All Dolled up

        In both the play A Doll's House, written in 1879 by Henrik Ibsen and the film, directed in 1973 by Patrick Garland, the main character Nora, played by Claire Bloom, is given the image of a "doll." Through the entire story, one is made to believe that Nora is a little toy that everyone simply plays with but does not take seriously. However, if one takes a deeper look into the work, one will see that maybe it is not that way at all. It becomes clearer that Nora is the smart one that has been misjudged all along, while her husband, Torvald, depicted by Anthony Hopkins, is the real doll.

        Every man in Nora's life treated her as if she were his doll toy. She would perform tricks for them, make little noises, and perform for the other men, as her husband wanted. Through the whole story one is made to believe that she is this immature co-dependent woman that relies on her husband and others for everything. She is depicted as weak and incapable of taking care of herself. Torvald seems to have complete control over her very move. She is not allowed to eat certain things, such as macaroons; and she has to beg and put on a squirrel show for Torvald to get money. When one watches all of these things, one forms the opinion of her that she is just a little doll that does not realize that she is being treated poorly.

        This is the point that one should take another look. Nora behaves in these ways; but, if one really looks closely at her, one can see something quite different. First of all, she gets what she wants. Yes, she begs for the money as Torvald wants; but does she not end up getting what she wants in turn? We are made to believe that she needs Torvald; but again she takes out a loan herself to take care of her husband, when he is very ill, and is able to pay most of it back without him ever even knowing about it. This to me does not make her ignorant; I think it makes her very smart. She is able to play the game everyone expects her to and look as though she needs help, but in all actuality she is quite capable of taking care of herself.

        In the end when she finally has had enough and sees that Torvald is not willing to take care of her the way she had done for him, she tells him she is leaving him. At this moment it is quite ironic it is Torvald that seems to be the one who very much needs Nora, instead of her needing him, as one has been made to believe. In the end the doll that was supposed to be weak and ignorant turns out to be a very smart and brave woman that needs only herself and not a doll husband to play with any longer.

Tiffany Deese

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