Running Away from Her Past

         Patrick Garland's 1973 film A Doll's House, based on Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, was as if someone had reached inside my head and plucked the movie straight from within the depths of my imagination. I watched the movie with a critical eye because I was in such disbelief at how much it followed the same course as my own depiction of the character, Nora in the play. I continuously waited for one of the scenes to fall out of sorts with my portrayal, but to my surprise this did not happen.

         As I read the play, I grew a hatred for the paper-thin personality of the character Nora. My distaste for Nora's character was not because of any shortcomings on the writer's behalf, but rather how well he depicted this transparent person. Nora, in the beginning of both the play and the movie, as played by Claire Bloom, was nibbling away at some macaroons she had purchased while shopping earlier that day although her husband, Torvald, depicted by Anthony Hopkins, had forbidden such.

         Later in the plot of both the play and the film we learn that she has put her family and herself in a great disposition because of an immoral and deceitful decision she had made in the past. Nora had forged her deceased father's name on a loan document from Mr. Krogstad, portrayed by Denholm Eliot, in order to get enough money for her husband and her to take a holiday to Italy, supposedly in order to save his life. When the truth is revealed about Nora's illegal loan, she confesses but tries to save her image by saying that she has been hoarding away any money that she could get her hands on in order to clear her debt to Mr. Krogstad. This is not totally true; she instead has been treating herself to her forbidden sweets all the while putting her family in possible harm due to her carelessness.

         Throughout the process of trying to reconcile the situation between Krogstad and Nora, she and her husband are forced to recognize the true personality of Nora. Her husband begins to realize that Nora is deceitful, selfish, and shallow. However, in the end of the play and the book, when Torvald opens a letter from Krogstad, which contains the documents concerning the loan that Nora had obtained by forgery, it appears as if Nora is finally freed from all responsibilities and consequences of her reckless actions. Quickly Torvald tries to forgive and forget the whole situation and wants everything to return back to normal.

         Thus, it is through this process that Nora is given the greatest opportunity to accept the consequences and face her true self. Nevertheless, since Nora, with her shallow self cannot deal with this, she decides to run away and abandon her husband and their children.

Tiffany Pitman

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