Is She Still Your Wife When She Leaves?

†††††††† Husbands should walk the thin line of best friend, confidant, disciplinarian, and lover. For the wives in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), based on Tennessee Williamsí 1947 play, and A Dollís House (1973), based on Henrik Ibsenís 1879 play, they found something in their relationships with their husbands lacking. Stella Kowalski, played by Kim Hunter in Elia KazanísA Streetcar Named Desire left her husband after a long drama involving her sister, Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh). In Patrick Garlandís A Dollís House, Torvald Helmer, played by Anthony Hopkins, was left by his wife, Nora (Claire Bloom), once she realized that he did not care about her as much as she thought he should. Both of these relationships fell apart because of the shortness of trust and a need for real love.

†††††††† Nora felt that she had given everything to husband, including his life. Nora had borrowed the money to take her husband to Italy for his health. She had been paying off the money without telling her husband where it had come from. Once Torvald realized that he had been betrayed and that his family name was on the line, he pushed Nora as far out of the picture as he could. Torvald demanded that she stay in the home but had no contact with their children. Nora felt that Torvald should have taken the blame for actions because she had done so much for him and that is what a husband should do. These two had little to no trust for one another. Nora did not trust that her husband would understand her need to borrow money, and Torvald did not trust Nora once he found out that she had been disobedient. Stella let her sister into their home because she loved her and was worried. Stanley Kowalski, played by Marlon Brando, had a hard time trusting his wife, Stella, once her sister came into their lives. Blanche tended to talk to Stella about Stan when Stan was not around. Once Stanly heard the two ladies talking about him and Blanche called him a madman. This couple tended to do things behind each otherís back leading to their mistrust in one another.

†††††††† Neither of these couples had much real love for one another. Nora came to Torvald right from her fatherís house and was much happier about having money than having a family. Nora treated her family and the rest of the household as if they were her dolls. Stanley was a violent man that blamed his rage on his love for Stella. Also Stanley forced Blanche, Stellaís sister to sleep with him though it was not visualized in the movie. Both wives left their husbands when they least expected it. Torvald felt that everything was right with their world again since their name had been cleared. Stanley thought that their life together was its way back to normal once he got Blanche out of the house. These two families may not have been picture perfect, but they made for wonderful movies full of action and guessing.

Maggie McKay

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