Cleaning the House of Webs of Deceit

         The 1879 Ibsen play A Doll’s House and the movie of the same name, directed by Patrick Garland, starring Anthony Hopkins, would be ideal for giving a presentation on Sir Walter Scott’s assertion, “O what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.” A Doll’s House would make an excellent interactive presentation to show an example of how NOT to communicate when married. This would be great for an example since the truth is often not given right away in the book or movie.

         First, Torvald’s speech against Krogstadt’s deception should read from the book. Then the movie clips could be played of Torvald talking to Nora (Claire Bloom) about how he could not hire Krogstadt (Denholm Elliot) because of his dishonesty and the later scene where he admits that it is largely due to them having known each other as children and Torvald is afraid he will not get what he thinks is due respect from Krogstadt.

         This could lead to a fine discussion of “slight” deception. Torvald used fine words to cover up his feelings. This deception is at the heart of his and Nora’s marital problems, and a group discussion of how that kind of deception in feelings and thinking leads to only shallow relationships.

         The scene of Nora mentioning the borrowed money to her friend, Christine (Anna Massey) could then be played. This would be great to discuss the effects of hiding a marital issue from a spouse and discussing it with a friend. Interspersed in the discussion could be clips of Nora trying to keep up the deception by distracting Torvald from his mailbox and lying to him about Krogstadt’s reason for using her to try to get him hired. This could bring about a dialogue about deception leading to more deception and the importance of stopping the cycle.

         Finally Nora’s goodbye speech could be read from the book. Stopping several times during the speech, one could mention how deception has brought these problems or compounded them.

Andrew Hildenbrand

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