Nora's Flight

     In Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House, Nora Helmer, played by Claire Bloom in Patrick Garland's 1973 film version, decides to leave her husband. This is a brave move on her part because of the time period the story takes place. But some would say that this is a poor and unfair move for her to make.

     Nora Helmer had owed a large amount of money to help her sick husband. To get the money, she had forged her father's signature on the loan agreement. By doing this, Nora had broken the law. She had been keeping the secret from her husband, Torvald, acted by Anthony Hopkins. Torvald is taking over the local bank and a crime like that, committed by his wife, would ruin him.

     Nils Krogstad, the man whom Nora had borrowed the money from, is going to be fired by Torvald. He threatens to tell Torvald if Nora cannot stop him from firing him. Nora cannot stop Torvald, so Nils, acted by Denholm Elliot, sends Torvald a letter telling him what Nora has done and, threatening that he better not fire him. Torvald goes hysterical and tells Nora that they will appease Nils. Torvald then slaps, screams, and yells at Nora about how stupid and dangerous a thing she has done. He tells her they will stay together for appearances, but she will not be allowed to raise the children. Nils sends the loan note to Torvald and a letter telling him he has changed his mind. Torvald is relieved and talks to his wife again with love and affection, as if nothing had happened.

     But something did happen; Nora has come to the conclusion that she does not love her husband any more. She comes to this conclusion because of Torvald's actions. She leaves Torvald instead of being understanding of the way the situation of the loan could have affected him. He had experienced a moment of temporary insanity; and, other than that outburst, Torvald has always treated Nora with love and respect. Nora leaves everything behind, including her children. Nora may not be as happy as she wants to be, but she has a responsibility to her children and should stay for them. When the children are grown and if she still wants to leave, then she should.

     Nora's actions at the end are not brave, but cowardly. She leaves when things get tough. Torvald and Nora have a problem, and she wants to run away instead of facing it and working the problem out. Nora should stay and work out the problem at hand and be a mother to her children.

Colin Moore

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