Henrik Ibsen is a famous Norwegian playwright who was primarily interested in social tragedy and the moral and ethical issues of the modern society. According to the writer, a person should preserve his/her self-esteem under any circumstances. A Doll’s House is one of the most famous works of Henrik Ibsen, in which the author depicts a problem of self-sacrifice for the sake of love. The author shows the story of a family where the involuntary deception destroys the relationship. In the play, the playwright tries to understand the mechanism of matrimonial and family happiness because the fate of society depends on these factors. The main heroine of A Doll’s House named Nora sees the meaning of life in love for relatives, namely her husband and children. She believes that her family is full of peace and love, as she and her husband really love each other. The drama A Doll’s House is about home, family, and people who have lived together for many years but have not been able to be happy. Henrik Ibsen decides to reveal the problem of relationship and understand the secret of family happiness because the harmony of the human soul and the world, in general, depends on the harmony in the parental home.
The work begins with a description of Christmas. The Helmer’s house is filled with the smells of the Christmas tree and fresh cookies. Children are running and laughing enjoying their gifts. Nora is chirping and singing enjoying life and love of her husband Helmer, and the harmony she has created in her family. At first glance, it seems that this family is happy. However, the author called his work A Doll’s House not in vain. This title is symbolic. It points to something unnatural, unreal, and fictitious. At the beginning of the story, the family is on the brink of breakdown. It is not because the wife and husband do not love each other. It is because Helmer does not recognize his wife’s ability to take meaningful actions making her commit a crime. Several years ago, Helmer’s health became worse due to hard work and the family needed money for his medical treatment. Nora is inwardly dissatisfied with the fact that her husband treats her as a plaything. She convinces him she has managed to raise the necessary money for the treatment. However, she does not say exactly how she has managed to do it. Nora thinks that this truth can destroy a happy family life. Thus, she secretly pays the debt. For her, it is an indisputable proof that she is an adult and independent person, who is able to make decisions and take responsibility for them. All events in the play revolve around this immoral act of Nora and her attempts to prove that she is a person. This event is a key moment that has changed the heroine. However, even after learning about Nora’s motives, Helmer sees only the seamy side of the event – Nora’s guilt and the economic disruption without understanding the internal impulses of his wife.
The second event that has changed Nora’s attitude to her husband and life is when Helmer has read a letter written by Krogstad who blames Nora’s conduct. It seems that Helmer is ready to forgive his wife. However, he does not realize that Nora is disappointed in him. At this point, Nora has changed her mind and revalued her life. Moreover, she is ready to take decisive actions. She has realized that she will remain only a bird, a loved expensive plaything for her husband, who plays with her because she is beautiful. Nora has already passed a final sentence on her love: “When the wonderful thing did not happen, then I saw you were not the man I had thought you” (Ibsen 79). With these words, she sums up their marriage. Nora realizes that her family happiness is an illusion. She understands that she has lived with a man for eight years, but they have not created the real family. There is a sense of alienation from the family. Nora even persuades herself that she has no right to raise her children. The pain of knowing the essence of life and disappointment in Helmer have awakened an irresistible desire in Nora to be herself. Changes in the life of the heroine have begun with the words “You and I have much to say to each other” (Ibsen 78). These very words are the coup of the inner life of a woman who wants to free her mind from the pressures of prejudice.
At the end of the story, heaven disappears. Angry Nora leaves her home and children in order to start a new life. The development of the conflict between Nora and surrounding people has a deeply innovative form. Gradually analyzing relationships in the modern family, the author shows the hidden mechanisms of the destruction of the human personality and characters’ souls. After some time, family happiness begins to reveal its inner sides. It turns out that Helmer does not love his wife. Nora has made a decision to show her human essence and become a person in spite of society. She does not want to be a plaything or a doll unable to think. She will no longer dutifully fulfill the desires and whims of others. The heroine stops obeying conventional rules that stand in the way of finding her “I”. Nora leaves her home and family because she has lost faith in everything that has surrounded her. For Nora, there are no more miracles, and, thus, she rushes to search for truth. However, the main conflict is not resolved in this play. Nora’s final struggle with the dogmas of society is possible only outside the play. This incompleteness of the conflict leaves an open ending.
From the play A Doll’s House, I have learned that if a husband and wife truly love each other, there should not be secrets between them as they ruin the relationships. Moreover, I have learned that the revival and growing up of the identity can happen in one night. A woman should not close herself in a house. A woman should not think only about her husband and children. First of all, every woman should be a personality free from any prejudices and dogmas. Otherwise, a woman will not feel truly happy.
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In the drama A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen has revealed a profound mismatch between the decorous appearance and inner depravity of the depicted reality. It is a classic example of the social and psychological drama. This work is an example of how a social conflict – a clash of natural human aspirations and inhuman laws of society – has a moral connotation at first, and then the action moves into the sphere of psychology – the main attention is focused on the spiritual struggle of the protagonist. The women’s theme and the problem of the status of women in modern society become central and form the basis of the play. The author has protested against the entire system of social institutions demanding the maximum emancipation of women.