Nora: A Self-Centered Woman

         After reading A Doll's House, written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879, and watching both 1973 movies, directed by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland respectively, I found that one recurring theme kept bothering me: Nora's selfishness and greed for money. There are many instances in this story in which Nora (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom) only thinks of herself when she says or does things. She never thinks of how her actions will affect the ones she supposedly loves.

         Nora's first major offense, and the one that actually makes her a criminal by the government, occurs when she forges her father's signature on the loan paper from Krogstad (Edward Fox/Denholm Elliot), which was taken out to save the life of her husband, Torvald (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins). Doing this proves that Nora has never really been taught what is acceptable to society and sets the tone for her behavior throughout the rest of the story. After she receives the loan from Krogstad, she spends three weeks before Christmas holed up in the attic making copies to earn money. She tells Torvald she is making Christmas ornaments; and then, at the end of the three weeks when she has nothing to show him.

         Nora then tells Torvald that she would never do anything behind his back, which is such a blatant lie. This is not just a small lie, like her eating the forbidden macaroons; this is her taking out a loan without his knowledge.

         Then as the story moves along, one begins to see that not only is Nora selfish and willing to do things behind people's backs, but also she wants the world to revolve around her. When her friend Christine (Delphine Seyrig/Anna Massey) arrives to visit, Nora says she wants to hear all about what Christine has been up to. But every time Christine starts to say something, Nora completely interrupts to gloat about how wonderful things are for her. Nora especially takes this opportunity to gloat about Torvald's upcoming salary increase.

         This act of Nora's selfishness leads to discuss her next selfish obsession-money. There are many instances throughout the story that it appears Nora cares more about money than her actual family. When asked by Torvald what she would like for Christmas, she says she wants money. Although it could be taken that she wants it to pay off her loan, one would imagine if it were true, she would spend her extra money to pay off the loan instead of on macaroons.

         In conclusion there are many examples in A Doll's House in which Nora acts on selfishness and greed. She does many things without thinking how they will affect her family. Nora forges her dead father's signature for monetary purposes; she constantly tells her husband she would never do anything behind his back; and she constantly wants everyone's attention.

Alichia Sawitoski

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