Happily Ever After

         Lies, deceit, backstabbing, and blackmail all make up a great story. In Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House, filmed twice in 1973 by Joseph Losey and respectively by Patrick Garland, we have it all. We have Nora (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom) lying and deceiving Torvald (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins), we have Torvald deceiving Nora and himself, we have Christine (Delphine Seyrig/Anna Massey) stabbing Nora in the back (for good reasons though), and we have Krogstad (Edward Fox/Denholm Elliott) blackmailing Nora. As we can see poor Nora gets the brunt of most of what is going on. It is her own fault that most of this is happening though.

         I know that Nora was only trying to help Torvald when she took out the loan from Krogstad, but a lot of her other reasons behind it were to only benefit herself. One of the reasons she did it was to hold something over Torvald's head when they were older and she was not as attractive. Nora was also deceiving Torvald and herself with her feelings. Nora convinced herself that she loved Torvald when in reality she only loved the way Torvald treated her and the money he brought home.

         Torvald was just as guilty as Nora when it came to his true feelings. Torvald told Nora and himself that he loved and cared for Nora. The truth of the matter is that Nora was only like a doll or a pet to him. Nora was nothing but Torvald's little playing, something that he could have fun with and show off to his friends.

         Christine did a good job of planting that knife into Nora's back. Nora entrusted Christine with the secret about the money because Nora thought that Christine was her best friend and could be trusted. Then Christine told Nora that she would go and talk to Krogstad and have him ask for the letter back. Instead she went and talked with Krogstad and told him not to ask for the letter back. Now Christine did this for a good reason. She understood that Nora and Torvald needed to face what was going on between them and to let the truth come out. So not having Krogstad ask for the letter back was the best thing that Christine could have done for Nora.

         For wanting to be a decent human being, Krogstad sure did a good job of blackmailing Nora. People are capable of anything when they think they have hit bottom; and, in the case of Krogstad, he thought that was about to hit bottom for a second time. Krogstad did do a good job of blackmailing Nora, but he should have stuck to his guns instead of sending that second letter with the loan note to Torvald. He could have had anything wanted from Nora and Torvald.

         This story truly had a happy ending, Krogstad ended up getting Christine, his first love, back; and Nora left Torvald to satisfy her needs. Sometimes an ending that might seem sad and depressing is actually a very happy and rewarding ending for the audience.

Jack Becker

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