A Doll or a Child?

        While reading the play A Doll's House, written in 1879 by Henrik Ibsen, I was extremely sympathetic with the main character, Nora. I realized how hard it must have been living as a woman in the nineteenth century to begin with, but having the added stress of being completely molded and controlled by men must have been awful. I thought that she was a poor abused housewife who had never had the chance to live life the way that she wanted.

        People of course have different views of the same story and that was proven to me when I watched the (1973) movie A Doll's House, directed by Patrick Garland. I really enjoyed this movie, even though it was monotonous at times. What really interested me was the way that Nora (Claire Bloom) was portrayed. I had never imagined her like that when reading the book, but it seemed to make sense when watching it on the screen. She was conniving and manipulative towards her husband. She pranced around like a child, begging for money and sneaking macaroons. She made jokes of dirty words and seemed to always be looking for attention, wherever she could get it. She showed off her panty hose to an old man and keeps secrets from her husband because she is scared to get into trouble. I do not see this as being under the control of her father and husband, but rather as being immature and childish.

        The point in the story that really changed my opinion, however, was the ending. In the book I was sympathetic with Nora and thought it was great that she finally stood up for herself and went out on her own. In the movie, though, it seemed selfish and a little bit crazy. It was hard to understand why Claire Bloom's Nora was running away after one fight. Granted nasty things were said, but does that really warrant leaving your husband and two small children?

        Seeing this movie greatly changed my opinion of the characters. At the end of the book it was Nora that I was left feeling sorry for, whereas in the movie I could not help but feel sorry for the Torvald (Anthony Hopkins) and especially the children.

Sarah Dixon

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