Sacrificed Honor

         Torvald Helmer: "But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves."

         Nora Helmer: "It is a thing hundreds of thousands of woman have done."

         These two statements in Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, A Doll's House, capture the essence of not only the Helmer marriage, but of the women of the time period. In both the Joseph Losey version and the Patrick Garland version of the screenplay, the characters of Nora and Torvald speak these lines; however, the performance by Claire Bloom definitely does the lines justice. Claire Bloom speaks those words not only for the women of the Victorian Age, but also for the women across time lines who have sacrificed for their husbands.

         In the 1973 film, Claire Bloom makes it clear that Nora makes her own decisions right down to the way she eats her macaroons. It was easy for the viewers to see that she is playing along with her husband, but not taking the role he has given her seriously. In participating in his silly pet names and acts, Nora is sacrificing a lot with her dignity topping the list. Anyone who hops around and pretends to be a small animal is sacrificing to say the least.

         Secondly, Nora took a change at ruining her own name by taking out a loan under her father's name. Even though Torvald seemed to think he would receive the most criticism, others would agree that Nora would not be able to go anywhere without people gossiping about the woman who had stepped out of her boundaries as a woman and forged her father's name. At the same time, her father's name was threatened as well. Even though he was dying and dead by the time she signed the papers, he had a reputation; and it would have been ruined if Nora had been caught. Being in his position, he would not even be able to defend himself.

         Finally, Claire Bloom spoke loudly and clearly for women of her time period and for all women as she walks out of her marriage. Although it seems as though she is only doing what she wants, she is also going to create a scandal by leaving her family. She is defying all of the unwritten rules of the time by not obeying her husband and by the looks of Anthony Hopkins, who plays Torvald, he is devastated to realize his wife has been doing the one thing he would not do, and she has been doing it all of her married life.

Elizabeth Fields

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