturewordpresscomhenrikibsenadollshousegt quotLife of the Victorian Womanquot nd VictoriasPastcom 6 November 2010 lthttp WWWvictoriaspastcomLifeofVictorianWomanLifeofVictorianWomanhtmlgt
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