Sucked into the Trap Called Love

         What is love? Well the most obvious answer comes from The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Love is strong affection, warm attachment, attraction based on sexual desire, and unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for others. Another common answer to the above question is found in 1st Corinthians 13:4: love is patient; love is kind. It does not boast; it is not proud. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, etc How about the not-so-typical answer-love is a trap. At least it has been for me and Nora Helmer of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, filmed twice in 1973 by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland respectively.

         I spent four years in love with a woman. Then came the test of our love. She was going away for a while, and we had to do a long-distance relationship. I knew our love would last because we were so much in love. I had even been shopping for the perfect engagement ring. Two months into the long distance, and "the shit hit the fan." I found out that she did not truly love me. She had once loved me; but, when that went away, she was trapped into it. I had never even noticed this, which goes to show that love is also blind.

         Nora Helmer (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom) was also trapped into love. Nora spent eight years with her husband, Torvald (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins) trying to find out if he really loved her. She felt that he was trapped into loving her. Nora got her answer in a much different way from the way in which I got mine. For Nora the "shit hit the fan" first. Forging her dying father's name, she had borrowed money without her husband's consent and now was being blackmailed by the man, Krogstad (Edward Fox/Denholm Eliot), who had arranged her loan. If Nora did not follow through with the demands to let him keep his job in the bank when her husband took over, then her husband would lose his new job within days; and they would be less of an icon in the community. When Torvald found out about this, he "blew a gasket." He freaked out on his wife and told her that she could not be a part of their children's lives. This was it: Nora finally got the answer she had wanted after eight years. Torvald did not really love her. He was just keeping it together for the sake of his image and for the sake of the children.

         In both cases, Nora and I went our separate ways, feeling much differently about love than we had before our respective crises. I am giving love another chance. I believe that Nora did the same after she had gotten over Torvald.

James Smith

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